What Causes Mesothelioma?

Ninety percent of all mesothelioma cases are caused by asbestos exposure. This cancer affects the protective lining that covers many of the body’s internal organs known as the mesothelium. The areas of the lining most often affected are the lungs and abdomen.

Asbestos is a natural fiber that is strong, flexible, and highly durable. It was used in insulation and household appliances for years because of it’s ability to resist heat and chemical damage. The fact that asbestos causes mesothelioma and other chronic lung conditions was unknown until the 1960s.


Asbestos fibers are tiny, and when asbestos is mined or disturbed in any way, these fibers are released into the air. They then make their way into the lungs of anyone who is exposed, where they cause inflammation and the formation of scar tissue. This damage can then lead to mesothelioma, and it is this damage that is the most common cause of mesothelioma. The fibers imbed themselves into the lungs, working their way through to the membrane that surrounds the lungs and causing this specific type of cancer.

Mesothelioma in the abdomen is often caused when the fibers make their way into the mouth, are swallowed, and move through the digestive system. Asbestos can also cause other forms of chronic lung disease and respiratory problems such as difficulty breathing.

Construction workers, those who work in or live near asbestos factories, miners of asbestos, and anyone working in industries where asbestos is used are the most likely to develop mesothelioma. While asbestos is no longer widely used, mesothelioma may not show up for as long as 60 years after exposure, so anyone who thinks they may have come into contact with asbestos should regularly be checked for mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma does develop without asbestos exposure in rare cases, although the exact cause of these cases is not known. Since it was discovered that asbestos causes mesothelioma, most asbestos insulation and building materials have been removed from the market, and many buildings have been purjavascript:void(0)ged of their asbestos. Because asbestos is the most common cause of mesothelioma, exposure to the fiber should be avoided, and anyone who has reason to come into contact with asbestos should take extra precautions to avoid inhalation or other direct exposure.

By: LWACCT

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