A rare type of cancer, mesothelioma is a condition that affects the mesothelium, the protective membrane which lines most internal organs of the body. One of the deadliest forms of cancer, it is aggressive and not curable in most cases. The mesothelium is the tissue that lines the different organs which include the lungs, heart, stomach, and more. The cell growth usually begins in the tissue lining the lungs but can also build up from the abdominal cavity and other surrounding organs.
It does not matter from where the malignant tissues of mesothelium originate as they can quickly invade and damage the tissues around them. Moreover, the cells also metastasize and begin to spread in different parts of the body. In most cases, the cancer is found to be advanced when diagnosed. The presence of cancer gives rise to the development of pneumonia and respiratory failure. Patients may also develop small-bowel obstruction if the tumor goes on to extend through the diaphragm. Cancer causes a plethora of complications in the body and the cause of death can stem from any of the same.
The causes of mesothelioma
There are several causes that are associated to have a role to play in the development of mesothelioma. The factors that contribute to the condition include:
Working with asbestos– One of the most major factors responsible for increasing the risk of suffering from mesothelioma include working with asbestos. A group of minerals that comprise thin microscopic fibers, they are widely used for purposes that include construction and in the industrial and automotive industry. This is because unlike several other materials, these are greatly resistant to fire, chemicals, and gas while not conducting electricity. When the minerals are processed for the purpose of manufacturing, the fibers may be released into the environment. Swallowing or inhaling the fibers can lead to the development of serious health conditions. Even people living close to asbestos mines are reportedly affected or are at high risk of suffering from the condition.
Radiation– There have been some reports which have linked the development of mesothelioma with exposure to high levels of radiation in the body. The radiation may include one that is directed to the chest and abdomen. For a very long time, doctors also used thorium dioxide when undertaking chest X-rays and this factor too is suspected to have played a role.
Zeolites– Zeolites are a type of mineral that has chemical relations with asbestos. A related mineral that is known as erionite is very commonly found in the soil of certain countries and one of them includes Turkey. To a great extent, the development of mesothelioma is believed to be a result of exposure to this kind of mineral.
Genes– While this cause is still not very clear, there are some experts who believe that genetics has a certain degree of role to play in putting one at the risk of mesothelioma. An individual with a relative who suffers from the condition is also likely to suffer from the same. However, there is some more understanding that must be acquired about the same.