Asbestos is the greatest cause of mesothelioma with over eighty percent of cancer victims having knowledge of their exposure to asbestos. It's also likely that many people who are diagnosed were exposed to asbestos but weren't aware of it. There are some studies, however, that show that there are other environmental factors that result in a diagnosis of mesothelioma.
The internal cavities and organs in the body are covered by a thin membrane called mesothelium. As someone is exposed to asbestos, it is this area of the body where mesothelioma begins to develop. While asbestos exposure often happens in the workplace, it can also occur in one's home, school, or other areas where asbestos is present.
As fibers from asbestos are breathed into the lungs of the victim, they adhere themselves to the lining of the heart, lungs, and/or abdomen. This causes inflammation that finally develops into tumors. There is even a type of mesothelioma called peritoneal mesothelioma that develops in the stomach due to swallowing the fibers of asbestos. These cancer-producing substances can use the lymph nodes to travel to many parts of the body such as the pericardium, which is the thin layer that surrounds the heart muscle.
Researchers have now proven that asbestos can cause damage, both directly and indirectly, to a person's DNA. Indirectly, the asbestos can cause the cancer cells to trigger mutation by releasing cancer-causing reactive nitrogen and oxygen. Directly, the asbestos creates confusion within cell division, which can result in damaged and mutated cells.
It can take a long time for mesothelioma to develop from asbestos. The average duration for mesothelioma to develop after exposure is ten to fifty years. While it's unusual, in some cases where the victim is young, the latency period can be much shorter.
If you or your loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, it is likely that you will need a lawyer to help you achieve the best outcome and compensation that you deserve. While you can fight this battle alone, keep in mind that this area of the law is very complex. Having an expert on your side could make a huge difference for you and your family's financial security in the years to come.