Many people do not realize the potential dangers of asbestos exposure. Asbestos fibers, which occur naturally within our earth, have been harvested and used within building materials and other consumer products for centuries. Those that mined the substance or manufactured asbestos products are especially at risk for developing asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma.
There are a few different types of this rare cancer caused by asbestos exposure. Let's take a look at three of the most well-known:
Pleural mesothelioma develops in the pleura of an individual. The pleura is a thin and translucent organ that surrounds and protects the lungs. If asbestos fibers are inhaled, they can become trapped within the pleura. Tumors eventually develop that destroy the pleura and crush the lungs.
Peritoneal mesothelioma occurs in the lining of the stomach or abdomen, known as the peritoneum. Instead of breathing in asbestos fibers, peritoneal mesothelioma victims are likely to have ingested them.
Pericardial mesothelioma can also develop in the pericardium, the thin lining surrounding the heart. Pericardial mesothelioma symptoms resemble other heart conditions. This form of mesothelioma is very rare.
It can take years or decades before the symptoms of mesothelioma arise, and they are often mistaken for other conditions and diseases. If you are a worker who has come into contact with asbestos fibers, your doctor should be informed of any past exposure so they can accurately assess and diagnose symptoms as they arise.