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Mesothelioma: Myths and Facts

Asbestos is a natural fibrous compound that was once highly used in manufacturing industrial goods and automotive sectors. However, scientists began publishing papers in the 1920s that showed the dangerous relationship between asbestos exposure and deadly diseases like mesothelioma. Sadly, many businesses neglected these warnings and knowingly allowed their workers to use asbestos-containing products. Many lives could have been saved if companies had acted responsibly when the truth about asbestos first became public. Even today, there are several assumptions about mesothelioma, owing primarily to the disease’s uniqueness and the scarcity of easily available information. Because of its low incidence rate, several myths regarding mesothelioma have developed.

There are numerous misconceptions regarding mesothelioma, its causes, treatment, and legal remedies for those who develop it. Whether you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or are simply curious, it’s best to know the facts. Mesothelioma and asbestos exposure are serious illnesses that should not be treated lightly. False information can have major health repercussions. The following are some common myths and facts concerning mesothelioma.

  • Myth: Mesothelioma Is A Type Of Lung Cancer

Fact: Although mesothelioma resembles lung cancer, it is not the same disease. The disease develops in the pleura, a protective layer that separates the lungs from the chest wall. Pleural mesothelioma can spread to the lungs but does not form there. Hence, it is not considered lung cancer. Additionally, lung cancer cells form lumps, whereas mesothelioma tumors extend across the lung membrane in sheets. Doctors find it challenging to treat mesothelioma tumors because of their irregular shape.

Since mesothelioma and lung cancer have similar symptoms and can develop in the same parts of the body, some doctors may mistakenly diagnose mesothelioma as lung cancer. Furthermore, asbestos exposure is the only recognized cause of mesothelioma. On the other hand, lung cancer can be caused by cigarette smoking, family medical history, and other causes. As a result, you must get a proper diagnosis.

  • Myth: Mesothelioma Affects Only Those Who Work Or Have Worked With Asbestos

Fact: The most common cause of mesothelioma is occupational asbestos exposure. There are, however, different ways to consume or inhale the mineral. There is also an environmental concern linked with asbestos. Asbestos fibers can be found in high amounts in groundwater, fertile soil, and air in regions where asbestos is mined. Wittenoom, a Western Australian asbestos mining town, was temporarily closed due to excessive contamination. According to a report, approximately 2,000 former residents and workers in the area died from asbestos-related diseases.

Mesothelioma is a disease that cannot be transferred from one person to another. Asbestos exposure is the sole known cause of mesothelioma. As a result, persons with mesothelioma cannot infect others by contact or germs. On the other hand, secondary exposure should be considered by family members and loved ones. You might also come into contact with someone who worked with asbestos on a regular basis. Asbestos fibers can cling to clothes, putting everyone who comes into contact with them in danger. Another possibility is that you may have been exposed as a result of utilizing cosmetics or beauty items containing. For many years, even common household items like hair dryers contained asbestos.

  • Myth: There Is No Treatment for Mesothelioma

Fact: Though mesothelioma remains incurable as of yet, several treatments can improve the life span and quality of the patient. Surgical treatment, chemotherapy, and radiation are among the available treatments. A multimodal therapy approach is a commonly suggested method, which includes a combination of two or all three alternatives available. The most successful treatment approach is surgery, which eliminates most or all malignancies from the body.

While mesothelioma is deadly cancer, the prognosis isn’t always bad. Depending on its stage, some patients can live for up to five years after being diagnosed with the disease. Since tumors are more likely to be removed when the disease has not spread far from the origin point, early discovery generally results in a longer life expectancy.

  • Myth: Mesothelioma Only Affects The Elderly

Fact: Mesothelioma isn’t just a disease that affects older people. Mesothelioma can affect people of various ages. At the height of asbestos consumption, most workers in industries that consumed the mineral were men. However, women can also get mesothelioma. For example, women in their 30s are more likely to be diagnosed with well-differentiated papillary mesothelioma, which mostly affects the abdominal wall lining.

Mesothelioma affects people of all ages and from all walks of life. The disease does, however, affect older people more negatively. In most cases, mesothelioma develops over 20 to 50 years. However, asbestos fibers continue to harm the body during that time. Since mesothelioma takes much longer to show symptoms, it is rarely identified in people under the age of 50. Even though the average life expectancy of a mesothelioma patient is around 50, the disease can strike anyone at any age, including children.

  • Myth: Mesothelioma Can Be Caused By Smoking

Fact: The connection between smoking and mesothelioma has long been a source of debate. Although there is no link between smoking and mesothelioma, smokers who are exposed to asbestos are at an increased risk of acquiring asbestos-related diseases. That is because smoking weakens the lungs and makes them more sensitive to related illnesses. Because of the negative effects smoking cigarettes has on the lungs, people with mesothelioma are recommended to quit smoking. Smoking is also prohibited for those who work with asbestos.

It is asbestos, not smoking, that causes mesothelioma. However, smoking can harm your lungs and reduce their ability to eliminate asbestos fibers. In addition, cigarette smoke irritates the airways, causing them to generate more mucus. These side effects obstruct airflow and slow the clearance of asbestos fibers from the lungs.

Knowledge is power. The more information you have about a disease, the better prepared you will be to fight it. Due to mesothelioma being rare, people are unaware of its facts. We hope that this article has given you a better understanding of myths and facts regarding mesothelioma.

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