Mesothelioma & Asbestos Help Center
Welcome to the Mesothelioma & Asbestos Help Center. We are a website dedicated to educating the public about the dangers of asbestos exposure, and to helping people with asbestos-caused diseases find the information and support they need. We hope that this website provides you with answers to any questions you may have about mesothelioma, asbestos, treatment options, or related topics. If your questions are not addressed here, we invite you to contact us directly using the provided form at any time.
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos refers to a group of mineral fibers that were once very popular in several industries, including construction, shipbuilding, metalworking, mining, and more. Because of its exceptional tensile strength, flexibility, and heat resistance, it can be found in the insulation and heating systems of older homes and office buildings, in the mechanical components of motor vehicles, in the boilers and pipes of military vessels, and in dozens of consumer goods.
Unfortunately, asbestos is an extremely dangerous carcinogen (cancer-causing substance). If inhaled, the microscopic fibers lodge in the body, often resulting in serious health problems, including pleural plaques, lung cancer, and mesothelioma.
Today, asbestos is heavily regulated by the United States government – but it is not illegal. Several industries continue to import asbestos for various uses. The law sets strict guidelines for the handling, removal, and disposal of asbestos, and violations can lead to criminal charges or civil actions. However, because asbestos was so widely used in the past, and because it can still be found in homes, schools, and products nationwide, virtually anyone can be exposed to it. You may be especially at risk for asbestos exposure if you work or have worked in:
- Construction, renovation, or demolition
- Shipbuilding or dismantling
- The military
We at the Mesothelioma & Asbestos Help Center believe that providing information about the presence and dangers of asbestos is crucial to public safety. Read more about asbestos and asbestos-related diseases.
What is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is one of many health problems that exposure to asbestos can cause. It is a deadly cancer that attacks the lining of the internal organs, including the lungs and heart. There are several types of mesothelioma, including:
- Pleural mesothelioma - affects the lining of the lungs and chest cavity
- Pericardial mesothelioma – affects the lining of the heart
- Peritoneal mesothelioma – affects the lining of the abdominal cavity
Mesothelioma is a difficult cancer to detect because of its long latency period – someone who is exposed to asbestos may not show symptoms of mesothelioma until decades later. For this reason, many of the workers who were exposed to asbestos during the mid-20th century are only now feeling the effects.
Mesothelioma victims generally receive poor prognoses; the average life expectancy of a mesothelioma patient is only several months after the initial diagnosis. However, treatment regimens using a combination of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery are often able to significantly extend a patient’s life. If you or someone you love has been exposed to asbestos in the past, be sure to educate yourself about the symptoms and stages of mesothelioma and to consult a doctor if any health problems occur. As with most forms of cancer, catching mesothelioma in its early stages is very important in terms of effective treatment.
Victims of mesothelioma may also wish to explore the legal options available to them. Because many people were exposed to asbestos as a result of corporate negligence, tort law often provides a way for victims to claim compensation for their losses.
Featured Topic – Asbestos and Ovarian Cancer
Although the link between asbestos exposure and a host of health problems has been known for decades, researchers are still discovering just how deadly asbestos can be.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there is ample scientific evidence to support a causal link between exposure to asbestos and the development of ovarian cancer. Although more testing is warranted, the WHO believes that the possibility of a connection is strong – adding yet another deadly illness to the asbestos lineup.
As part of the same statement, the WHO also affirmed links between asbestos exposure and mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer, and laryngeal cancer.