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Mesothelioma Causes

The primary cause of mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos particles. However, the likelihood of developing mesothelioma depends on the length of time and the quantity of asbestos fibers a person inhaled over that period. As a result, workers involved in asbestos-related settings for a significant amount of time have the highest risk of developing mesothelioma.

Asbestos Exposure

People who live close to asbestos manufacturing areas or are indirectly exposed to the material through their skin, hair, or clothing are also at risk of developing mesothelioma. Unfortunately, mesothelioma takes years, often decades, to form, meaning the cancer can lie dormant for up to 50 years before symptoms surface.

However, not every person who is exposed to asbestos will develop mesothelioma - only about 10 percent of asbestos-exposed workers do. Still, a strong link between the substance and the disease exists, as about 80 percent of people with pleural mesothelioma have a definite asbestos history. Other people develop the condition based on indirect exposure. Still others get it through means that have nothing to do with asbestos.

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Other Causes of Mesothelioma

  • Smoking: Although smoking is not a direct cause of mesothelioma, it can drastically weaken the lungs. It can also compromise the immune system's ability to fight the disease, which puts people at greater risk if they are also exposed to asbestos. A study of workers involved in the asbestos industry who also smoked showed that these individuals were 50 to 90 times more at a risk of developing pleural mesothelioma than non-smoking workers. Smoking is also known to facilitate other asbestos-related ailments, such as asbestosis.
  • Radiation: Exposure to thorium dioxide, which is used in certain x-rays, has also been shown to lead to mesothelioma. As a result, the substance has been banned.
  • SV40 Virus: SV40 or Simian Virus 40 is also considered a cause of mesothelioma. However, the virus alone does not lead to mesothelioma. Rather, it is only linked to the condition when accompanied by exposure to asbestos. Studies are still being conducted to establish this link.
  • Zeolite: Zeolite is a naturally-obtained mineral similar to asbestos that is mostly found in Turkey. The link between zeolite and mesothelioma was determined after a sudden increase of Turkish mesothelioma cases.
  • Eionite and taconite: These non-asbestos mineral fibers are also considered risk factors.

To find out more about the causes of mesothelioma, or the diagnosis, trends, life expectancy, and treatment methods of this condition, we want to help. Just fill out the form on this page. We'll send you a complimentary informational packet containing all the latest information on the subject as well as information about the top country's top mesothelioma doctors and cancer research centers. If you'd like, we can also put you in touch with legal experts who can evaluate your case.

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