Risk factors for mesothelioma, an asbestos-related cancer

Mesothelioma is a sleeping giant. This is particularly the case for those 11 million individuals who were exposed to asbestos fibers in between the years of 1940 and 1978. That's because this cancer can take a patient 20 to 50 years to began showing signs of illness. Many of those exposed so long ago are only starting to see this illness rear its ugly head.

When a patient finally becomes symptomatic, it's virtually a guarantee that the membranes around their organs such as their stomach and lungs have already been attacked. In some cases, a patient's testes or heart has been as well.

Among the four different organs that mesothelioma commonly attacks, the pleural, or lung, variety of the disease accounts for anywhere between 70 to 90 percent of all cases. Peritoneal, or stomach, mesothelioma accounts for between 10 and 30 percent of all diagnoses. Both pericardial, or heart, and the testicular forms of mesothelioma account for 1 percent each of all cases.

According to the National Institutes for Health (NIH), at least 80 percent of all mesothelioma cases can be directly attributed to an individual's contact with asbestos at some point during his or her life. Among the other 20 percent of cases, those individuals reportedly contracted the illness from being vaccinated against polio, from exposure to the ever-toxic zeolites, or from an X-ray's radiation.

Not all who are exposed to asbestos will ultimately develop lung mesothelioma. In fact, the NIH's own research has shown that only between 2 and 10 percent of those will actually ever contract it.

Although its use is now outlawed, it's estimated that some 10,000 people continue to be exposed to asbestos each year. This equates to as many as 20 million people being at risk for being diagnosed with mesothelioma as they age.

Professionals working in industries such as plumbing, construction, auto mechanics, as miners, and in the military have the highest exposure risk. Those living in older, decrepit homes also run a significant risk of exposure from their environment as well.

Mesothelioma is slow to manifest itself, but once it does, it quickly robs an individual of his or her life. If you've been diagnosed with the condition after repetitive exposure to the asbestos on the job, then a Dauphin, Pennsylvania, workplace illness attorney may be able to help you recover medical expenses from your either your former or current employer.

Source: Mesothelioma Research News, "Mesothelioma statistics: What’s your risk?," Wendy Henderson, accessed Aug. 08, 2017

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