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The main cause of mesothelioma is, without doubt, asbestos exposure. After inhalation of the fibers they travel all their way to pleura, damaging mesothelial cells and causing cancer. They are also harmful to lung cells that can result in asbestosis and lung cancer. If these fibers reach the abdominal cavity they can also cause peritoneal mesothelioma.
There are also evidences that exposure to asbestos can also be environmental and or familial, through the asbestos dust that asbestos workers bring with clothes. 6% of asbestos workers died 15 years after the onset of exposure. According to one research the death rate from mesothelioma is 344 times higher than in the general population.
As it was mentioned earlier most of the people have come into contact with asbestos fibers on their jobs or after inhalation of asbestos dust by family members of those working in at-risk occupations (paraoccupational exposure). Also there is a risk of asbestos exposure to people, who live near some manufactures: power plants, factories, shipyards, steel mills and building demolition. These types of work sites can pollute the environment with asbestos fibers and contaminate nearby residential neighborhoods.
Diagnosing mesothelioma can be a difficult task because there is a latency period of 20 to 50 years or more between initial exposure and development of malignant mesothelioma.
Pleural Mesothelioma and its causes
The most common form of mesiothelioma is Pleural Mesothelioma. According to all evidences it is caused by exposure of asbestos fibers which can penetrate the lining of the lung, entering the plural sac and damage the mesothelium cells. Another factor that plays an important role in cancer development is changes in macrophages after their ingestion of asbestos particles.
The asbestos fibers compel the macrophages to produce free radicals that are very harmful to DNA. And the changes of DNA in turn can induce cells to become cancerous. An interesting fact but the chance of a smoker who works or lives in asbestos-related environment developing lung cancer is about 50 times increased, but there are no evidences that smoking can cause mesiothelioma. Asbestos was even used is a filter tip by one brand.
Despite the fact that there are only few evidences, one can say that heredity, general health and diet can also play an essential role, so to decrease the chance of catching a disease it is important to take care about your general health.
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