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What Is Mesothelioma And Where Can It Develops?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

First we must know what is Mesothelioma? This is based on the definition given by the National Cancer Institute. Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer in which malignant (cancerous) cells are found in the mesothelium. Where the cancer gets its name. Most people who develop mesothelioma have worked on jobs where they inhaled asbestos particles.

Moreover, Mesothelium is a membrane that covers and protects most of the internal organs of the body. It is composed of two layers of cells: One layer immediately surrounds the organ; the other forms a sac around it. The mesothelium is responsible in producing a lubricating fluid that is released between these layers, allowing moving organs (such as the beating heart and the expanding and contracting lungs) to glide easily against adjacent structures.

Mesothelioma cancer can develop in the tissues covering the lungs or the abdomen.

Mesothelioma in the chest
The tissues lining (or covering) the lungs are called the pleura. There are two pleura. These can be called pleural membranes. The gap between them is called the pleural space. The pleura are fibrous sheets. They help to protect the lungs. They produce a lubricating fluid that fills the gap between the two pleura. This helps the lungs to move smoothly in the chest when they are inflating and deflating as we breathe.


Mesothelioma is most often diagnosed in the pleura. This is known as pleural mesothelioma. Because it is so close, pleural mesothelioma can also affect the sheet of tissue covering the heart - the pericardium. Doctors call the pericardium the lining, although it is on the outside of the heart. It protects the heart and allows it to move smoothly within the sac that surrounds it. So it does much the same job for the heart as the pleura do for the lungs.

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Mesothelioma in the abdomen
The tissue lining the abdomen (tummy) is called the peritoneum. It helps to protect the contents of the abdomen. It also produces a lubricating fluid. This helps the organs to move smoothly inside the abdomen as we move around.

Mesothelioma of the tissues lining the abdominal cavity is known as peritoneal mesothelioma. It is much less common than pleural mesothelioma.

It is unusual for mesothelioma to spread to other parts of the body. But if it does, it does not usually cause troublesome symptoms.

Benign mesothelioma
There is a form of non cancerous (benign) mesothelioma that can develop in the lining of the lungs, or in the lining of the reproductive organs. It can occur in either men or women. These non cancerous tumours are very rare.

Asbestos-Related Diseases

Asbestos is a cancerous material, and exposure to it may result in later development of diseases such as benign pleural effusion, pleural plaques, diffuse pleural thickening, rounded atelectasis, asbestosis, mesothelioma, and lung cancer. Most exposure to asbestos has occurred occupationally. However, people have also been exposed to asbestos through common household products, old buildings, and by indirect contact from loved ones who have work with asbestos directly and have carried home asbestos dust on their clothing.

Although the manufacturing of asbestos products has been greatly reduced in the United States due to increasing governmental regulations since the late 1970's, asbestos still remains present today in old structures, buildings, and even warships that were built before this time. For this reason and due to the long latency period between the initial symptoms of the disease and diagnosis, asbestos-related disease still remains a serious public health hazard.


Asbestosis is one of many diseases categorized as an “environmental lung disease” or “occupational lung disease”. It is a lung condition referred to as diffuse pulmonary fibrosis. Asbestosis results from coming in contact with asbestos and inhaling its deadly fibers into your lungs. These asbestos fibers, once inhaled, accumulate in the lung tissue, thus distinguishing it from other fibrotic diseases. Additionally, asbestos fibers have been found in small numbers beyond the lungs; such as the tonsils, thoracic and abdominal lymph nodes, pleura, peritoneum, pancreas, spleen, kidneys, liver, stomach, esophagus, small and large intestines. This disease is progressive and irreversible in nature and typically leads to subsequent respiratory disability. In most severe cases, asbestosis may even lead to death from pulmonary hypertension and cardiac failure.

Any accumulation of dust in the lungs, whether is asbestos or not, is referred to as “pneumoconiosis”. Pneumoconiosis also refers to the pathologic response of the human body to the presence of the accumulated dust in the lungs, which results in asbestosis. Some of the symptoms of asbestosis are; shortness of breath, dry cough, X-Ray changes, and pulmonary function deficiencies. The latency period for asbestosis is generally several decades and it can occur in individuals exposed to large amounts of any of the three commercial forms of asbestos (chrysotile, amosite, or crocidolite) for extended periods of time. This disease may also develop even if the exposure was as brief as three years or less, if the level of exposure was heavy. There are also two other types of asbestos, which are non-commercial, and they are amphibole and anthophyllite.


The term Mesothelioma is used to describe a cancerous tumor that involves the “mosothelial” cells of an organ, usually the lungs, heart or abdominal organs.

Mesothelioma is classified into two types, pleural and peritoneal. Pleural mesothelioma is the most common type and it is a very rare and aggressive form of lung cancer. The “pleura” is a thin membrane found between the lungs and the chest cavity, which serves as a lubricant to prevent the lungs from chafing against the chest walls. Peritoneal mesothelioma, although less common, is more invasive and therefore results in a shorter life expectancy for the patient. Mesotheliomas have also been found in other abdominal organs.

As with other types of cancer, there are benign and malignant mesothelioma. The most common of the two is by far the diffuse malignant pleural mesothelioma. This particular type of tumor is very aggressive and invasive, spreading quickly over the surface of the lungs, abdominal organs or heart. Depending at which stage this disease is detected and the general health and strength of the patient, the life expectancy for the victims is between four and twenty-four months. The average person diagnosed with this aggressive type of tumor survives for between four and twelve months from the onset of symptoms. These symptoms include cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing and sleeping, pain in the chest and abdominal regions, progressive loss of weight and appetite and pleural effusions (fluid in the chest cavity). However, some victims have survived for several years with the proper treatment.

Lung Cancer

Smoking is by far the leading cause of lung cancer. Tobacco smoke causes more than 8 out of 10 cases of lung cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. Tobacco products contain harmful carcinogens (cancer causing agents) that can damage the cells in the lungs. The longer a person has been smoking and the more cigarettes a day smoked, the greater the chances are of contracting lung cancer. Exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke, which is called involuntary or passive smoking, can also increase the risk of developing lung cancer. If a person stops smoking before lung cancer develops, the lung tissue slowly returns to normal.

Even though smoking is mostly responsible for causing lung cancer, it is not the sole cause of it. Asbestos exposure can also cause lung cancer. People who work with asbestos are already in danger of getting lung cancer, and by smoking, the risk is greatly increased. Although the manufacturing of asbestos has slowed down significantly due to government regulations, it is still present in some products and old buildings. However, if left undisturbed, asbestos poses no danger. Asbestos is only dangerous when it has been disturbed and its raw form (fibers) is released into the air and breathed in.


Asbestos Products

The following are the products of asbestos:

Acustical Plaster
Acoustic Finishes
Agricultural Filler
Air Cell Pipecovering
ASB Weatherproof Jacket
Asbestos Gloves
Asbestos Cord
Asbestos Canvas
Asbestos Curtains
Asbestos Felt
Asbestos Finishing Cement
Asbestos Flatboard
Asbestos Lap
Asbestos Micarta
Asbestos Millboard
Asbestos Mineral Wool
Asbestos Pads
Asbestos Panel
Asbestos Packing
Asbestos Roalboard
Asbestos Seals
Asbestos Sheets
Asbestos Sponge Block
Asbestos Rope
Asbestos Tiles
Asbestos Tape
Asbestos Wick
Asbestos Yarn
Attic Insulation
Automotive Breaks
Automotive Clutches
Automotive Hoodliners
Baby Powder
Base Flashing
Boiler Insulation
Boiler Wall Coat
Blown-in Insulation
Bonding Cement
Breaching Insulation
Brick and Block Mortar
Calcium Silicate Insulation
Ceiling Tiles
Cement Pipes
Cement Siding
Cement Wallboard
Cigarette Filters
Construction Mastics
Cooling Towers
Corrugated Paper
Cork Board
Cork Overing
Cork-Filled Mastic
Crock Pots
Decorative Plaster
Duct Tape
Ductwork Connectors
Duplex block
Duplex pipecovering
Dry Mix Joint Compound
Ehret Asbestos Fiber Felt
Ehret Block
Ehret Pipecovering
Ehret Products
Electrical Cloth
Electrical Panel Partitions
Electric Wiring Insulation
Elevator Brake Shoes
Emulsion Adhesive
Expansion Joint
Firefoil Board
Firefoil Panel
Fireproofing Materials
Flex Board
Flexible Duct Connectors
Flooring Backing
Fire Blankets
Pipe Insulation
Pipe Covering
Fire Curtains
Fire Dampers
Fire Doors
Fume Hoods
Furnace Cement

Gasket Material
Glassblower Mitts
Gold Bond Adhesive
G.B. Asbestos Paper
G.B. Asbestos Sheets
Gold Bond Cement
Gold Bond Perfo-Lyte
Gold Bond Plaster
Gold Bond Products
Gold Bond Spackle Paster
Gold bond Tar Paper
Gunning Mix
Hair Dryers
Heating Ducts
Heat Guard
Heat Seal
Hitemp block
Hitemp board
Hitemp pipecovering
Hitemp Insul. Cement
HVAC Duct Insulation
Insulation Coating
Insulation Duct
Insulation Jacketing
Insulating Mix
Insulation Seal
Iron Rests
Joint Compounds
Laboratory Gloves
Laboratory Hoods
Lagging adhesive
Lagging cloth
Lagging tape
Machine Room Ducts
Machine Room Ceillings
Machine Room Floors
Machine Room Walles
Marine Panels
Masonry Fill
Metal Mesh Blanket
Navy Sealer

Packing Materials
Patching Fiber
Patching Plaster
Potting Mixtures
Popcorn Popers
Refractory Cememt
Rope Packing
Roofing Felt
Roofing Shingles
Sheet Packing
Sheet Rope
Silicate Calsilite
Spackle Paster
Spackling Compounds
Spray Fireproofing
Stone Corrugated Sheets
Stone Sheathing
Stove Mats
Spry-Appliend Insulation
T-bar Ceiling Tile
Taping Compounds
Textile Garments
Textile Cloths
Textured Paints
Textured Coatings
Thernal Paper Products
Thermal Spray
Troweled Coating
Valve Rings
Valve Stem Packing
Vermiculite Compounds
Vinyl Floor Tile
Vinyl Wallpaper
Welding Blankets
Welding Rods
Wood Fiber Plaster

What Is Asbestos?

The term asbestos comes from the Greek word for “inextinguishable” or “indestructible.” Asbestos is a fibrous mineral with thermal and chemical resistance, flexibility, and high tensile strength properties. Although its use has been reduced since the 1970's, today asbestos is still present in many common household items and old buildings.

The first use of asbestos dates back to 2500 B.C., when it was used as a wick material for oil lamps and also in pottery making. Asbestos was also used in cloths for retaining the ashes of the dead during cremation. Mats were also made from asbestos by both the Chinese and Egyptians. Combining asbestos with clay and other materials was also one of its earlier applications.

Asbestos is classified into many different types, which include; chrysotile (white asbestos), crocidolite (blue asbestos), amosite (brown asbestos), tremolite, anthopyllite, and actinolite.

However, only chrysolite is the most widely used asbestos type in the United States. Other asbestos types used commercially are crocidolite and amosite, but in a limited capacity. Tremolite, anthopyllite, and actinolite are the most abundant, but they have been used primarily as contaminants of other minerals, such as chrysotile, verniculite, and talc.

Since its discovery, asbestos has found widespread use in part due to its unmatched engineering and commercial performance. Due to its thermal resistant qualities, asbestos has been used as a frictional material in break pads. It has also been used in specialized products such as gaskets, pads, fabric sheets, and asbestos paper due to the length and pliability of its fibers. Mixed into a slurry, asbestos has been applied to building surfaces for fire protection and heat retention, such as in furnaces and kilns. As a fortifying additive, which is it's major present day use, asbestos is a component of cement, concrete, paint, vinyl, and tar mixtures, accounting for 70% of current applications worldwide.


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