Malignant pleural mesothelioma is a type of tumor caused by inhalation of asbestos fibers that forms linings in the lungs, abdomen, or heart. Exposure to asbestos can occur in either occupational or environmental settings. Hazardous occupational exposure to asbestos has occurred in various industrial operations, including mining, milling, manufacturing, shipbuilding, etc.
Common symptoms of malignant mesotheliomas may include:
- Chest pain
- Back pain
- Painful coughs
- Difficulty when breathing.
- Unusual swelling under the skin on your chest.
- Abdominal pain.
- Sudden weight loss
But take note, these may vary depending on where the tumor occurs.
Despite regulatory actions and the decline in malignant mesothelioma cases, hospitalizations and deaths remain substantial. The continuing occurrence enacts the need for maintaining measures to prevent exposure. Life expectancy for most malignant mesothelioma patients is approximately 12 months, and treatment depends on the area of tumor growth, the stage of cancer development, and the age of the patient.
How do you protect yourself?
Asbestos awareness can help prevent asbestos exposure, the cause of malignant mesothelioma, and other health complications. So, how do you protect yourself and the people around you?
- When working with asbestos materials, make sure you and your co-workers follow Occupational Safety and Health Administration(OSHA) regulations.
- Always dispose of asbestos material away from residential areas as these can be hazardous wastes.
- Get a regular malignant mesothelioma blood test. Studies indicate that a simple blood test can detect mesothelioma before symptoms appear, thus enabling you to tackle the problem early.
- Maintain a healthy diet: Eating a well-rounded diet, especially foods rich in antioxidants, to help your body repair itself and fend off diseases can go along way in preventing the development of malignant pleural mesothelioma.
- If an asbestos product is damaged, reach out to a specialist to handle it. Never attempt to remove asbestos without a professional’s help, as you may expose yourself to carcinogens.
- If you have an older home, don’t attempt to perform renovations or demolitions without checking for asbestos, as this may expose you to asbestos fibers.
- You should never saw, drill or disturb asbestos-containing material without wearing protective gear. These include masks, gloves, and safety shoes.
- Avoid old asbestos insulation products that can easily release dust when disturbed, leading to exposure by inhalation.
- If you are about to be employed in a manufacturing plant, ask your employer about any health risks in your workplace. If any, the employer is mandated to offer protective gear. Otherwise, report such employers to the relevant authorities.
- Complete regular assessments of asbestos risks and communicate asbestos hazards to people in the same environment as you.
- If you’re a parent, educate your kids about the risk of asbestos, how to identify them, how to handle them, and who to report to in case of a violation of the asbestos laws.
Many people don’t have knowledge of the risk factors of asbestos, and many are suffering because of this. Asbestos is dangerous and is the main cause of malignant mesotheliomas. Follow the preventive strategies above to keep yourself safe and protect those around you.