Mesothelioma Attorneys

Causes

Almost all cases of mesothelioma are caused by asbestos exposure. There are a few other possible causes which have been linked to a very small percentage of mesothelioma cases. The amount of asbestos you were exposed to, how long the exposure lasted, the type of asbestos you were exposed to, and the age at which you were exposed all affect your likelihood to develop mesothelioma.

Asbestos

Asbestos fibers are tiny and sharp. When they are inhaled or ingested they can work their way into the mesothelium, which is the lining around your internal organs. Once lodged in the mesothelium they cause irritation and inflammation which eventually leads to cancer.

Inhalation is the most common way for asbestos to get into your body. When you inhale asbestos fibers you will typically cough many of the fiber back out before they get a chance to get lodged in your body. The more fibers you are exposed to, the higher the chance of fibers staying in your body. The more fibers that get lodged in the tissue the more inflammation they cause.

The majority of mesothelioma victims are people who worked around asbestos everyday for a significant amount of time. In most cases symptoms do not develop until 20 to 50 years after asbestos exposure. People who are exposed at a very early age are more likely to develop mesothelioma because they are more likely to live long enough for the cancer to develop.

There have been rare cases of patients who developed and died from mesothelioma within a few short years of exposure, because they were exposed to such a high dose of the toxic substance. This has happened to several of the emergency workers who responded to the 9/11 World Trade Center terrorist attacks.

The shape of the asbestos fibers also makes a difference. There are several types of asbestos and those types fall into two groups. Those in the amphibole group are straight and narrow, and more likely to cause mesothelioma because they get lodged in the body’s tissues more easily. Serpentine asbestos fibers are curled.

Other Possible Causes of Mesothelioma

A small number of mesothelioma cases have been found in people with no known asbestos exposure, and have been linked to other causes:

  • High doses of radiation
  • SV40 virus
  • Zeolites

People who were vaccinated for polio between 1955 and 1963 may have received vaccine that was contaminated with SV40 virus. Zeolites are minerals which are similar to asbestos.