Mesothelioma from Asbestos: An Overview
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Mesothelioma is a rare and deadly form of cancer that manifests itself years after the inhalation of airborne asbestos fibers.
It is known the world over as the signature asbestos-caused cancer. Three thousand cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed in America every year, according to the National Cancer Institute.
Many public figures have died from the ravages of one of the most deadly, yet preventable, cancers on record. Screen actor Steve McQueen and songwriter Warren Zevon, both of whom worked in asbestos-related occupations prior to their public careers, died of mesothelioma within months of being diagnosed.
In layman’s terms, the tissues that line our internal organs, including the lungs, are called “mesothelium.” Mesothelioma is cancer of that tissue. Some patients have been known to live longer, though most succumb to the disease within four to 14 months after being diagnosed. There is no known cure for mesothelioma, and treatment for this disease has not advanced far since the 1980s.
Generations of Americans were exposed to deadly asbestos fibers while serving in Naval shipyards during World War II, and subsequent wars.
American auto plants are also notorious for exposing factory workers to asbestos, an ingredient still utilized to this day in automobile brake shoe linings. Since mesothelioma can take decades to develop (up to 50 years in some cases), these workers are only now being diagnosed.
Mesothelioma is usually caused by workplace exposure to airborne asbestos fibers. It is a preventable disease that is frequently the result of an employer’s choice for greater profits over worker health safety.
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