Even so, most people exposed to asbestos, even in large numbers, do not get mesothelioma. Other factors, such as a person's genes or having had radiation therapy in the past, may make them more likely to develop mesothelioma when exposed to asbestos. Mesotheliomas related to asbestos exposure take a long time to develop. There is a dose-response relationship between asbestos and the development of mesothelioma, which means that the risk of getting cancer increases with each exposure.
However, not everyone exposed to large amounts of asbestos will develop the disease. Research shows that approximately 8 to 13% of asbestos workers develop mesothelioma. No, not everyone who is exposed to asbestos is diagnosed with mesothelioma. Even for people who have been exposed to large amounts of asbestos, mesothelioma is rare.
Although asbestos is the cause of mesothelioma, there are a number of risk factors that make certain people more likely to develop this cancer. Risk factors for mesothelioma may increase a person's likelihood of developing this deadly cancer. Exposure to asbestos is the only known cause of malignant (cancerous) mesothelioma, but not everyone exposed to asbestos develops the disease. Certain risk factors, such as levels of exposure to asbestos, age, and genetics, may increase the risk of developing this cancer.
We know that asbestos causes most cases of pleural mesothelioma. This starts in the two sheets of tissue that cover the lungs, called the pleura. Being exposed to large amounts of asbestos for a long period of time increases the risk of mesothelioma. Many people with mesothelioma in the abdomen (peritoneal mesothelioma) have also been exposed to asbestos.
In addition, manufacturers of electric hair dryers voluntarily stopped using asbestos in their products in 1979.However, the main risk factor for mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos, a hazard that millions of Americans were unknowingly exposed to by manufacturers of products containing asbestos. There are six types of fibrous asbestos silicates (actinolite, asbestos grunerite, anthophyllite, chrysotile, crocidolite and tremolite), all of which are capable of causing mesothelioma; however, only three types have been used commercially. As far as mesothelioma is concerned, the only known cause, as well as the highest risk factor, is asbestos. Asbestos fibers take decades to cause damage that leads to mesothelioma, but once mesothelial cells become cancerous, they can quickly form mesothelioma tumors that grow and spread within months to a few years.
Demolition workers, drywall removers, asbestos removal workers, firefighters, and automobile workers may also be exposed to asbestos fibers. Thousands of city residents have been diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases, including mesothelioma. Other potential risk factors that remain unproven causes of mesothelioma include genetic factors and exposure to radiation, zeolite minerals, and the polio vaccine between 1955 and 1963 that was contaminated with simian virus 40 (SV40). Single exposure to asbestos is generally not a serious hazard, except in extreme circumstances where toxic dust clouds the air.
Because asbestos was used in the construction of the North Tower of the WTC, when the building was attacked, hundreds of tons of asbestos were released into the atmosphere. Many American workers faced an increased risk of exposure to asbestos on a daily basis, especially at the height of its use in the 20th century. However, we must be aware of the fact that MPM can also occur without exposure to asbestos fibers, but in our case the patient's exposure to asbestos fibers was safe. When asbestos fibers are inhaled, they can get trapped in the lungs and stay there for a long time.
Although the tumor mainly affects older men who were occupationally exposed to asbestos in their youth, malignant mesothelioma can also occur in young adults. Epidemics of asbestos diseases have been reported in industrialized countries for many years; data is now being collected documenting an escalation of these diseases in developing countries such as Brazil, Thailand and Egypt. Both the TSCA Hotline and the Asbestos Ombudsman can provide publications on a range of topics, particularly on asbestos exposure control in schools and other buildings. .