Mesothelioma

How Do You Get Mesothelioma?

Asbestos is the primary cause of mesothelioma. Inhaled asbestos fibers damage DNA, causing inflammation and scarring. Mesothelioma develops after decades of asbestos exposure.

When the fibers travel to different parts of the body, it results in different types of mesothelioma. For example, pleural mesothelioma is caused when fibers lodge in the pleura, and the peritoneal type is caused when fibers lodge in the lining of the stomach.

Diagram of mesothelioma causes by location.

The majority of people who get malignant mesothelioma cancer were exposed to asbestos while working certain blue-collar jobs or serving in the military. About 80% of people diagnosed with mesothelioma have been exposed to asbestos.

Mesothelioma was virtually unknown until the 20th century. Mesothelioma incidence rates rose as industries expanded the use of asbestos.

Primary Risk Factors for Mesothelioma

  • Working at an asbestos mine or asbestos-processing plant
  • Working in a high-risk occupation such as construction or heavy industry
  • Serving on military ships or facilities built with products containing asbestos
  • Living in a residential area near an asbestos mine or contaminated site
  • Disturbing asbestos products during a home renovation without proper safety measures

Common mesothelioma treatment options:

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation
  • Multimodal

Clinical trials can also provide patients with emerging therapies. These include immunotherapy, targeted therapy and photodynamic therapy. Type of mesothelioma, stage, cell type and other factors decide the best treatment.

Our mission at The Central Florida Cancer Institute is to enhance quality of life, facilitate adaptation, and improve health outcomes through evidence-based care.

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