Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that is found in rare cases. Studies have shown that majority of its patients are men. This may be because the most common factor of its cause is exposure to asbestos and men are exposed to it more than women. Asbestos is a material widely used in various industries like ship building, construction work and motor industries etc. People working in such industries are at a higher risk of getting mesothelioma due to their exposure to asbestos for a longer period of time. Out of the three types of asbestos namely blue, brown and white, the first two are said to be more dangerous than the last one. It takes around ten to forty years for the disease to develop on being exposed to asbestos for longer duration. It is because of this that the UK put a ban on the import of asbestos.
Asbestos is dangerous because it releases very fine fibres on being disturbed. These fibres are so tiny that they can be taken in while breathing and enter into the lungs, affecting their functioning by damaging the pleura. Once inside the airways, these tiny fibres block them so badly that the same can’t be coughed out further causing inflammation of the tissue of the lungs.
It is not only the people who are directly exposed to asbestos are at risk of having mesothelioma, but their family members are also equally at the risk of having it. This is because the dust of asbestos settles down on the clothes of those working in these conditions which they end up carrying home along with them.
Though it is very rare to have mesothelioma without having any exposure to asbestos, but such rare cases do occur and as per the experts’ this may be due to exposure to radiation. There may be some other causes of mesothelioma which are still not known to us. Scientists are researching to zero down these hidden causes. One thing is sure that this is neither a contagious nor a hereditary disease. Children of the patients of mesothelioma are not at all at the risk of inheriting the disease from their parents. It is only when they themselves come in contact with asbestos that they are put at risk of getting it.