As of this writing, mesothelioma patients and their families are still waiting for the latest mesothelioma causes to be identified. While many scientists have come up with theories on what causes this type of cancer, there is still no direct cure that doctors can provide to patients today. It is possible though that new treatment options for existing patients may prove to be the answer as to why this cancer has increased in numbers over the past few years. A mesothelioma is a difficult disease to deal with because it takes months to determine if a diagnosis has been made.
The majority of mesothelioma causes remain unknown. However, the number of known malignant mesothelioma cases has increased dramatically over the past ten years. Two of the primary culprits of malignant mesothelioma are asbestos exposure and smoking. Both of these are common causes of cancer in people who are employed in high-risk industries such as construction workers, automobile manufacturers, shipyards, power plants, and chemical manufacturers.
Because of the difficulty of determining the causes of mesothelioma, doctors often rely on medical history, physical examination results, and imaging tests to make a diagnosis. These test results are often inconclusive in the early stages of the disease, and doctors then typically depend on their patient’s personal habits and lifestyle factors as the main cause of their symptoms. When patients begin to show signs of developing mesothelioma, doctors will usually perform several different tests to try and identify the specific cause.
Malignant mesothelioma causes continue to remain a mystery because it is difficult to stop cancer from multiplying once it has started to grow. If you are affected with this disease, there are several treatment options available to you to help you control your symptoms and extend your life expectancy. Cancer cells cannot be stopped from multiplying without the use of aggressive medication and invasive surgery. Most of these treatments for malignant mesothelioma include: chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted drug therapy, and pain management.
The first risk factor that is known to contribute to the development of this disease is asbestos exposure. This risk factor is not fully understood, but it has been shown that workers who have had prior exposure to asbestos, such as building work, automobile accidents, and certain industrial jobs suffer more serious lung cancer than those individuals who do not have such exposure. An individual who had prior exposure to asbestos is still at risk for developing cancer even if they have not been exposed to the mineral since the body builds up immunity to it over time. In addition to asbestos exposure, smoking can also increase the risk of developing this disease. The lungs of smokers are not as healthy as those of nonsmokers and individuals who smoke while they are working should have their lungs checked annually by a pulmonologist.
Mesothelioma cells can also grow in the lining of the lungs and the lining of the abdomen. If the asbestos fibers enter the pleura, the lining of the lungs, they can remain viable for a period of years, but they will most likely die off and/or migrate toward the lungs if they are not removed. When the fibers reach the abdomen, however, they are surrounded by healthy cells and do not change, which allows the cancer to spread slowly and more rapidly. Some genetic mutations also predispose individuals to asbestos exposure, but further studies are needed to determine exactly which genetic mutations are involved.