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Monday, May 11, 2009

Mesothelioma Awareness

Last month, I found some news articles regarding Asbestos contamination of some Korean cosmetics. If you haven't read it, click here. Lately, I've been hearing a lot about asbestos, and the disease that it causes, mesothelioma.

This is definitely alarming considering that we might be using certain products that contain asbestos in it, making us at risk for having the above mentioned disease. So what really is mesothelioma? What are the risk factors? How do you know if you are at risk of having one?

I've been familiar with the term mesothelioma since I'm a Medical student. But let me give you the gist of what the disease is all about, and how important it is to protect ourselves from it.

Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that is almost always caused by exposures to asbestos. Mesothelium is the thin protective lining that covers our organs. In here, malignant cells develop-- more commonly in pleura (which is the mesothelium of the lungs and upper chest wall), but may also occur in the peritoneum (covering of the abdomen), pericardium (covering of the heart) and tunica vaginalis (covering of the testis).


Shortness of breath, cough, wheezing, hoarseness, and pain in the chest due to an accumulation of fluid in the pleural space are often symptoms of pleural mesothelioma. Blood in the sputum coughed up may also present. While peritoneal mesothelioma may manifest as weight loss and cachexia (muscle wasting), abdominal swelling and pain due to a buildup of fluid in the abdominal cavity (ascites). Other symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma may include bowel obstruction, blood clotting abnormalities, anemia, and fever. If the cancer has spread beyond the mesothelium to other parts of the body, symptoms may include pain, trouble swallowing, or swelling of the neck or face.

In severe cases of the disease, the following signs and symptoms may be present:
  • blood clots in the veins, which may cause thrombophlebitis
  • disseminated intravascular coagulation, causing severe bleeding in many body organs
  • jaundice or yellowing of the sclera of the eyes and skin
  • low blood sugar level
  • pleural effusion
  • blood clots in the arteries of the lungs (blood clots)
  • sever ascites
Diagnosing mesothelioma is often difficult, because the symptoms are similar to those of a number of other conditions. That is why, if you feel that there is something not normal in your body, do not afraid to consult your physician. He knows what is best for you. Your physician may perform several tests and will take a thorough review on your history. Being exposed to asbestos (job related, etc.) may increase the suspicion of mesothelioma.

Who are at risks?

Working with asbestos is the major risk factor for mesothelioma. Especially when you are exposed for a long time. The duration of exposure, the health status of the person exposed and some other factors are important in the diagnosis. However, mesothelioma has been reported in some individuals without any known exposure to asbestos. In rare cases, mesothelioma has also been associated with irradiation, intrapleural thorium dioxide (Thorotrast), and inhalation of other fibrous silicates, such as erionite.

According to Wikipedia:

Asbestos has been widely used in many industrial products, including cement, brake linings, roof shingles, flooring products, textiles, and insulation. The combination of smoking and asbestos exposure significantly increases a person's risk of developing cancer of the airways (lung cancer, bronchial carcinoma). The Kent brand of cigarettes used asbestos in its filters for the first few years of production in the 1950s and some cases of mesothelioma have resulted. Smoking modern cigarettes does not appear to increase the risk of mesothelioma.
Legal Concerns

Some companies, especially those with asbestos exposure, can be liable if one of their workers will be diagnosed with mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses. I found one of the law firms that handle mesothelioma cases and it says on the website:

Being exposed to asbestos is not your fault. You may have been put in harm's way because of a previous job, a careless employer, or a negligent manufacturing company. If you are suffering from mesothelioma, you may be entitled to financial compensation from the people or companies responsible for your illness. Fighting mesothelioma can be very expensive. Medical care does not come cheap, and there is no price tag on your pain and suffering. For these reasons and more, it may be in your best interests to consider taking legal action against those at fault. (

Take care of your health, and be aware of the products that you are using. We are not just concerned with asbestos. We are concerned of all other chemicals out there that is used by some selfish companies, without even thinking that they can kill lives. More lives will be taken, more children will be abandoned. Sad.


Beauty Healthy said...

These days, prevent from chemical abuse is difficult. coz, they dont show it at composition. So, we have to carefull.
Thanks for remind me of this.

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