Mesothelioma is a rare disease with about 3,000 new diagnoses in the United States per year. Given the infrequency of the disease, it has led to several misconceptions. It is important to sift through the facts about this deadly disease so people understand what impact it can have on one’s health and well-being.
Is Mesothelioma a Type of Lung Cancer?
Mesothelioma is not a form of lung cancer. While the most common form of the disease, pleural mesothelioma, impacts the lining of the lungs, the disease can impact other major organs as well. The disease also impacts the lining of organs. Lung cancer impacts the lung tissue. There are other notable differences between the two. The only cause of mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos, while lung cancer can be traced to multiple things, including smoking, asbestos, and air pollution. In addition, lung cancer is easier to treat with a higher median survival rate than mesothelioma.
Is Mesothelioma the Only Disease Caused by Asbestos?
Asbestos is a dangerous mineral that can be associated with several diseases, including mesothelioma; however, it is not limited to that. Exposure to asbestos has also been associated with lung cancer, as well as other respiratory diseases. Moreover, asbestos has also been attributed as the cause of non-cancerous conditions, such as asbestosis, pleural thickening, and pleural plaques.
Is Long-Term Asbestos Exposure the Only Cause for Concern?
Any exposure to asbestos puts a person at risk for contracting a disease, no matter how little a person is exposed to the mineral. Other factors play a role in the probability, including overall health, age, and duration of exposure. The longer a person’s exposure to asbestos, the more likely their chances of developing an asbestos-related disease. Secondary, bystander or household asbestos exposure can also cause others to develop an asbestos disease.
Does More Asbestos Mean a Greater Chance of Getting Sick?
The amount of asbestos has no correlation to a person’s chances of developing a disease such as mesothelioma. Unlike the length of exposure increasing a person’s chances of getting sick, there is no such correlation with the amount of asbestos.
Can Mesothelioma Remain Dormant for Many Years?
The disease itself cannot remain dormant within a person’s lungs for many years. However, it does takes several years for it to develop. After a person inhales the asbestos fibers, those fibers nestle themselves in the lining of a person’s organs. Over time, those fibers can cause irritation to the lining of that organ. That irritation can eventually lead to cell mutation. It will take years for that mutation to develop into mesothelioma cancer. The latency period for mesothelioma can range from 10 to 50 years after a person inhales or swallows the fibers.
Will a Face Mask Protect Against Asbestos?
Asbestos is a dangerous mineral that has been used in schools, office buildings, and residential apartment buildings. When possible, it should be removed as quickly and safely as possible. Many people think they can remove asbestos with just a face mask. That is not sufficient protection and requires greater protection for one’s mouth and nose. If asbestos is found in a building, a team of professionals must be hired to properly handle the minerals with the correct equipment to remediate it. In some cases, they may recommend leaving the asbestos where it is because it is contained within a substance. Once it becomes airborne, the risk increases significantly, which could cause problems later.
Is Mesothelioma Contagious or Hereditary?
There has been no evidence to suggest that mesothelioma is contagious and can be transferred from person-to-person. Despite the severity of a case, one person cannot contract the disease from another. However, there is a possibility of secondary exposure. For example, a worker may come home with asbestos fibers on their clothes, which exposes their family members or others living with the person to the fibers as well. Mesothelioma is not hereditary, although a family member might possess genetic risk factors that could make them more susceptible to contracting mesothelioma. The only risk family members might have from their relation to a patient is secondary exposure.
Am I Only At-Risk If I Had Direct Exposure to Asbestos?
Direct exposure to asbestos is not the only way to contract mesothelioma. There are other ways to experience secondary exposure to the dangerous mineral as well. A person who is working with the substance could inadvertently bring fibers home that attach themselves to a person’s clothing. There is also a higher risk if someone lives near a facility where asbestos is mined. There have been reports of the air quality being among the most dangerous in the country for a few miles within those areas. There is also an increased risk for those working in the area near a factory or other business that uses asbestos. The frequency of use of the dangerous material results in the risk of contamination to the area and potential exposure to families that live there.
Is Asbestos Banned in the United States?
Asbestos is not banned in the United States. In fact, the U.S. is one of a few major industrialized nations without an asbestos ban. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has implemented restrictions for the use of the dangerous mineral, but has not banned the product outright. The State of New Jersey banned the use of the material in 2019, but no other state has followed suit. Despite a lack of a formal ban by the United States government, the use of asbestos has declined in this country. Moreover, most commercial and residential buildings have eliminated use of the substance.
Can Smoking Cause Mesothelioma?
While smoking is a risky habit that can lead to a wide assortment of other deadly diseases, mesothelioma is not one of them. The only confirmed way to develop mesothelioma is through exposure to asbestos. Smoking impacts the lung tissues and not the lining of your lungs, which is where asbestos fibers can cause problems. However, smoking can cause damage to the lungs, making a person more vulnerable to developing mesothelioma later in life if there was exposure to asbestos.
Is There a Cure for Mesothelioma?
There is no known cure for mesothelioma, but scientists have been developing better treatments designed to help extend the life of those infected. Early detection is the first step toward positive treatment. Some treatments include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, or a combination of the three. Some newer medications and immunotherapies have been credited with extending the life of the patient for an additional fight to eight years.
Philadelphia Mesothelioma Lawyers at Shein Law advocate for those suffering from asbestos exposure
If you suffer from mesothelioma, contact the Philadelphia mesothelioma lawyers at Shein Law today. Call us at 877-743-4652 or contact us online for an initial consultation. Our offices are located in Philadelphia and southern New Jersey, and we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.