It has been known for a long time that asbestos is the number one cause of mesothelioma. It is used in many things from ceiling tiles and roofing to insulation and fire doors. Unfortunately, this is a carcinogenic substance that can spread quickly and severely. Many people don’t realize that they have been exposed to it until the symptoms start to show. If you or someone you know might be dealing with mesothelioma or another form of cancer, it is important to learn more about the disease and the different treatments available.
The two main theories of mesothelioma causes are exposure to asbestos and genetics. The first theory is favored by researchers. They believe that malignant mesothelioma is passed down through genetics. If a relative has had previous tumors, their chances of getting the disease are greatly increased. Recent studies have not proven conclusively that this is the main cause, but it does appear to be a significant factor.
One of the main theories surrounding mesothelioma causes is exposure to naturally occurring mineral fibers. Over time, the mineral fibers become thinner and more microscopic. This microscopic filaments can become airborne and inhaled by people. When lung tissues come into contact with the mineral fibers, damage can occur. This is known as secondary infection and is not as common as the primary infection, which occurs straight from asbestos exposure.
Mesothelioma tumors can also develop in other areas of the body other than the lungs. Other organs such as the abdomen, heart, bones, and other organs can be affected by secondary infection as well. One theory regarding mesothelioma causes is that this type of cancer is directly related to the exposure to asbestos. When the asbestos fibers are breathed in, they become lodged in the lungs and can stay there for years, even decades. Eventually the lungs will become so damaged that they will need to be removed.
Some types of mesothelioma cancers can also have their origin somewhere else. There are several theories about where these other possible sources of the cancer cells come from. A number of environmental factors, such as chemical and radiation exposure, can cause the formation of cells that are genetically altered. People whose genetic mutations have caused them to be more likely to contract the disease are especially vulnerable. These genetic mutations can also occur as a result of natural, uncontrollable changes that occur in the body as we age.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, medical research has been directed towards finding new ways of dealing with mesothelioma. New treatments are continually being discovered, with new discoveries regularly revealing more ways of dealing with the disease. New treatments that are used today to deal with the symptoms of the cancer, slowing its growth or eliminating it entirely. However, for those who are diagnosed with the disease in their earlier stages, surgery remains the only proven cure.