Archive for April, 2011

What Are Mesothelioma and Cancer?

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

What is mesothelioma, and how does it occur? It’s an all-too-common question, with innumerable answers that may lead to even more questions. The human body is a complex and vulnerable system which can be affected by everything from genetics to our environment. At the Mesothelioma & Asbestos Information Exchange, we try to shed some light on these questions in order to better inform you.

Cancer can occur as a result of impairment of the DNA in human cells. Our bodies are made up an untold number of living cells, from receptor and blood cells to hair cells. Different cells perform different functions in the human body and the majority of cells have DNA. Human cells naturally produce, repair, grow, multiply and die, where new cells take the place of dying ones. With cancer, the altered or impaired DNA and cell do not expire; instead, they continue to multiply with new cells also containing the altered and impaired DNA. While researchers know that some cancer is a result of hereditary or environmental causes, in other cases, the cause isn’t always clear. Furthermore, different types of cancers operate differently. Some cancers may spread, while others do not. The technical name for the spread of cancer to other parts of the human body is metastasis.

Mesothelioma is a form of cancer, which, is a result of impaired cells called mesothelium cells. These mesothelium cells act and behave somewhat like oil in a car, lubricating various body cavities, particularly the thoracic cavity surrounding the lungs. The cancer, as a result of damage to these cells, may result from exposure to asbestos particles. Sometimes, symptoms of the cancer do not appear until decades after exposure. This cancer is often discovered via chest x-ray, CT Scan or biopsy.  Mesothelioma treatment options may include surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

Dispose of Asbestos Containing Materials

Monday, April 18th, 2011

Asbestos is a naturally-occurring substance made from one of six silicate minerals, which have now been banned due to their link with many health complications, most notably mesothelioma.

Asbestos use has been traced back at least 4,500 years to Finland for strengthening earthenware pots and cooking utensils. The use of asbestos became commonplace between the turn of the 20th century and the late 1970s in industrial capacities. It was also used in brake pads until the mid-1990s.

There are four methods for asbestos disposal; the EPA suggests all methods should be performed by a properly-licensed asbestos abatement company, and any intact asbestos not be touched. Knowing whether a product contains asbestos is not easy unless it’s properly labeled.

The most dangerous method of asbestos removal is dry stripping.  This involves simply removing the asbestos without any amount of moisture. While a simple method, dry stripping can produce a large amount of dust and may release toxins.

High-pressured water removal is a popular method, using the water to force the asbestos away from the people doing the removal. This method is usually reserved for industrial spaces that are hard to reach.

A technique for home asbestos removal is controlled wet stripping, performed by injecting warm water into asbestos with specialized needles. This effectively weighs down the material, which also helps control the amount of dust released.

Another asbestos-removal method is hot stripping. This technique includes the use of a ventilation system along with hot air. By blowing the asbestos fibers with the hot air, any residue can be directed toward a powerful ventilation system.

However, in some cases asbestos material is not removed, but rather encased.

In many countries, asbestos is typically disposed of as hazardous waste in landfill sites. In the United States, OSHA regulations require a sign stating that the hazardous waste or landfill site contains asbestos.

For more information check out our Mesothelioma articles on the laws and regulations concerning asbestos materials.



The Mesothelioma Diagonsis

Friday, April 1st, 2011

mesothelioma diagnosis can be a particularly terrible misfortune for those directly and indirectly affected by this terrible disease.  Obviously, a patient afflicted with mesothelioma may suffer a great deal; additionally, loved ones, relatives, dependents, and friends can also suffer misfortune.  Not only is the disease very often lethal, which means those who rely on a victim of mesothelioma for financial or familial support are left woefully adrift, mesothelioma is also remarkably fast-moving, once its symptoms manifest itself.  Indeed, the life expectancy of someone given a mesothelioma diagnosis is often, if not always, measured in mere months.  That often leaves precious little time for a sufferer of mesothelioma to make necessary arrangements to care for his or her dependents.

On a more direct note, such a short time frame means that the patient with a mesothelioma diagnosis has very little time to get the financial and medical resources needed to mount a fight against this terrible disease.  Because of this, it may be helpful to try to secure a mesothelioma settlement to try to combat this rare but brutal form of cancer.

And yet, despite mesothelioma’s often apparently rapid onset, the noticeable physical manifestations of mesothelioma are often the result of a decades-long period of latency.  Mesothelioma is most often caused by exposure to asbestos in the form of inhalation and ingestion.  This moment, where the patient first encounters asbestos, can happen anywhere from 10 to 50 years prior to the physical manifestation of symptoms.  Asbestos fibers often find their way into the lungs or stomach of the victim-to-be, where they embed themselves in that organ’s pleural lining.

One historically common way for people to come into contact with asbestos occurred when that mineral was used in a commercial capacity, such as in the construction or shipbuilding industries.  Alternately, and perhaps more insidiously, asbestos fibers can settle on the clothing of those handling the minerals.  It can then be transported and, conceivably, be inhaled or ingested by anyone coming in close contact with those clothes.