Asbestos is the commercial name given to certain types of fibrous materials. They are silicates of varying compositions; the silica combined with such bases as Magnesium, Iron, Calcium, sodium and Aluminium. Asbestos fibres are usually from 20 to 500 m in length and 0.5 to 50m in diameter. Asbestos bodies appear as golden brown or beaded rods with a translucent centre. The fibres are insoluble. The exposure of asbestos causes fibres to be inhaled and fine dust deposited in the alveoli inside the lungs consequently causing a type of cancer called Mesothelioma (a deadly tumour) involving Mesothelial tissues or usually cells of lungs or stomach and abdominal organs.
Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer of the Pleura (lung cancer) and Peritoneum (abdomen cancer) and it constantly being studied by specialists, like those at Cancer Treatment Mexico (https://www.cancertreatmentmexico.com). Mesothelioma has been shown to have a strong association with the crocidolite variety of asbestos. Pleural mesothelioma, the most common manifestation of asbestos exposure, is well-circumscribed plaques of dense collagen, often containing calcium. Peritoneum Mesothelioma may or may not contain asbestos bodies and rarely do they occur in persons who have no history or evidence of asbestos exposure.
Mesothelioma not only occurs in people who are exposed the asbestos, but also to them who had been living in vicinity to asbestos manufacturing process or those staying in asbestos contaminated buildings. In Great Britain, an association was reported between Mesothelioma and people living within 1 kilometre of an asbestos factory.
The risk of Mesothelioma is reported to be high in those cases where occupational exposure to asbestos is combined with cigarette smoking. Mesothelioma usually does not appear until after 5 to 10 years of exposure. Mesothelioma causes mechanical irritation and in the advanced cases, there may be symptoms of clubbing of fingers, and cardiac distress. The survival time of Mesothelioma patients is generally ranges from 12 months to 2 years of diagnosis and very few survive longer than 2 years.
The following measures can be useful in preventing occurrences of Mesothelioma:
- Use of safer types of asbestos (chrysotile and amosite)
• Substitution of other insulators such as glass fibre, mineral wool, calcium silicate plastic foams
• Rigorous dust control
• Periodic examination of workers such as biological monitoring (clinical, X-ray, lung function)