Asbestos Cancer: Causes and Treatments
You may know that asbestos is dangerous – that’s why it has been banned in most countries since the later 1980s. But do you understand exactly why it is that asbestos is so dangerous? The reason is because exposure to asbestos can cause a couple of different types of cancer, as well as some other deadly diseases. Asbestos cancer is a very real concern and it kills thousands of people every year. The worst part is that the companies who exposed their workers and clients to asbestos knew about the potential dangers of the material, and still allowed it to be used. That’s why there are so many asbestos cancer victims filing lawsuits (and winning huge settlements) against the companies that they once worked for.
Asbestos is a material that was once highly valued as a building supply because it was strong, blocked sound well, and was resistant to fire and chemicals. However, those who worked with asbestos regularly, including the people who helped to mine and manufacture the material and those who used it in construction, were unknowingly exposed to something that is potentially fatal. What happens is that when small fibers of asbestos are inhaled, they can become stuck in the lining that protects our bodies’ heart and lungs, which is called the mesothelium. The particles are too big to be expelled back out, so they become lodged and stick there for good. This can eventually lead to asbestos cancer in the form of lung cancer, mesothelioma, and other afflictions.
Often, those who are exposed to asbestos do not see any immediate results. In fact, some asbestos cancer can lie dormant in the body for as long as 50 years. People who worked with asbestos could be living normal, healthy lives before suddenly developing symptoms of asbestos cancer or related diseases. Unfortunately, the outlooks for those suffering from asbestos cancer are not very good. For mesothelioma, in particular, most people diagnosed with this type of cancer only have around a year to live.
Treatments are available to help fight asbestos cancer, but in many cases they exist as ways to increase a victims lifespan, rather than to cure the disease. Treatments usually include surgery to remove tumors, if possible, and chemotherapy to help fight the cancerous cells. Depending on how early the asbestos cancer is caught, these treatments can be effective in adding multiple years on to a victim’s life, or in very rare cases can send the cancer into complete remission.