Asbestos Questions & Answers
The Difference Between Mesothelioma and Asbestos
On This Page
Asbestos refers to a group of six fibrous minerals that occur naturally in the environment.
History tells that these minerals have been used in many industrial and household products over the years. Asbestos is considered a dangerous carcinogen, which means it is a cause of cancer.
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer caused by asbestos exposure.
How Does Asbestos Cause Mesothelioma?
People who are exposed to asbestos typically inhale tiny fibers that stick in the pleura tissue lining the lungs and coating the chest wall. (That’s why pleural mesothelioma is the most common type of the cancer.)
These asbestos fibers can cause cellular changes, and may cause irritation and inflammation in the pleura for many years before malignant pleural mesothelioma develops.
In some cases, people ingest rather than inhale the microscopic asbestos fibers, which can then become lodged in the tissue lining the abdominal cavity and organs.
This can eventually cause peritoneal mesothelioma, also known as abdominal mesothelioma.
In rare cases, the asbestos fibers make their way to the tissue lining the heart or the testicles, resulting in pericardial or testicular mesothelioma.
How Dangerous Is Asbestos?
Asbestos poses a serious health hazard to anyone exposed to it.
Since the 1970s, the U.S. government has been working to reduce the use of asbestos-containing materials and has implemented asbestos safety precautions for workers who may come into contact with the deadly material. However, it is still not completely banned in the United States. And there is no safe level of exposure.
Asbestos exposure can lead to a number of serious diseases, including mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis. It can affect even the heart, abdomen, and male testicles.
Is There a Test For Asbestos Exposure?
Although there are no mesothelioma screening tests yet, if you know or suspect that you have been exposed to asbestos, you should talk to your doctor about doing a chest X-ray once a year.
X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs can be used to help diagnose mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases early.
Also, cutting-edge blood tests (such as the MESOMARK blood test) have the potential to improve your chances of early detection.
Can Adenocarcinoma Be Caused By Asbestos?
Adenocarcinoma is a cancer that originates in the glandular cells. According to the National Cancer Institute, most cancers of the lung, prostate, colon, pancreas, and breast are adenocarcinomas. Inhalation of asbestos fibers can be a cause of adenocarcinoma in the lungs.