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Guest Blogger Contribution from the Mesothelioma Center

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Cancer Research 101: Guest Blogger Contribution from the Mesothelioma Center

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Guest Blogger Contribution from the Mesothelioma Center

I am delighted to welcome the following guest contribution in order to help spread awareness of mesothelioma, a very serious disease caused by exposure to asbestos.


The Author, Mr. Jensen Whitmer, has been writing for the Mesothelioma Center for more than three years and he has an interest in spreading awareness about the hazardous effects of asbestos exposure.

Mr. Whitmer and the Mesothelioma Center have prepared the article below; any any comments or questions should therefore be directed to them.
  

Findings on the Causes of Mesothelioma


Research for mesothelioma is a never-ending process because doctors haven’t found a cure for this rare cancer. Although it is clear that nearly all mesothelioma cases are caused by asbestos exposure, there is still some debate as to how asbestos actually triggers mesothelioma development. 


Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that has been utilized in thousands of products for its ability to insulate and fireproof materials. While there are no immediate side effects from asbestos exposure, serious conditions like mesothelioma can develop as much as 50 years after someone’s initial exposure occurred.
In March 2009, the International Agency for Research on Cancer reconfirmed that all forms of asbestos cause mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma is a cancer that is made up of four types, including pleural, peritoneal, pericardial and testicular mesothelioma. Pleural mesothelioma makes up about 75 percent of cases and develops in the lining of the lungs. Peritoneal mesothelioma accounts for about 20 percent of cases and arises in the lining of the abdominal cavity. Very few cases of pericardial (heart) and testicular mesothelioma have been reported. 
How Does Asbestos Cause Mesothelioma?
Exposure to asbestos can occur by either inhaling or ingesting microscopic asbestos fibers. Inhaling asbestos is the most common source of exposure, which is why there are more cases of pleural mesothelioma than any other type.

Once asbestos fibers are inhaled or ingested, the body has difficulty expelling them because they are typically jagged in structure. In many cases, the fibers become lodged in the lining of the lungs or abdomen and remain there for many years.

Over time, the irritation caused by these fibers creates enough damage to encourage cancerous development. There are several theories for how mesothelioma actually develops:

  • Asbestos causes mesothelial cells to become irritated and inflamed, which leads to irreversible scarring, cellular damage and cancer.
  • Asbestos fibers enter mesothelial cells and disrupt the natural functions of cellular division, resulting in genetic changes that lead to cancer.
  • Asbestos causes the production of free radicals, which are molecules that damage DNA and cause healthy cells to undergo cancerous mutations.
  • Asbestos can trigger cellular production of oncoproteins, which cause mesothelial cells to ignore normal cell division restraints and become cancerous.

All of these theories state asbestos causes cellular damage and disrupts the natural cell cycle, but such changes take many years before tumor formation occurs. Symptoms of mesothelioma typically become apparent once mesothelioma is fully developed and in a later stage of progression, at which time treatment options become limited.



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