Friday Facts: Things Everyone Should Know About Mesothelioma
According to the American Cancer Society, cancer is an umbrella term used to describe a collection of diseases which are identified by the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells. Although 87% of U.S. cancer diagnoses are in individuals 50 years of age or older, there are certain lifestyle factors that are known to increase the risk of diagnosis. Smoking, poor diet or lack of physical activity are all accepted as behaviors that increase one’s risk of cancer. In the United States, women are slightly more likely to develop cancer, as compared to their male counterparts.
What is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer which develops from the lining of internal organs such as the heart, lungs, and abdomen. In the United States alone, over 2,400 individuals have diagnosed with mesothelioma annually. The most common development of mesothelioma is pleural mesothelioma, which affects the lungs.
Those who have been exposed to asbestos are most at risk for mesothelioma. Presently, this is the only known risk for this type of cancer. In a 2012 study, more than 80% of examined mesothelioma cases were caused by asbestos exposure. Greater asbestos exposure has been linked to a greater risk.
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a group of naturally occurring silicate minerals. They are fibrous, although asbestos fibers are microscopic. Undisturbed, the fibers cause no harm to humans. Fibers can become airborne when disturbed, causing inhalation. The fibers then cling to organs, causing inflammation, mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis.
Who is at Risk?
At the end of the 19th century, asbestos became a popular material for building. Although the mineral had been mined for thousands of years, this was the beginning of large-scale mining, which lasted until the 1980’s and 1990’s when it was heavily regulated or banned worldwide.
Most workers at risk for asbestos exposure are iron-workers, blacksmiths, machinists, toolmakers, oil refinery workers, millwrights, painters and other trades that come in contact with building materials. Also at risk are U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard veterans, who often face asbestos in nature. Thirty percent of mesothelioma diagnosed in the United States are given to military veterans.
Signs & Symptoms
Chest pain, abdominal swelling, chronic cough, fatigue, dysphagia, weight loss and pleural effusions are all early signs of mesothelioma. Those exposed to asbestos can live without symptoms for 50 years, on the high end of the spectrum. Because mesothelioma is often misdiagnosed as the flu or pneumonia, most patients only live for 12 to 21 months after diagnosis.
There is no cure for mesothelioma. The best way to avoid mesothelioma is to avoid asbestos exposure. Homes built before 1980 should be inspected for traces of asbestos which could be potentially harmful. The survival rate for stage 1 mesothelioma is 87% but only 29% by the time it has reached stage 4. If you think you may have been exposed to asbestos, Benzer Pharmacy urges you to speak with one of our trained professionals at your local pharmacy today.
Select Benzer Pharmacies have cancer screenings, which are subject to qualified candidates only. The locations are:
Benzer Pharmacy: 5431 North State Road. Tamarac, FL 33319 – Phone #: (954) 485-4949
Benzer Pharmacy: 1960 North Federal Highway. Pompano Beach, FL 33062 – Phone #: (954) 785-7644
Benzer Pharmacy: 60 Northeast 1st Street. Pompano Beach, FL 33060 – Phone #: (954) 782-6685
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