Mesothelioma has been a pain in the skin of healthcare providers who have battled for decades to find a cure for the cancer. Till date, there has been no drug that has been successfully developed, tested and approved for the treatment of mesothelioma. The ailment is currently fought using a combination of therapy to ease the pain of the patient and prolong their life for a few months.
Asbestos is the leading cause of mesothelioma
Extensive studies carried out over the years have shown that there is a positive association between mesothelioma and asbestos. In other words, exposure to asbestos leads to mesothelioma. This study has been found to be true and hence workers in factories that produce asbestos are warned to protect themselves from inhaling the dust.
Countries that lead in the production of asbestos
Even though asbestos have been identified as the leading cause of mesothelioma, there are countries that still harvest this material in large volumes. Russia is leading on the log with the production of over 1 million metric tons followed by China with four hundred thousand metric tons, and then Brazil ranks third with the production of two hundred and seventy thousand metric tons. Other countries on the list with high amount of asbestos production are Kazakhstan and Canada with two hundred and fourteen thousand metric tons and one hundred thousand metric tons respectively.
Asbestos is a commercial name of hydrated silicate fibrous material
What is termed asbestos is actually a complex fibrous material consisting of silicate and water. There are two types of asbestos. The several types of asbestos are known by different names which include serpentine, Chrysotile, amphibole, amosite, crocidolite, tremolite, anthophyllite and actinolite.
A large number of people were exposed to asbestos in the US
Between 1940 and 1978, it was estimated that a total number of 11 million people were exposed to asbestos in the US. Though not everyone that gets exposed to asbestos automatically come down with mesothelioma but the large number of exposure will increase the likelihood of more mesothelioma patients in the future.
Mesothelioma has a long latency period
When a disease or health problem is latent, it is not easily discovered until the onset of clinical signs and symptoms. This is one of the factors that make mesothelioma deadly. Its correct diagnosis usually comes when the damage has been done. The latency period for mesothelioma is put at between twenty five and fifty years. This is why most of the patients are old people.
The rise in the cases of mesothelioma in the US is connected with early exposure
A lot of asbestos materials were used during the Second World War. From 1970 to 1990, the United States of America witnessed a sharp rise in the number of mesothelioma cases. These cases must have resulted to the exposure to asbestos during the war but it remained latent till that period in time.
There are other potential causes of mesothelioma
Some cancer cases have been linked to genetic factors. A mutation in the cells can cause them to divide unstoppably. A potential cause of cell mutation is radiation to supradiphragmatic fields. Another potential cause is zeolites.
Asbestos is under regulation
Following the discovery of the association between asbestos and mesothelioma, the compound was put under regulation in the 1980s. However, trace amount of the compound can be allowed legally. Developing countries have not put a strong regulation on the compound and it is still used in many developing countries in large amount.
- Asbestos has weak regulation in developing countries.
- The regulation of asbestos in the US started in the 1980s.
- Asbestos is the leading cause of mesothelioma.
- Mesothelioma has a latency period of 25 to 50 years.
- Factors that cause mutation in cells can cause mesothelioma.
- Radiation is a potential cause of mesothelioma.
- Between 1970 and 1990, there was a sharp rise in the number of mesothelioma cases in the US.
- Russia is the leading producer of asbestos.
- There is no cure for mesothelioma yet.
- Asbestos is a complex compound.
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