Mesothelioma - An Asbestos-Related DiseaseMesothelioma - An Asbestos-Related Disease

Asbestos is a group of minerals that occurs naturally in the form of bundles of fibers. These fibers can be converted into thin threads that are resistant to heat, chemicals and are not conductors of electricity. Basically, asbestos is a silicon based compound with several variants such as amphibole, chrysotile...etc.

Asbestos can be found in construction cement, insulation, roofing, boilers, steam pipes, hot water pipes and a host of other products. In the 1900s, asbestos was linked to a series of respiratory problems that were collectively known as asbestosis. Later, in the 1950s, the link between asbestos and mesothelioma was made. Asbestos is now recognized as one of the most potent carcinogens in our environment. Yet, even today, asbestos can be found in many products of daily life (ex. Fireproof clothing, caulk, clutch plates, brake pads...etc.)

Who are at risk of developing mesothelioma?

Asbestos is especially dangerous to those people who work regularly with it. When an asbestos-containing material is disturbed, the fibers are released in the atmosphere and can be inhaled by people in that environment. Construction works (e.g. renovation of old buildings constructed with asbestos-containing cement), pipefitting and other such works can release asbestos fibers which can then be inhaled by workmen. Secondary exposure has also been known to occur. Asbestos fibers collected as dust on the clothes and hair of workers can be inhaled by their family members. It is known that an exposure of as low as two months is sufficient to result in mesothelioma 30-40 years down the line.

Factors affecting the risk of developing mesothelioma

Several factors determine whether asbestos exposure will cause mesothelioma cancer in the future:

* Dose (how much asbestos is inhaled)
* Duration (length of exposure to asbestos)
* Type of asbestos fiber (for mesothelioma, amphibole fibers are considered to be more dangerous because they remain in the lungs longer and migrate to the mesothelial layer).
* Individual risk factors such as smoking and preexisting lung conditions

How asbestos causes Mesothelioma cancer?

Once inhaled, asbestos causes cells to die causing the lungs to become scarred. Asbestos fibers slowly work their way towards the alveoli and eventually into the mesothelium.

For a while now, scientists have been unable to determine the precise pathway by which asbestos fibers cause cancer. This is because asbestos is supposedly necrotic in nature (i.e. it kills cells). Dead cells are not supposed to multiply and produce tumors. It is only recently, in 2010, that this paradox was resolved. Asbestos fibers cause programmed cell necrosis which releases a molecule known as high-mobility group box 1 (HMGB 1) protein. HMGB1 initiates an inflammatory reaction that results in the production of mutagens and tumor growth factors.

Mutagens damages the DNA of the cells including those parts that regulate cell reproduction. Cells begin to reproduce uncontrollably forming tumors. The growth factors encourage the tumors to expand hence resulting in mesothelioma and lung cancer, depending on the site of the damage.

Take a look at what is happening and either consult with your doctor or an attorney.
by Jason Bacot
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Jason Bacot - Are you looking for more information on Mesothelioma and want to find out exactly what the Mesothelioma Symptoms are? Then I suggest you check us out online at immediately!
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