Questions About Mesothelioma

What is mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is cancer of the mesothelium. The mesothelium is the protective lining of the lungs, internal organs, and heart. Most mesothelioma affects the lungs.

Is mesothelioma lung cancer?

No, but that is a common misconception. Lung cancer is cancer of the lung tissue. Mesothelioma is cancer of the membrane around the lungs. Asbestos exposure can cause both.

What causes mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is caused by inhaling or ingesting asbestos fibers. The fibers are very tiny and sharp. Your immune system tries to get rid of the fibers, but cannot. This causes inflammation which eventually leads to tumors and cancer.

Can smoking cause mesothelioma?

No. Smoking does not cause mesothelioma. Smoking can increase your risk of lung cancer, but asbestos exposure also causes lung cancer in people who have never smoked.

Is mesothelioma contagious?

No. Mesothelioma is not contagious. However, anyone who was living in your home at the time that you were exposed to asbestos may have also been exposed to fibers brought home in your clothing and belongings.

Is mesothelioma fatal?

Yes. Symptoms normally do not appear until 10 to 50 years after asbestos exposure, but once the disease takes hold it progresses quickly. Upon diagnosis, most patients are told they have less than a year to live.

Is there a cure for mesothelioma?

No, there is no cure, but the treatments are improving. Life expectancy for patients with an early diagnosis has extended greatly in recent years and those who can get the most advanced treatment can usually add several years to their lives. Pain management makes up a large portion of treatment.

Who can get mesothelioma?

Anyone who is exposed to asbestos can get the disease. People who work with and around asbestos are at the highest risk. High risk industries and environments include:

  • Mining
  • Shipyards
  • Demolition
  • Oil refineries
  • Railroads
  • Automotive manufacture and repair
  • Small appliance manufacturing
  • Construction
  • Steel mills
  • Power plants

Asbestos was used in the construction of many older building including homes and schools because it is heat and fire-resistant. People who live and work in buildings containing asbestos are also at an elevated risk.

What are the different types of mesothelioma?

There are three main types of mesothelioma:

  • Pleural mesothelioma - affects the lungs
  • Peritoneal mesothelioma - affects the abdomen and sometimes the testicles
  • Pericardial mesothelioma - affects the heart

Read more about the Types of Mesothelioma.

Can asbestos cause other health problems?

Yes, asbestos can cause non-cancerous lung diseases including:

It can cause other cancers including:

  • Lung cancer
  • Larynx cancer
  • Kidney cancer

Asbestos related illnesses can cause heart failure.

Read more about The Effects of Asbestos Exposure.

What products contain asbestos?

Thousands of products have been made with asbestos, including construction materials, household items, and industrial products which must be heat and fire resistant. Some common household items that contain asbestos include:

  • Oven mitts
  • Toasters
  • Potting soil
  • Chalkboards
  • Ironing board covers
  • Hairdryers

Read more about Products Containing Asbestos.

If you or a loved one has developed mesothelioma or any other asbestos related illness, contact us today, or click here for a free case review with an experienced mesothelioma attorney.