Mesothelioma Causes - Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive form of cancer that has few known causes and several additional risk factors. According to the American Cancer Society, most cases for mesothelioma has been linked to exposure to asbestos. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, asbestos can be defined as a group of naturally fibrous minerals that are commonly used in construction for items like insulation. Asbestos can also be defined as the asbestiform varieties of: chrysotile; crocidolite; amosite; anthophyllite; tremolite; and actinolite, according to The Toxic Substances Control Act.
The ACS divides asbestos into two categories serpentine (chrysotile) and amphimobile. The chrysotile form of asbestos is most commonly used in industrial workplaces while amphimobile is believed to be more directly linked to cancer, although both have been linked to causing mesothelioma. In addition to mesothelioma, asbestos can cause asbestosis and lung cancer.
The asbestos fibers are inhaled, most likely in the workplace, and typically swallowed. Once swallowed, these fibers can stick to various linings and eventually damage the mesothelial cells within the pleura.
Other potential causes of mesothelioma are zeolites, small mineral fibers closely related to asbestos, radiation treatments for other cancers in the chest and stomach, and the simian virus 40 (SV40) which is still being researched for further evidence.
Men are 4 times likelier to suffer from mesothelioma than women. It’s estimated that 75% of mesothelioma cases are adults over the age of 65. The American Lung Association has stated that smoking doesn’t increase your risk of mesothelioma, but it does lead to lung cancer.