An estimated 3,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with mesothelioma every year. Mesothelioma is an extremely aggressive cancer in which malignant cancer cells are found in the sac that lines the chest, abdominal cavity, or heart—a disease for which there is no known cure. Symptoms of this type of cancer include persistent coughing, chest pains, shortness of breath, unexpected weight loss, and difficulty swallowing.
Fortunately, there are treatment options available to those diagnosed with mesothelioma, which include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. These types of treatments can help relieve symptoms and improve the quality of life for individuals suffering from mesothelioma.
When it comes to contracting mesothelioma, asbestos exposure is the only known cause of this devastating illness. Inhaled dust created by products containing asbestos causes tiny fibers to become lodged in the lung tissues, which in turn act as a powerful carcinogen.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral used for its insulating and fire-retardant properties. Known for its strong fibers and flexibility, asbestos has been used in insulating products such as heat, sound, and electrical insulation, and in cement, plastics and resins. It has also been commonly used in oil refineries throughout Louisiana, from Baton Rouge to New Orleans.
Being exposed to asbestos either directly or second hand can cause very serious health problems. Asbestos fibers produce a very fine dust that, when inhaled, form deposits in the lungs that can cause lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis.
In addition to malignant mesothelioma, the most common asbestos-related conditions among workers or family members exposed to this devastating carcinogen are lung cancer and asbestosis.
Asbestosis is an often fatal lung disease caused by inhaling asbestos dust. Its most common effects include inflammation and scarring of the lungs. The contraction of asbestosis can also be an early symptom of asbestos-related cancer, such as mesothelioma.