The primary cause of Mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos. Mesothelioma occurs when microscopic fibers of asbestos are inhaled and lodged in the tissue surrounding the lungs. The fibers lead to inflammation of this tissue, which creates scar tissue. This scar tissue lays the foundation for the cancerous Mesothelioma cells to develop.
Asbestos is a building material that was widely used in the United States from the time of the Industrial Revolution through the mid-twentieth century. While the use of asbestos has recently been outlawed, those who work in industries that previously used the material are still at risk of exposure. People who work around construction jobsites, shipyards, or the construction/renovation of commercial buildings are at a high level of risk. Boilers and insulated piping are known to have high asbestos levels due to the material’s fire and heat resistant properties. Students and staff of older school buildings are also at risk due to the material’s use as insulation. All branches of the military are at risk for Mesothelioma caused by asbestos exposure. The Navy and Marine Corps are at risk because of asbestos’s use aboard Navy ships, aircraft carriers, and submarines. The Army is at risk because buildings on military installations and military vehicles often use asbestos. Those who served in the Air Force may also be at risk if they worked on military aircrafts. Oil refineries, power plants, steel mills, and chemical plants are all known for their widespread use of asbestos. Even if you are not a worker in any of these industries, you may still be at risk of exposure. Commercial building products, such as insulation, roofing materials, siding, joint compounds, ceiling tiles, and flooring all contained asbestos at one time. Asbestos can also be carried on one’s clothing or hair, creating the risk of secondhand exposure.
Symptoms of Mesothelioma include coughing, shortness of breath, and chest pain. Instances of mesothelioma are still rare, with only about 2500-3000 in the U.S. per year. Diagnosing the disease often requires surgery or several body scans such as MRIs, CT scans, or PET scans. If you believe that you or a loved one may have Mesothelioma caused by workplace exposure to Mesothelioma, contacting the right doctor and the right attorney are the first steps you should take. If you live in Alabama, the University of Alabama Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center is there to help you.
A directory of Mesothelioma experts is available at: http://www.mesothelioma.com/treatment/doctors/#AL