Tuesday, December 28, 2010

How Do You Get Malignant Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is caused by asbestos exposure. Asbestos, once regarded as a miracle mineral, was popular due its lightweight but tough characteristics as well as for its heat-resistant properties. This naturally occurring mineral was used in many commercial and consumer products, from construction materials such as cement, roofing shingles and insulation, to consumer and industrial applications such as hair dryers, automobile brake pads and pipe insulation.

Most people with malignant mesothelioma worked on jobs where they breathed asbestos. Others were exposed to asbestos in a household environment, often without knowing it.

How much exposure does it take to get the disease? What is the latency period? Very little exposure can result in mesothelioma. Sometimes people who worked with asbestos for as little as one or two months get mesothelioma. The "latency period" refers to the time between asbestos exposure and diagnosis of the disease. For mesothelioma, the latency period can be decades long, and people exposed in the 1940s, 50s, 60s, and 70s are now being diagnosed.

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