Mesothelioma is a rare disease that affects a very small percentage of people every year. Mesothelioma is cancer of the mesothelium, a membrane situated around most vital internal organs such as the heart and lungs. It contains two layers and lubrication to support movement of these organs. The interesting fact about Mesothelioma is that there are very specific causes unlike most other cancers which are caused by similar lifestyle factors such as drinking and smoking. In recent times, there is a lot of debate on Mesothelioma even though it is rare because several asbestos (the primary cause of mesothelioma) related companies are being sued by past employees after contracting the disease and not being warned about the health effects. As mentioned before the causes for Mesothelioma can be very specific. Let’s look at some of these causes:
Asbestos is the number one cause for mesothelioma and sometimes synonymous with asbestos as mesothelioma is commonly referred to as asbestos cancer. Almost all cases are diagnosed by people who have worked with asbestos for prolonged periods of time or close acquaintances of these workers who are in contact physically. While asbestos is commonly a component in various materials we use on a day to day basis, it only acts a carcinogen in its direct, raw form. When working with asbestos, tiny particles maybe catapulted towards the air and carry the risk of being inhaled. Inhaling or ingesting any of these particles can be very harmful to the lungs and can cause various types of lung cancer. Thus, mesothelioma Is usually initiated in the mesothelium that protects the lungs and proceeds to spread to the membranes of other internal organs. Due to the continual increase in industrialization, the use of asbestos and thus exposure to mesothelioma has increased which has led to the very gradual yet very real rise in mesothelioma cases over the years.
Other causes is in some way linked to most cases of mesothelioma, but a very minute number of cases shows some association with other types of carcinogens that can cause or elevate the possibility of developing mesothelioma. One such carcinogen is the simian virus, the simian virus is a rare virus that has found to reside in a reasonable number of mesothelioma patients which has resulted in doctors concluding that the simian virus is a highly probable cause of Mesothelioma, however there is still no concluding proof. Another rare chemical known as Zeolite is speculated to cause Mesothelioma. This is due to the fact that it comprises of properties similar to asbestos, and working with zeolite also results in similar minute particle fibers like asbestos that is the root of the cause of mesothelioma. Finally, radiation, which is a cause to a multitude of other types of cancers, is known to cause mesothelioma as well. This is again rare and people who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma due to radiation is considered to be an isolated case.
Mesothelioma cancer is primarily caused by asbestos, but a select few individuals may be diagnosed with mesothelioma due to other reasons such as the simian virus and zeolite. In any case, unless you reside in an area that comprises of asbestos factories, work with asbestos or are in close proximity with a person who works with asbestos, there is little reason to be alarmed.