Mesothelioma Causes & Risk Factors


Mesothelioma is caused by inhalation of asbestos. When microscopic asbestos fibers settle in the pleura (the lining of the lungs), they can cause genetic changes that form cancerous cells. Increased asbestos exposure leads to an increased risk of mesothelioma cancer. Generally, cancer starts when a number of genetic mutations occur in a cell, allowing the cell to grow and multiply without control. It is not clear what causes the first genetic mutations that lead to mesothelioma, although researchers have identified factors that can increase the risk. Cancer is likely to be due to an interaction between various factors, such as inherited disorders, the environment, your health problems, and your lifestyle.

Mesothelioma Causes

Many peoples who have mesothelioma cancer have inhaled or swallowed asbestos fibers (also called asbestos). While the almost everyone has come into contact with asbestos. Those who become ill are those who have been exposed to high levels of stress for extended periods of time. This happens in jobs such as shipbuilding, plumbing, construction and repair of cars (in the brakes is mostly asbestos).

It is also possible to breathe or swallow asbestos fibers at home when the material disintegrates during use, when demolition, construction or maintenance of the house, repairs or alterations take place. The simple fact of living together with someone who works with asbestos. And bring fiber into their clothes, shoes or body home, can be a source to show them.

Asbestos is a natural mineral whose fibers are not visible to the naked eye. The fibers come in two forms: helical serpentine fibers and amphibious fibers that look like needles. It is believed that mesotheliomas are caused by amphibian fibers that enter the tissue. Causes long-lasting irritation that leads to the development of cancer cells. It may take 20 to 30 years to be exposed to asbestos before developing a mesothelioma.


The biggest risk factor is prolonged asbestos exposure. Asbestos is a refractory material. This used to be common on vinyl for ceilings, ceilings and insulation, cement and automotive brakes. Although many asbestos workers have smoked, experts do not believe that smoking itself is a cause of this condition.

This affects men more often than women. The average age of diagnosis is 60 years. Most people seem to develop the disease about 30 years after asbestos exposure. The researchers have discovered several factors that increase a person's risk of developing mesothelioma, but it is still unclear how these factors can cause this type of cancer.

Main risk factor of mesothelioma causes is working with asbestos. The asbestos is a group of minerals with thin microscopic fibers. Because these fibers are heat, fire and chemical resistant and do not conduct electricity. Asbestos has been mined and used in the construction, automotive and other industries.

Asbestos primary cause

If tiny asbestos fibers are released into the air as in the manufacturing process, they can be inhaled or swallowed, which can lead to serious health problems. Up to 75% of mesothelioma cases may be related asbestos exposure at work. There is also evidence that family members and others living with asbestos workers are at increased risk of developing mesothelioma causes. And possibly other asbestos-related diseases. This risk can be the result of asbestos exposure dust brought home on the clothes and hair of asbestos workers. The mesothelioma cases have also been observed in people living near asbestos mines.

Cancer, including mesothelioma, occurs when the cells of the body suffer DNA damage. DNA forms our genes in each of our cells and contains instructions on how cells should work. Some genes have instructions to control when body cells grow and divide into new cells. Changes in these genes can cause cells to get out of control, which can lead to cancer.

The asbestos exposure is the main of mesothelioma cause. After inhaling the fibers they reach the pleura, where they can damage the mesothelioma cells. This leads to inflammation and scarring, which can alter the cells and their DNA, resulting in disturbed and uncontrolled growth of cells. When taken, these fibers can enter the abdominal cavity. Where to play an essential role in the etiology of peritoneal mesothelioma.

Main Risk Factors for Mesothelioma Causes

Asbestos exposure is a mineral that naturally occurs in the environment. Asbestos fibers are durable and heat resistant, which makes them suitable for a variety of applications such as insulation, brakes, tiles, flooring and many other products.

When asbestos exposure decays, z. For example, during removal or when the asbestos insulation is removed, dust may be generated. When this powder is inhaled or swallowed, the asbestos fibers are installed in the lungs or stomach, where they can cause irritation that can lead to mesothelioma. It is not clear exactly how this happens. It may take 20 to 40 years or more for mesothelioma to develop after asbestos exposure.

Most of people will never develop mesothelioma after years of asbestos exposure. But others develop the disease after a very short exposure. This indicates that other factors may or may not play a role in determining whether a person will develop mesothelioma. For example, you might inherit a tendency to cancer, or some other disease could increase your risk.

  • The working in an asbestos mine or asbestos processing plant
  • Working in a high-risk job like construction or heavy industry
  • Use on warships or facilities with asbestos-containing products
  • Living in a residential area near an asbestos mine or a contaminated site
  • Disturbing asbestos products when renovating the house without proper security measures

Risk factor's

Factors that may increase the risk of mesothelioma are:

  • Personal history of asbestos exposure. If you have been asbestos exposure fibers at work or at home, the risk of mesothelioma increases significantly.
  • Live with someone who works with asbestos. People who are asbestos exposure can carry the fibers home in their skin and clothing. Contact with these loose fibers for many years can expose other people at home to a risk of mesothelioma. People working with high levels of asbestos can reduce the risk of taking home asbestos fibers when taking a shower and changing clothes before leaving work.
  • The family history of mesothelioma. If one of your parents, siblings or children has mesothelioma, your risk for the disease may be higher.

Cancer, including mesothelioma, occurs when cells in the body damage their DNA. DNA is the chemical in each of our cells that make up our genes - the instructions on how our cells work. We usually to look like our parents because they are the source of our DNA. But DNA influences more than we look. Some genes control when cells grow in the body, divide into new cells and die at the right time. Changes in these genes can cause cells to get out of control, which can lead to cancer.

The asbestos exposure is the leading cause of pleural mesothelioma. When inhaled asbestos fibers, they reach the ends of small air passages and reach the pleura, where they can cause inflammation and scarring. This can damage the DNA of the cells and lead to changes that lead to uncontrolled cell growth. When these fibers are swallowed, they can reach the abdominal wall where they can trigger the peritoneal mesothelioma.

But most people asbestos exposure do not get mesothelioma cancer, even in large quantities. Other factors, e.g. For example, a person's genes can cause them to develop mesothelioma when exposure to asbestos. For example, researchers have found that some people who seem to be at high risk have changes in BAP1, a gene that normally helps to control cell growth. Other genes are probably important as well.


Mesothelioma is often diagnosed in an advanced stage of cancer.

The doctor asks for the personal and family medical history and performs a physical examination. They are also asked for prior employment if a mesothelioma is suspected to assess possible asbestos exposure.

If mesothelioma is suspected, imaging scans such as an X-ray or computed tomography scan (CT) are used for diagnostic support.

More Potential Mesothelioma Risk Factors

Radiation exposure

Some patients with mesothelioma cancer have the feeling that radiation exposure has caused their mesothelioma. Without asbestos exposure, but this still needs to be confirmed. Some malignant mesothelioma cause patients to claim that they have never been asbestos exposure and instead believe that the cause of their cancer was radiation exposure. While radiation is a potential secondary factor for mesothelioma, there is no substantial evidence for a proven association. The American Cancer Society notes that some reports of mesothelioma causes have been published that developed after a high dose of radiation in the chest or abdomen or after injections of thorium dioxide (Thorotrast), a material used by doctors in chest X-rays in the 1950s.

High aspect ratio nanoparticles (HARNs)

In some cases, an association between HARNs (eg carbon nanoparticles) and mesothelioma has been shown, but without conclusive evidence. The high aspect ratio nanoparticles commonly referred to as HARNs are also associated with mesothelioma causes. HARNs are nanoparticles whose length is a multiple of the width. Particles of this type have been found to be harmful to human health. As with other asbestos-free causes of mesothelioma, there is a lack of evidence and further research is needed.


Zeolites are silicone-based materials that have similar properties to asbestos fibers and also act as potential risk factors for cancer. In particular, erionite has been implicated in mesothelioma, especially in cases in Cappadocia, Turkey where the mineral is naturally occurring. These minerals are chemically related to asbestos. According to the American Cancer Society, one of these related minerals, erionite, is found in soil in some areas of Turkey. It is believed that asbestos exposure erionite is responsible for high mesothelioma rates in these areas.

Simian Virus 40 (SV40)

Research has shown that the SV40 virus does not appear to be a direct cause of malignant mesothelioma, but it may be a factor in some cases of mesothelioma. Some mesothelioma cases indicate a possible association between mesothelioma and simian virus 40 (SV40). Studies have shown that there is a strong correlation between those who have the virus and the development of a mesothelioma, although further research is needed. Some studies on laboratory animals have increased the likelihood that infection with monkey virus 40 (SV40) increases the risk of developing mesothelioma causes, according to the American Cancer Society. Some injectable polio vaccines administered between 1955 and 1963 were contaminated with SV40. In the US, up to 30 million people have been exposed to the virus. To date, the largest studies addressing this problem in humans have found no increased risk of mesothelioma or other cancers in individuals who received the contaminated vaccine as children.

How Does Mesothelioma Develop?

Asbestos is most likely when asbestos-containing materials are disturbed or loosened and asbestos fibers are released into the air. Mesothelioma develops when:

  1. Airborne microscopic asbestos fibers are inhaled or absorbed.
  2. The body tries to remove these fibers, instead they stick in the protective layer surrounding the lungs, stomach or heart.
  3. The trapped fibers irritate the mesothelial cells and cause genetic mutations that develop into tumors over time.
Mesothelioma Causes & Risk Factors

Once inhaled asbestos exposure, it is difficult for the body to remove the sharp fibers. These fibers build up over time in the lungs or abdomen. After many years, these fibers can cause cancerous changes. Cancer begins in mesothelioma cells, which include the protective membranes that cover the lungs, abdomen, and heart. The genetic mutations affect cell division and cause mesothelioma tumors. Mesothelioma cancer can take between 20 and 50 years to show symptoms. The symptoms are often mistaken for a cold or pneumonia with chest pain, difficulty breathing or persistent cough.

Mesothelioma cancer is more commonly diagnosed in men than in women with a 5 to 1 ratio. This is most likely due to the fact that men have traditionally worked in industrial occupations dominated by asbestos exposure. Learn the more about occupational asbestos exposure and how it mesothelioma causes in our free Mesothelioma Guide.

DNA Damage Caused by Asbestos Fibers

Chronic inflammation: Fibers can inflame and irritate mesothelial cells, resulting in irreversible scars, cell damage and cancer.

Cycle disruption: Fibers can invade mesothelioma cells and disrupt their life cycle, leading to genetic changes that lead to mesothelioma cancer.

Cancerous Mutations: Asbestos exposure can cause the formation of free radicals, molecules that damage DNA and mutate healthy cells.

Uncontrolled Growth: Asbestos exposure fibers can trigger the production of oncoproteins that block genes that protect cells from uncontrolled growth and tumorigenesis.

Every healthy cell has genes that regulate growth and protect against cancer. Once asbestos blocks this function, the cells can divide uncontrollably, causing malignant tumors to form locally and possibly metastasize - spread throughout the body and form metastatic tumors.

Possible Mechanisms for Asbestos-Related Tumor Development

Inflamed cells: Fibers ignite and irritate mesothelioma cells, resulting in irreversible scars, cell damage and cancer.

Genetic changes: Fibers penetrate mesothelioma cells and disrupt their life cycle, leading to genetic changes that lead to cancer.

Cancerous Mutations: Asbestos exposure causes the production of free radicals. These are molecules that damage DNA and mutate healthy cells.

Uncontrolled Growth: The fibers trigger the production of oncoproteins that block genes that protect cells from uncontrolled growth and the formation of tumors.

Mesothelioma cancer has a dose-response relationship to asbestos, which means that higher doses of asbestos exposure increase the risk of developing a mesothelioma cancer or other asbestos-related disease.

Is Smoking a Risk Factor for Mesothelioma?

Studies show that smoking is not a risk factor for mesothelioma causes, but those who smoke and are regularly asbestos exposure are more likely to suffer from asbestos-related lung cancer. Some studies show that the combination of smoking and asbestos increases lung cancer risk by about 90 percent.

The researchers also found that smoking can weaken the lungs and reduce the body's ability to dispose of the asbestos fibers trapped inside. Smoking also exacerbates asbestosis. Cigarette the smoke contains numerous carcinogens that can cause cancer. However, a direct link between smoking and mesothelioma cancer is unlikely according to current research. In other words, smoking does not increase your chances of developing a mesothelioma cancer. There is currently no evidence that smoking is directly related to mesothelioma causes. However, many studies have shown that smokers are 50-90% more likely to suffer from asbestos-related lung cancer. Similarly, smokers exposure to asbestos is twice as likely to mesothelioma causes.

This does not mean that smoking is okay. Smoking reduces the overall health of a patient, which is an important prognostic factor. In addition, smoking in combination with exposure to asbestos has significantly increased the likelihood of developing lung cancer. The carcinogens in cigarette smoke and asbestos fibers work together to produce cancerous tumors.

Veterans and Mesothelioma

In the past, veterans were exposed to more asbestos than any other group. Over a third of mesothelioma cancer patients served in the military, mainly in the navy.

Since it was not universally known that asbestos was harmful until the 1970s and 1980s, it has been used in hundreds of military applications - from marine cabin isolation rooms to barracks insulation. Many veterans working as shipbuilders, electricians and steel workers developed mesothelioma during their service due to their occupational exposure.


People who are most affected by mesothelioma cancer are men, over-65s and military veterans. Over 75 percent of people who die of mesothelioma cancer are men. This makes sense since most asbestos exposure occurred in occupations in the construction industry historically dominated by men.

Mesothelioma symptoms usually occur in patients between the ages of 50 and 70 years. However, they can occur in patients as young as 20 years old when exposed at a young age. There are also certain conditions in which cases of mesothelioma occur more frequently.

Differences Between Causes & Risk Factors

A risk factor is anything that increases the likelihood of illness. The causes is a contributing factor that leads to a disease. The duration of asbestos exposure plays a key role. While the World Health Organization says that no asbestos exposure is safe, it usually leads to repeated exposures over many years leading to asbestos-related illnesses.

For example, although men are much more likely to develop mesothelioma than women, gender alone can not cause cancer.

Often several risk factors are involved in the development of a mesothelioma cancer. A study in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that the longer someone works in a job associated with asbestos exposure, the higher the risk of mesothelioma cancer. The link between asbestos exposure and mesothelioma is so strong that it is difficult for researchers to see if other risk factors alone can mesothelioma causes. Although scientists continue to address this issue, asbestos exposure remains the most clearly defined cause.

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos exposure is a naturally occurring mineral found in rocks and other minerals such as vermiculite. There are two major types of asbestos: serpentine and amphibole. Serpentine asbestos is generally less friable than amphibole.

These asbestos categories are further subdivided into subcategories, but they are all tiny thin fibers that make up the mineral. The average human hair is about 1,200 times thicker than an asbestos fiber. In rare cases, patients without a history of asbestos exposure have developed a pleural mesothelioma. Many asbestos pleural mesothelioma cases result from exposure to minerals similar in structure to asbestos, called asbestiform minerals. Winchit and Richterite are two examples of asbestiform minerals that have caused a pleural mesothelioma. Some non-asbestos minerals are associated with mesothelioma, including the zeolite mineral erionite and iron formation called taconite.

Research shows that at least 80 percent of mesothelioma cases are due to asbestos. Other non-mineral causes can be radiation, chemicals, metals and inflammation. Studies on other causes show mixed results, but radiation appears to be the ultimate cause in a handful of mesothelioma cases. Some studies have investigated whether Simian Virus 40 is causative, but the results are inconclusive.

There are different types of asbestos:

Serpentine Asbestos - These wavy white fibers can be expelled from the body and are therefore the least threatening. Serpentine asbestos fibers account for 95% of all asbestos found in construction in the United States (subtypes: chrysotile).

Amphibole Asbestos - The body has much more difficulty removing these fibers because they are rigid and needle-like. They can settle in the body and are the deadliest. (Sub-types: amosite, tremolite, actinolite, anthophyllite and krocidolite).

Cigarettes even contain thousands of chemicals, of which at least several dozen are classified as carcinogens by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. To make cigarettes "healthier", some brands have filters to remove some of these substances, but their effectiveness is controversial.

In fact, filters have shown their own dangers. Studies have shown that at least one cigarette brand - Kent, manufactured by the Lorillard Company - contains up to 25% asbestos. These cigarettes were sold between 1952 and 1956 in the United States, with up to half a million packages sold daily. While Kent is the only known brand that contains asbestos. It is possible that other cigarette brands have also included asbestos at different times.



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Mesothelioma Master: Mesothelioma Causes & Risk Factors
Mesothelioma Causes & Risk Factors
Mesothelioma Causes & Risk Factors. Mesothelioma is caused by inhaling asbestos. It has been proven that mesothelioma cancer is caused by Asbestos Exposure.
Mesothelioma Master
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