Mesothelioma Cancer and Asbestos – What's The Connection?
It was not until fairly recently that physicians carrying out post-mortems established that there was a very serious and deadly connection between exposure to asbestos and mesothelioma cancer. Following further research over a period of three decades, the link between mesothelioma cancer and asbestos exposure became so conclusive that, to all intensive purposes, today mesothelioma cancer is known simply as the asbestos cancer. But, is exposure to asbestos the only way you can contract this deadly disease?
Current statistics suggest that 2 out of every 3 persons who contract mesothelioma cancer have been exposed to asbestos, normally as a result of a work-place environment. Originally, in order for the cancer to develop, it was believed that suffers either inhaled asbestos fibers or else the asbestos fibers infiltrated through the pores in the sufferer's skin. Having either been inhaled or infiltrated through the skin, the fibers would then be able to lodge themselves in the mesothelioma cells of the victim – either in their chest/lungs, abdomen or heart.
However, once the inherent dangers of asbestos exposure became clear to everyone, many workplaces and environments where asbestos exposure would previously have been found were sanitized. Asbestos had become evil –and thus it eradication was needed. To this end, new work-place regulations were put in place to the effect that asbestos could not be used and many of the products that asbestos was traditionally used in, such as roof insulation, were changed.
Notwithstanding this effort to eradicate any possible exposure to asbestos, the number of new mesothelioma cancer patients did not rapidly decline (as was hoped). Indeed, now 1 out of every 3 new mesothelioma cancer patients had not previously been exposed to asbestos. Thus, physicians needed to undergo a radical rethink of how this terrible disease could be contracted.
Today's physicians are firmly of the following opinion with regard to the connection between contracting mesothelioma cancer and having been exposed to asbestos. Firstly, due to the lengthy period in which it takes mesothelioma cancer to develop, which can sometimes be up to 30 years, the chances are that previous exposure to asbestos is going to be the primary reason as to why a patient has contracted mesothelioma cancer. Second, and more of a radical thinking away from previously, it is becoming more apparent that exposure to asbestos is not the only way that patients can contract mesothelioma cancer. Clearly with as many as 1 in 3 new patients not having had a record of being exposed to asbestos, some other element must be playing an active role in the development of this cancerous tumor. While it is likely that this additional element, or even elements, is going to be exposure to some form of fiber environment, currently this cannot be conclusively confirmed. Thus, the hunt is now on for alternative ways mesothelioma cancer can be contracted so that we can take immediate step to try and avoid new cases developing in the future. However, this returns us to an original problem, due to the lengthy development period it can take for this form of cancer to develop, it may be some time before a clear and full picture of the relationship between mesothelioma cancer and asbestos becomes apparent.