Mesothelioma is a type of cancer affecting the mesothelial cells. These types of cells can be found in the lining that covers most of our bodies organs, however there are two types of Mesothelioma – Pleural and Peritoneal. Pleural Mesothelioma develops in the membrane of the lungs and is the most common of the two, and Peritoneal Mesothelioma develops in the lining of the abdomen. There is approximately 1 case of peritoneal Mesothelioma to every 12 pleural cases, however around 2500 people in the UK are diagnosed with Mesothelioma every year. with the majority sharing the same cause.
The main cause of Mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos, being reliable for around 9 out of 10 cases which occur, and although the material is no longer in use today (it was finally banned in the UK in 1999) it still has a big effect on many people due to the diseases it’s exposure can lead to. But what is Asbestos and how does it cause cancer to develop? We teamed up with Asbestos Advice Helpline to take a look!
Asbestos is a natural fibrous mineral which has the ability to resist heat and fire, therefore it was widely used throughout the building industry in shipbuilding and construction. Although it is no longer used for building work throughout the UK, it is still present in buildings where it was used before the ban and it is still possible to come into contact with the material.
Asbestos is only harmful and puts you at risk when it is damaged or disturbed, therefore it is essential to have it moved professionally. Once it is damaged it releases fibres into the air, and if these harmful fibres are inhaled they cannot escape and it can lead to Mesothelioma. If you think your home could contain asbestos and it is something which worries you, seeking professional advice is essential, however if it is undamaged it may be safer to leave it where it is in order to avoid disturbance.
If you think you could be at risk of Mesothelioma, it is important you seek advice immediately. It can take many years for Mesothelioma to occur after being exposed to asbestos, however the most common symptoms are breathlessness, pains, coughing and an altered voice. Different types of cancer treatment are available such as surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, however you may also be able to make a claim for asbestos compensation if you feel someone has been responsible for your exposure to the material.