Bringing Awareness to Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is a word not frequently bantered about in the press. It rarely makes national headlines. Don’t be surprised if you have no idea what it is. You’re not alone. Wednesday, September 26, 2018 is Mesothelioma Awareness Day. This is an important day for all those affected by this aggressive cancer.
What is Mesothelioma?
Malignant mesothelioma (Mĕz-oh-thee-lee-oh-mŭh) is often referred to as “asbestos cancer”. It is known to be caused by exposure to the naturally occurring mineral, asbestos, which until recently was utilized all over the world because of its lightweight, durability and heat-resistant capabilities. The barb-tipped fibers of the asbestos mineral become airborne when the products they are used in deteriorate with age or are sawed, pounded, drilled or sanded, such as during the installation or removal of many building products manufactured throughout the 20th century. Once these extremely fibrous particles are airborne, they can be inhaled or ingested by anyone nearby.
In the body, the asbestos fragments lodge themselves in cell tissue, where they fester, causing the body to build up scar tissue around them. Over many years, the microscopic fibers can cause cancerous cells to develop in the body’s mesothelium, a sac-like membrane which lines and protects most of the body’s internal organs. The purpose of the mesothelium is to release a lubricating fluid which allows internal organs to move freely within the body during their normal function. The lungs, for instance, move with every inhalation and exhalation. Similar mesothelium sacs line the heart, which moves when it beats, and the abdomen, in which the spleen, stomach, bowel, kidneys and liver all move as they digest and process what we eat and drink.
Almost 3000 new cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed every year in the United States. Because it can take thirty to forty years or longer for this cancer to produce noticeable symptoms, some men and women who were exposed to asbestos in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s have yet to be diagnosed. That means the number of new cases annually has likely not yet peaked. It is estimated that up to eight million Americans may have been exposed to asbestos in their lifetimes, a frightening prospect.
The mesothelioma lawyers at Baron & Budd take this deadly cancer very seriously. There is no cure, and the disease can be very aggressive, with many patients not living more than ten months after diagnosis. This Mesothelioma Awareness Day, Baron & Budd honors all those who have lost their lives to this horrific cancer.