One of the deadliest side effects of exposure to asbestos is mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer that directly affects the protective shell of the major organs in the body. The relationship between asbestos and mesothelioma was established only in the 1960s after the material was widely used in such large industries as shipbuilding and construction. Asbestos has been used in thermally insulating and flame retardant metals and other materials used in the construction of houses, commercial plants, public buildings, ships and cars since the industrial revolution. Millions of people were exposed to this extremely dangerous material by their occupation or choice of place of residence – they either worked in asbestos or plants that produced asbestos-coated materials or lived near areas where the asbestos industry thrives.
Inhalation and ingestion of asbestos particles and fibres are very dangerous. Asbestos is a fibrous mineral and fibres can easily break into separate strands – sometimes in dust-sized particles that can be easily inhaled – that can be worn in shoes, clothes and hair. However, asbestos fibres are not so small that they are themselves expelled. As a result, fibres and particles accumulate in the lungs, where they can lead to scarring, causing shortness of breath, chest pain, dry cough, and even death.
Inhalation and absorption of asbestos particles will also cause a series of chemical reactions leading to abnormal and uncontrolled separation of mesothelial cells. Mesothelium is food that surrounds the lungs and the vital organs in the chest cavity. The result of this phenomenon is mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that has a very high degree of mortality – often this cancer will only be diagnosed after it causes serious damage to the body. Exposure to asbestos is not observed immediately after the first exposure; it will only manifest itself after a few years, even after a person has found a lot of asbestos. For this reason, people who are diagnosed with mesothelioma are elderly people, and they are often not strong enough to withstand the aggressive treatment that this disease requires.
Like most types of cancer, mesothelioma requires chemotherapy, surgery, medication and radiotherapy to extend the life of the victim. However, this type of cancer-related asbestos requires a powerful combination of all methods that extend the patient’s life to five years.
The resolution “prevention is better than cure” works great in this situation. To avoid any pain, suffering and possible burns associated with mesothelioma and other diseases associated with asbestos, you should also avoid exposure to the material. Many old houses, especially those built before the end of the 1970s, are made of asbestos-containing materials. Removing these materials means reducing the threat of mesothelioma to your family and children. However, you must remember that these materials should only be removed by professionals. They have the knowledge and equipment to get rid of threats, not to release the fibres into the air and to safely disinfect the environment.
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