The idea of mesothelioma sounds scary, and a lot of people hear and fear the term, but they don’t know what the disease really is or how a person gets it. If you have never been exposed to asbestos, you should certainly stop worrying about contracting mesothelioma, because the disease is linked to asbestos exposure. For people who have been exposed to asbestos at some point in their lives (and that includes spouses and children of asbestos workers) the danger is real but not everyone will get sick. Some people who have been exposed to asbestos in the past will develop mesothelioma, though, which is a cancer that is seen most often in the lungs.
The asbestos fibers are inhaled and they remain within the lungs, burrowing into the tissue and eventually causing tumors to form. These tumors grow rapidly and the disease is usually far advanced by the time that symptoms such as chest pain and shortness of breath develop. People with mesothelioma can also be nauseated and lose weight. Mesothelioma is not confined to the lungs, either, and can appear in the intestinal cavity or in the lining around the heart. Surgery, chemotherapy, and brachytherapy are the common treatments that are used for mesothelioma, but newer options like gene therapy are also showing promise. People who have been diagnosed will want to explore all of their options.