Asbestos is a heat-resistant mineral common in manufacturing that’s been linked to cases of mesothelioma, which is a cancer of the protective linings of the lungs and heart.
Fort Worth, TX (WiredPRNews.com)—Asbestos is a naturally-occurring mineral that is highly resistant to friction, acid and heat and is almost indestructible.
Light and durable, the fire-resistant mineral has been commonly used for residential home insulation, brake pad linings, paints, adhesives, roofing materials and other products.
According to a September 16, 2008 article that appeared on the website Transworldnews.com, asbestos is invisible to the unaided eye but appears as long, sliver-shaped fibers when placed under microscopic magnification. However, when asbestos is released into the air and it’s inhaled or ingested, malignant mesothelioma can result decades later.
Mesothelioma is a cancer that attacks the protective lining organs in the chest cavity. Pleural mesothelioma, the most common form of the disease, attacks the lungs. Often times patients complain of a constant chest pain and difficulty breathing.
Peritoneal mesothelioma affects the abdominal lining and is much less common. The rarest form of the cancerous disease is pericardial mesothelioma, which afflicts the lining of the heart.
Most cases are diagnosed in patients who have worked in industries where asbestos is commonly used and it usually stays latent in the body for 15 to 20 years, according to the Transworldnews.com article.
According to the article, an English physician made the first diagnosis of mesothelioma in 1906. Today, up to 3,000 new cases are diagnosed each year and up to 4,000 people die annually because of mesothelioma-related cancers, according to the transworld.com article.
National Meso Awareness Day is September 26.