Mesothelioma and Asbestos

Mesothelioma and Asbestos

Medical research has established that asbestos exposure can cause a variety of diseases, including mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis. Typically, diseases which result from asbestos exposure occur when asbestos-containing materials are disturbed, resulting in the release of asbestos fibers into the air which are then inhaled or ingested by individuals in the vicinity. By far, the most devastating and lethal of the diseases caused by asbestos exposure is malignant mesothelioma.  

What is malignant mesothelioma?

Malignant mesothelioma is a type of cancer which occurs in the mesothelium, which is a thin layer of tissue that functions as a protective barrier around the majority of our internal organs.  Doctors often categorize different types of mesothelioma based on where the malignancy occurs in the mesothelium.  For instance, pleural mesothelioma affects the mesothelium which surrounds the lungs (pleura); peritoneal mesothelioma affects the abdomen (peritoneum); and pericardial mesothelioma affects the heart (pericardium).  Although very rare, mesothelioma can occur in the testes and is referred to as to as mesothelioma of the tunica vaginalis.  Additionally, mesothelioma can be categorized based on the type of cell found in the tumor.  The three cell types include epithelioid, sarcomatoid, and biphasic cells.  Finally, there are cases of benign mesothelioma (non-cancerous) but they are very rare.  

For more information on the different types of mesothelioma click here.  If you are concerned that you or a loved one may have been exposed to asbestos and are seeking more information, we have compiled a state-by-state list of job sites around the country known to have had asbestos exposure.  Since exposures can occur in multiple job sites, we also have included a list of occupations at risk of having asbestos exposure due to the nature of the job.  Finally, see our products list for a list of products known to have contained asbestos.