Posts Tagged ‘mesothelioma causes’

Symptoms of Mesothelioma Disease

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

Cancer generally begins when genetic mutations cause the cells to multiply. When it comes to mesothelioma causes, the exact process that leads to mesothelioma is not known, but more than 90% of cases are directly linked to asbestos exposure, making this the predominant risk factor for mesothelioma. If the dust from “friable” or airborne asbestos is inhaled or, in some cases, swallowed, asbestos can lodge in the tissue. The resulting irritation may lead to mesothelioma, which can develop undetected over a period of 20 to 40 years. While some people who are exposed over a long period of time never develop mesothelioma, it can develop in others with a very brief exposure. Because of this inconsistency, it is suspected that other factors may influence the risk of mesothelioma. According to the Mayo Clinic, these other possible risk factors include personal history of asbestos exposure, exposure to a certain type of radiation, exposure to a monkey virus through a polio vaccine, and a family history of mesothelioma.

Exposure to asbestos was more common in the United States prior to the 1970’s, before the risks were well known. Unfortunately, even after the risks were well publicized, some companies continued to expose workers to unsafe levels of exposure without proper protection. Because of mesothelioma’s long latency period, some of these people have only recently been diagnosed. Sadly, a diagnosis of mesothelioma often comes with the prognosis of a short life expectancy.

Symptoms of mesothelioma can include chest pain, painful coughing, lumps, and shortness of breath. In the case of peritoneal mesothelioma, victims sometimes experience abdominal pain, swelling, lumps, and weight loss. In many cases, symptoms are subtle and easily misidentified until the disease has progressed significantly.

Being diagnosed with mesothelioma can be devastating to a family both emotionally and financially, as many people who develop the disease are retired and on a limited income, or are forced to quit work because of their inability to perform the necessary tasks. For this reason, it is important to learn about mesothelioma victim’s rights, as victims may find legal assistance very helpful. In many states, courts are very understanding of the needs of mesothelioma patients for a quick outcome, and potentially exhausting meetings and proceedings can kept to a minimum. For more information about services available, please fill out our online form.


Other Asbestos-Related Diseases

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

Mesothelioma, a cancer of the pleura (or lining of the lung) which can be caused by exposure to asbestos, is often times known as an asbestos-related disease. But what about the other asbestos-related diseases? Although Mesothelioma is, generally speaking, the more severe of these diseases, other asbestos-related diseases can pose serious risks to health and can also indicate a risk for asbestos-related cancer. So, what are these other diseases and what are their symptoms?

According to the Mayo Clinic, asbestosis is a progressive disease of the lungs that causes rales (crackling) and wheezing, due to the development of fibrosis or excessive connective tissue in the lungs. A persistent dry cough and even clubbing of the fingers can also accompany asbestosis. Like Mesothelioma, asbestosis may spread to other vital organs. Although asbestosis is irreversible, the progression of asbestosis and the resulting damage can be mitigated by proper treatment. Treatment focusing on relieving symptoms may include the use of oxygen or medications similar to those used by asthma patients. Deaths caused strictly from asbestosis are uncommon. However, asbestosis is an indicator for the risk of more serious cancers such as mesothelioma and lung cancer.

Asbestos warts are another type of asbestos-related disease. These warts develop when callus-like growths form over asbestos fibers that are stuck under the skin. The warts typically itch. They are benign and do respond well to treatment, but like asbestosis, can indicate a source of larger concern.

Pleural plaques are small calcified or fibrous areas that form on the pleura and can be another asbestos-related illness. These plaques are not dangerous, unless they lead to pleural thickening. Pleural thickening can cause lung damage, but alone, is generally not considered deadly.

If you are showing symptoms that concern you, it is important that you schedule an appointment with your doctor. If you have other questions concerning exposure to asbestos or asbestos-related diseases, visit our Mesothelioma FAQ or read some of our Mesothelioma articles.


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.

Asbestos Facts: Be Aware

Monday, March 21st, 2011

It may often help to be aware of asbestos facts, especially if there’s a chance that you may have been exposed to potentially mesothelioma-inducing asbestos fibers, or if you know someone who may have been put in that situation.  Being armed with asbestos facts can, in an ideal world, help prevent asbestos exposure.  However, in a situation where one has already been exposed to this dangerous mineral, awareness of asbestos facts might be able help prepare someone to plan for the future.

The ultimate asbestos fact is that it’s often linked to contracting mesothelioma.  Though mesothelioma is naturally occurring (that is, without the introduction of asbestos fibers into the equation) at a rate of about 1 in 1,000,000, that figure jumps to somewhere from 7 to 40 cases per 1,000,000 population.  That means that asbestos is a primary cause of mesothelioma.

Another sad asbestos fact is that much of this asbestos exposure occurs in hazardous, on-the-job situations.  Asbestos was a material in widespread use in the construction and shipbuilding industries, so many people were tasked with handling it as part of their jobs.  Before the extent of the dangers of asbestos was fully known, many precautions that might have been taken to avoid inhalation of the light, feathery mineral proved to be sadly insufficient.  The result is, many people ended up inhaling the mineral, and asbestos inhalation is a common cause of mesothelioma.

Another asbestos fact: We’ve alluded to the “feathery” nature of asbestos.  The fact is, the mineral is very, very lightweight, and is relatively easily inhaled.  Once that occurs, the fibers can get embedded in the pleural lining of the lungs.  It’s also possible for the fibers to embed themselves in the pleural lining of the stomach as well after ingestion.  What follows is a latency period lasting anywhere from 10 to 50 years, after which mesothelioma finally rears its ugly head.

Second-Hand Asbestos Exposure

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

Mesothelioma is well-known for the insidious way in which it manifests itself.  Many contemporary mesothelioma causes find their origin in some sort of  asbestos exposure.  Asbestos exposure usually happens in some sort of commercial context.  That’s because a host of industries, notably the fields of shipbuilding and construction, used to employ the mineral for a variety of purposes, such as effective insulation for ships and buildings.

Part of what makes asbestos such an effective insulation material is its characteristic, nearly feathery structure, which traps significant amounts air and makes heat transfer from one side of asbestos to another more difficult.  Unfortunately, this fibrous, low-density structure also means certain kinds of asbestos become airborne very easily when disturbed.  Once airborne, it’s very easy for asbestos fibers to get inhaled, where they embed themselves in the pleural lining of the lungs.  After a latency period, lasting anywhere from 10 to 50 years, mesothelioma manifests itself.

Though inhalation of asbestos fibers by workers charged with handling it is a common way people get exposed, it’s by no means the only way.  Asbestos fibers can also be ingested.  They can also settle on the clothes of workers and be transported, which is where sad cases of second-hand asbestos exposure can occur.

Such second-hand asbestos exposure can be the result of a loved one of the worker handling that worker’s clothes by, say, washing them, but it can really happen in any number of situations.  Basically, all that needs to happen is for the asbestos fibers on that person’s clothing to be disturbed, become airborne, and become inhaled, a tragic sequence of events.

Of course, another way people not directly involved in handling asbestos can contract asbestos-derived mesothelioma is by simply living in a building that used certain kinds of asbestos in its construction.  The bottom line is, no matter how someone inhales asbestos, the results can be devastating.

Mesothelioma-Linked Materials

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

Mesothelioma-linked materials are often products that contain asbestos.  Asbestos was, prior 1978, a frequently used material in the industries of shipbuilding and construction.  Asbestos contained a number of properties that made it highly valued in a variety of applications in these two industries, some of which include excellent fire resistance and insulation properties.  Mining this valued mineral turned into a lucrative business for a number of employers the world over.  Unfortunately, asbestos also happens to be a primary cause of mesothelioma, which means exposure to this mineral has shortened lives all over the world.

Mesothelioma-linked materials include:

  • Roofing and siding items, some of which include roofing tiles, shingles for roofing and siding, and clapboard.  All of these materials were, on occasion, made with an asbestos known as chrysotile or “white asbestos.”
  • Flooring, ceilings, and walls, onto which asbestos were frequently sprayed or troweled.  This coating might have been used to exploit the fire retardant capabilities of asbestos; however, its use proved to have devastating consequences, as this form of asbestos application in construction is considered to be particularly fraught with danger.  In flooring tiles, asbestos was often used in tandem with vinyl or asphalt.
  • Pipes and boilers, onto which asbestos was often applied to improve insulation around these heat sources.  This application often led to improved heating efficiency.  Unfortunately, it also ran the real risk of exposing the people working with the pipes and boilers, along with the people using these items, to dangerous asbestos fibers.

Other mesothelioma-linked materials include protective clothing, blankets, and cloth (for the fire-resistant properties of asbestos), insulation for welded products, and an asbestos-cement mixture, which made the resultant concrete less dense and stronger.  This particular application made the concrete easier to transport, which cut down on construction costs.  Unfortunately, it may have also exposed people to mesothelioma-causing asbestos.

National Mesothelioma Awareness Day

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

The United States House of Representatives has designated September 26th as National Mesothelioma Awareness Day.  The designation, which occurred due to the passage of H. Res. 771 (House Resolution), might make September 26th a day for elements of the federal government to mark the day with educational gestures.

The bill, which can be seen as a victory for those attempting to fight mesothelioma by raising awareness about its causes and effects, was introduced by Congresswoman Betty McCollum of Minnesota.  Her stated reason for doing so is as follows: “In 2000, my friend and predecessor Congressman Bruce Vento was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma. Despite decades of warnings about the dangers of asbestos, too many Americans are still unaware of the devastating nature of this disease.”

More information about this day can be found on this useful mesothelioma press release found on the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation site.

We’ve spent much time in this space attempting to detail how and why mesothelioma may be caused.  A one of the more common mesothelioma causes in the United States is asbestos exposure.  Asbestos exposure can occur for many reasons, but one typical cause is when one handles or comes into contact with this mineral in the workplace.  Another way many can be exposed is by living in a building constructed with materials containing asbestos.

For years, asbestos was a popular construction material for several reasons.  For one, it had excellent flame retardant and insulation properties, which made it an excellent product in buildings.  When mixed with concrete, it also simultaneously strengthened and lightened it, which reduced both labor and transportation costs.

Unfortunately, however, many workers who handled asbestos inhaled feathery fibers of the mineral.  These fibers can embed themselves in the lining of the lung, which, after a period of latency lasting anywhere from 10 to 50 years, can trigger the onset of mesothelioma symptoms.

Mesothelioma: Second-Hand Asbestos

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

Mesothelioma is an insidious, devastating disease.  Primary mesothelioma causes include asbestos exposure, which has raised the rate of occurrence of the disease in the United States from around one per one million citizens to somewhere between seven and 40 per million.

That’s a large spike, and it has its roots in historical asbestos use in a variety of commercial contexts.  Uses of asbestos include insulation on ships and in buildings, among other things.  Asbestos, in its commercially applicable form, is very lightweight and almost feathery.  When disturbed, it’s possible for miniscule asbestos fibers to be inhaled, where they become embedded in the delicate pleural lining of the lungs.  Once inhaled, there’s a latency period that can last anywhere from 10 to 50 years before mesothelioma’s symptoms manifest themselves.

Inhalation (or ingestion) is the most common way asbestos gets inside the body, and coming in contact with asbestos fibers at work is a very common way victims come into contact with asbestos.  However, it’s not the only way.  Another circumstance for contact with asbestos can be via contact with someone who works with asbestos.  Since asbestos fibers are so light, they can alight on a worker’s clothing, who can then unwittingly carry the killer home with him or her.  Once those clothes are moved—say, by handling the clothes when washing them—it’s possible for the fibers on them to become disturbed, airborne, and inhaled.

It’s in this way that Julie Gundlach, a 39-year-old woman and St. Louis resident, claims that she contacted asbestos and subsequently contracted mesothelioma.  According to a mesothelioma article found on, Gundlach claims that her father used to work with asbestos in his workplace, and that is how she came in contact with the fibers that gave her this deadly cancer.

Her story is another tragic chapter in the long and sad history of mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma Awareness: Shine a Light Campaign

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

Mesothelioma, despite its reputation as a killer, doesn’t receive as much attention as other cancers.  A lot of that has to do with its comparative rarity: In the United States, for example, between seven and 40 people per 1,000,000 population contract the disease.  That’s a rate lower than many other more well-known cancers.  Unfortunately, mesothelioma also has a lower rate of survival than many of those aforementioned diseases.  Thus, it may warrant more attention than it currently gets, if only to raise awareness about how it’s contracted.

According to a recent blog post we came across on the Mesothelioma Resource Center, the Lung Cancer Alliance has put together an event designed to raise awareness about malignant mesothelioma.  The event, called Shine a Light, is an annual vigil conceived to highlight many of the dangers of lung cancer.  Malignant mesothelioma falls into the category of “dangerous lung cancer.”

Earlier, we mentioned raising awareness about how mesothelioma is contracted.  One answer to that is that mesothelioma is often the result of asbestos exposure.  The history of asbestos and its relationship with humans a long one.  Societies from the ancient Greeks all the way up to recent times employed asbestos in a variety of ways.

The uses of asbestos in this century was predominantly centered around the shipbuilding and construction industries.  That’s because asbestos, as a mineral, has excellent fire-retardant and insulation capabilities.  It could be mixed with concrete to increase the strength and lessen the density of the construction material, which lowered construction and transportation costs.  It could also be used as a lightweight insulation material on pipes and around boilers in ships, vessels where weight comes at a very high premium indeed.

Unfortunately, asbestos, when inhaled, can eventually lead to mesothelioma or asbestosis, both of which are devastating diseases.  In addition, mesothelioma has no known cure.

Uses of Asbestos

Friday, August 27th, 2010

If we look to the history of asbestos as a commercially utilized mineral, there were many uses of asbestos.  That’s because this mineral, at one time very widely mined throughout the world (and still mined to a large degree today), had many properties that made it incredibly useful to many industries, especially the shipbuilding and construction industries.  Back at asbestos’s peak, in the middle of the 20th century, it was widely used despite concerns that it had ramifications for the health of workers exposed to it, concerns that had existed in one form or another since Greeks first mined and used the material over two millenia ago.

As previously mentioned, asbestos found its utilization highest in the construction and shipbuilding industries.  Within the field of construction, asbestos was used as an insulator.  Since it was such a fibrous mineral, asbestos can have significant amounts of air within it, which makes it a great insulator.  It was also used as a flame retardant for similar reasons.

Primarily, however, asbestos was utilized as an additive to cement.  Adding asbestos to cement had several advantages.  Of significant importance was that it increased the strength of cement by up to tenfold.  Because of this, less cement needed to be used for construction projects, which allowed for a) greater efficiency on the construction site and b) lowered transportation costs for the cement.  It worked wonderfully for those reasons.

In shipyards, asbestos had somewhat similar applications.  It was used as insulation for piping.  In this capacity, asbestos was ideal because it was cheap, lightweight, and excellent at the task needed.  Its use was not limited to pipes, as engines and boilers were often encased in asbestos as well.

Despite its apparent excellence as a construction supply, however, asbestos ultimately declined due to its incredibly negative side effect, namely, as the primary cause of mesothelioma.

If you or someone you love worked with asbestos in their line of work and has contracted mesothelioma, it might be a good idea to consider contacting a mesothelioma lawyer with a proven track record of success.  A mesothelioma settlement won’t cure the disease, but it may help making the quality of life of a victim suffering from the disease a bit better.