Mesothelioma is a Slow-Growing Cancer
The lining of the lungs is called the pleura. When it becomes diseased with cancerous tumors, these are called mesothelioma. This is a malignant form of cancer. Every year two to three thousand people in the United States are diagnosed with this cancer.
By and large, mesothelioma is caused by repeated inhalation of asbestos particles over a long period of time. Symptoms don’t emerge until at least thirty and as many as fifty years have passed. For this reason, the majority of people who are diagnosed are over 65. Most people with mesothelioma are men who have worked in the construction industry for extended periods of time in the past when asbestos was not carefully regulated.
Asbestos is a mineral that can break down into fine particles that float in the air around projects in which asbestos is used. It was used a great deal in the mid-twentieth century for all kinds of construction applications. It can be found in insulation, flooring products, roof shingles brake linings, cement and more. It is more heavily regulated today than it was in the past.
Men who worked in construction and in industries such as shipyards and heating services in the middle of the last century are at high risk to develop mesothelioma, as are men who worked in asbestos mines. In fact, this is still one of the most hazardous occupations where mesothelioma is concerned today.
It would seem logical to believe that smoking would increase the chance of a person developing mesothelioma; however, this does not seem to be the case. This is not to say that smoking doesn’t increase the chance of developing other forms of lung cancer, it definitely does.
Since it takes such a long time for symptoms to occur, mesothelioma is often not diagnosed until the prognosis is very grim. A person’s chances of survival are dependent on a number of things such as general health, the health of the heart, and the person’s age, lifestyle and outlook. Scientists continue to research possible treatments for mesothelioma, and say that survival of more than five years following diagnosis is becoming more and more the norm.