Mesothelioma: Separating Facts from Myths
There are many myths and misconceptions about mesothelioma, the rare cancer often associated with asbestos exposure. Mesothelioma is still considered a rare condition, despite how often it’s talked about in the news. The United States government has restricted the use of asbestos in order to prevent diseases like mesothelioma, but misinformation and misconceptions can still be very dangerous. With that being said, here are some of the more common misconceptions about mesothelioma.
Myth: Mesothelioma is a Lung Cancer
Although mesothelioma appears to affect the lungs most of the time, the cancer doesn’t actually grow in the organs themselves. Mesothelioma affects the mesothelium, the lining surrounding the internal organs. Pleural mesothelioma appears in the lining around the lungs, and accounts for about 75 percent of all mesothelioma diagnoses in the United States. However, mesothelioma can also affect the lining around the heart, stomach, or the testicles.
Unfortunately, the myth about mesothelioma being a lung cancer is a persistent one. Doctors who don’t specialize in asbestos exposure often misdiagnose mesothelioma as lung cancer, which can prevent patients from receiving the proper treatment.
Myth: Mesothelioma is Caused by Smoking
Mesothelioma is not caused by smoking. It is caused from exposure to asbestos. Smoking after you’ve been exposed to asbestos can increase your chances of developing lung cancer, but as we’ve previously discussed, that is not the same thing as mesothelioma.
Myth: Mesothelioma Only Affects Those Who Have Been Heavily Exposed to Asbestos Over a Period of Years
Although you are more likely to develop mesothelioma if you’ve been heavily exposed to asbestos over a period of several years, even a small amount of asbestos exposure may be enough to give you mesothelioma.
Myth: Mesothelioma Only Develops in the Elderly
The average age of a mesothelioma patient is 60 years old, but people of any age can develop this cancer. Doctors are seeing more incidents of mesothelioma in younger people due to secondary asbestos exposure, such as when a factory or construction worker tracks asbestos dust into their homes. This dust can be inhaled or ingested by the spouses or even young children.
The reason why the myth of elderly mesothelioma patients is so persistent is because it often takes years for mesothelioma to develop. Since it takes an average of 20-40 years from someone’s first exposure to asbestos until mesothelioma is diagnosed, the disease is simply more common in individuals over the age of 60.
Myth: Asbestos in Your Home is Always Dangerous and Should Be Removed as Soon as Possible
Asbestos isn’t heavily used in the construction of newer homes, but it can still sometimes be found in older homes. As alarming as this may sound, materials containing asbestos are only dangerous if they are damaged or disturbed. If you have asbestos in your home, never try to remove it by yourself; you could turn a harmless situation into a dangerous one. Contact a professional asbestos removal service to take care of the problem.
Mesothelioma is a very serious condition that cannot be cured. If you believe that you or a loved one has developed mesothelioma from previous asbestos exposure, contact a mesothelioma law firm near you. You may be entitled to mesothelioma compensation that can help pay for your treatments and take care of your family. The attorneys at Goldberg, Persky, & White have over 30 years of experience and can help to get you the money you deserve.