Asbestos Exposure and Mesothelioma

Apr 17, 2015 by

Lung cancer and mesothelioma are the most common diseases due to overexposure to asbestos, and although these diseases are serious and life-threatening, there are other diseases that are benign or just are severe and lethal to those who are exposed to asbestos. Fortunately, people nowadays are more aware and informed of the dangers of long-term exposure to asbestos, and medical treatments of today have made many of these asbestos-related diseases easier to cope with and treat. Nevertheless, it is still important to have early diagnosis of these diseases to ensure a higher rate of survival.

Ovarian Cancer

Many documented case of women developing ovarian cancer are those who have husbands of fathers who have been exposed to asbestos. Ovarian cancer comprises only 3 percent of cancer diagnoses in women, but it is the leading cause of death compared to any other form of reproductive cancer. Despite debates on how exactly the asbestos fibers reaches the ovaries, researchers believe they pass through the lymphatic system or via asbestos-tainted talc powders.


A progressive pulmonary disease, asbestosis develops when asbestos accumulates inside the lungs and causes formation of scar tissue. This in turn obstructs lung function and health. Because of impaired breathing and the lungs restriction in supplying vital oxygen in the blood stream, many victims require oxygen tanks and pain medications. These help in minimizing the symptoms, but the progression of the condition does not have a cure.

Benign Pleural Disease

The pleura, which is the lining inside the lungs, has two layers: the inner layer lining the lungs and the outer layer lining the ribs. When asbestos accumulated in these layers, they cause inflammation, causing both layers to rub against each other and lead to pleuritis. Pleural plaques develop when scar tissues accumulate along the lungs’ lining, and can harder and become calcified, requiring medication. When asbestos causes inflammation, blood vessels can weaken and leak fluid. This can lead to pleural effusion, which often usher the thickening of the pleura, called diffuse pleural thickening.

There are many other types of benign and serious diseases that long-term asbestos exposure can cause. The majority of the victims of these asbestos-related diseases are often the ones who are directly working with them. Studies have shown that even those who rarely work with asbestos directly can suffer from asbestos-related complications. According to recent findings published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, despite the dramatic decline of asbestos-containing building materials in the US, even indirect exposure still remains a serious health threat to just about anyone.

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