Asbestos and Pleural
Asbestos is categorized into six naturally
occurring silicate minerals. Throughout much of the 20th
century, asbestos was used in more than 3,000 construction
materials because of its insulating and fireproofing
capabilities. Unfortunately, exposure to asbestos is known to
cause a rare cancer called
mesothelioma. In most cases, asbestos exposure occurs by
inhaling airborne asbestos fibers after asbestos-contaminated
materials have been disturbed. Check
www.fightmesothelioma.com for more information if you're
exposed to asbestos.
Types of Asbestos
The six different
types of asbestos are divided into two distinct groups –
serpentine and amphibole. Serpentine asbestos has curly fibers
and a layered structure. Chrysotile asbestos is the only type
under this category. Amphibole asbestos has a long chain-like
structure with straight, sharp fibers that are easy to inhale.
Under the amphibole category, there are five types of asbestos,
including amosite, crocidolite, anthophyllite, tremolite and
Pleural mesothelioma is almost exclusively caused
by asbestos exposure. Because asbestos was such a widely used
mineral for most of the 1900s, many commercial workers
encountered it on a daily basis and transported fibers home on
their clothing, placing their families at risk as well. Most
current mesothelioma patients can link their condition to
occupational asbestos exposure.
While asbestos is a toxic mineral, symptoms of
mesothelioma may not arise until 20 to 50 years after exposure.
This latency period is largely responsible for most cases being
diagnosed during a late stage of development. The average
mesothelioma life span ranges between four and 18 months
following diagnosis. Although there is not a definitive cure
available, some patients may elect to receive palliative
treatments to ease pain and discomfort.