The main cause of mesothelioma is often asbestos exposure. Asbestos tends to stir a reaction in the cells, resulting in scar tissue plaques on the surface of the mesothelium. The tumor then grows in these scar tissues and cooks for about 15 to 50 years after the exposure until it is finally diagnosed.
Learn all about this disease to protect yourself from this harmful asbestos exposure. Let’s begin by discussing how many types of mesothelioma are there and how they can occur.
Types of Mesotheliomas
There are four types of mesothelioma. The two most common types are pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma. While the other two – pericardial and testicular mesothelioma – are quite rare.
Pleural Mesothelioma is the most common type, with an average of 70% to 75% cases occurring in the lining covering and protecting the lungs.
The majority of research on mesothelioma focuses on the pleural type, which suggests that aggressive surgery is one of the best treatments in its early stages. However, the life expectancy of patients with stage one pleural mesothelioma can be increased for three or more years, and it can be increased for an average of 12 months at stage four.
Peritoneal Mesothelioma affects the tissues surrounding the abdominal organs. The average number of mesothelioma patients suffering from this disease is 10% to 20%. Although peritoneal has much less research, the diagnosis is far better than its pleural counterpart.
Ways to detect or prevent mesothelioma
Prevention from mesothelioma is possible; however, it is essential to learn the basics about this disease. For instance, knowing all about asbestos may help you prevent its exposure. Following are some methods for detecting or preventing mesothelioma.
1- Review your health: If you have a history of asbestos exposure, keep track of changes to your medical conditions, such as respiratory symptoms or pains in your chest and abdomen. Keep a record and discuss new symptoms with your doctor in case of new symptoms.
2- Mesothelioma blood test: MESOMARK is the blood test approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to detect mesothelioma. The doctor can conduct the test in his office, providing access to the test.
3- Healthy Diet: A balanced diet rich in antioxidants such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains lowers cancer risk by helping your body repair itself and increasing immunity.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Guidelines to prevent mesothelioma at the workplace
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) developed guidelines in 1970 for the protection of workers from asbestos. The guidelines are industry-specific for different types of works such as general, shipyard and construction industries. OSHA requires employers to conduct worksites air tests to check the asbestos at a safe level, i.e., below 0.1 fibers per cubic centimeter. Additionally, OSHA requires employers to take the following preventive measures.
1- Keep a record of air monitoring performance
2- Regularly conduct an asbestos risk assessment
3- Communicate with workers about the asbestos hazard
4- Limit exposures through preventive practices and controls
5- Make available respiratory protection if exposure limit exceeds
6- Give asbestos-related awareness to staff
7- Medical surveillance of the workers exposed to asbestos
Self-prevention from workplace asbestos exposure
Despite increased awareness over the years about asbestos-related health risks, some employers still show negligence is preventing harmful asbestos exposure to employees. Therefore, the workers need to take self-precaution against asbestos exposure and report unsafe asbestos-related practices to OSHA. Moreover, they should ask their employers to provide information about asbestos-related health risks in their workplace.
Always wear protective gear while cutting, sawing, scraping or handling asbestos-related material and never bring home asbestos-contaminated work shoes or clothes. The asbestos debris requires wet cleaning methods or a HEPA filter for vacuum cleaning, do not clean it with the standard vacuum cleaner. Follow state and federal regulations while disposing of asbestos material, and avoid removing asbestos without following proper abatement procedures. Asbestos removal needs adequate training and certification. Without having training on asbestos removal, you should avoid performing the job.
How to protect your family from asbestos?
Homes built before 1980 may contain asbestos-containing material and require a cautious approach while renovating old constructions. The only way to find whether your home has asbestos-containing construction material is to get the sample tested from a certified laboratory.
The harmful exposure occurs when the dust is released into the air during renovation work. Asbestos material concealed and in good condition is safe unless you cut, saw, sand, scrape or drill this material. Over time, asbestos products can become stiff and flaky, releasing toxic fibers into the air that can be inhaled and cause damage.
You should dispose of friable asbestos as soon as possible with the assistance of a professional abatement company to avoid asbestos exposure.
Despite regulations at a state level to protect workers from asbestos exposure, the rules are not properly followed. Therefore, you must take self-precautions to protect yourself and your family from asbestos exposure.