Mesothelioma is a rare yet aggressive form of cancer that predominantly targets the lining of the lungs, abdomen, or heart. The primary trigger for mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos fibers, which can be found in various residential and industrial settings. Currently, there’s no known cure for this fatal illness. Prevention serves as our most effective shield against this disease.
Mesothelioma prevention requires a collective effort from individuals, communities, and organizations to minimize asbestos exposure, creating a safer environment for everyone. By implementing proactive steps, we can significantly lower the risk of succumbing to this life-threatening disease.
Below, we’ll share practical and impactful strategies to prevent the development of mesothelioma.
Recognize The Risks
Before discussing preventive measures, it’s essential to determine the risk factors associated with mesothelioma. These include:
- Prolonged asbestos exposure: This is the most common risk factor. Asbestos fibers are tiny and can be easily inhaled. Once inside the body, they can lodge into the lining of the lungs, potentially resulting in mesothelioma after several years.
- Family history: If a parent, sibling, or child has mesothelioma, the risk of developing the disease increases.
- Radiation: A history of radiation therapy specifically targeting the chest can elevate the risk of mesothelioma.
- SV40 virus: Some studies suggest a possible connection between this virus and mesothelioma, but further research is needed.
The existence of one or more of these risk factors does not mean the development of mesothelioma. Nonetheless, these factors can enhance your chances or potentially lead to the development of mesothelioma, so prevention is essential.
If you’ve developed mesothelioma due to your employer’s negligence or exposure to asbestos-containing products, you may be eligible for compensation. Seeking the assistance of a reputable law firm to determine your eligibility will prove worthwhile. They’ll also guide you on the asbestos trust funds set up by manufacturers responsible for producing asbestos-containing products.
Keep Your Home Safe
Avoiding asbestos exposure is the most effective strategy to prevent mesothelioma. Due to its heat resistance and high insulation properties, asbestos was widely utilized in house construction throughout the late 1970s. Despite its withdrawal, asbestos can still be found in older houses and various industrial properties. Some methods for avoiding asbestos in your house include:
- Leave undisturbed material alone: If you uncover intact and undisturbed asbestos material in your house, it’s advised to leave it alone. When such materials are disturbed, there’s a risk of asbestos spreading in the air.
- Employ a professional for renovations and repairs: If you plan to renovate or repair your house, hire a licensed professional capable of handling asbestos safely, primarily when the home improvement projects require working on the floors, roofing, insulation, and other areas where asbestos could be found.
- Seal off areas during renovation: If any asbestos-related work is being done, seal off the area to limit the spread of asbestos fibers throughout the house.
- Avoid DIY asbestos removal: Asbestos removal should never be a DIY task, even with protective equipment. The risk of exposure is too great without proper training and handling methods.
- Asbestos inspection: If your house was built before 1980, there’s a fair chance it contains asbestos. A licensed specialist should perform an asbestos examination and securely obtain samples for laboratory testing.
Prevention At Work
Safety measures at work are non-negotiable when it concerns mesothelioma prevention, especially if you work in industries like construction, shipbuilding, and mining, where asbestos is often present in high quantity. Regulations are in place to protect you, so it’s advised to understand them inside and out.
The safety measure includes:
- Conduct air monitoring to determine exposure.
- Create specific areas where asbestos work is performed and limit access to only authorized personnel.
- Wear personal protective equipment, such as respirators and protective clothing, to prevent inhalation or ingesting asbestos fibers.
- Display warning signs.
- Avoid eating, drinking, and smoking in asbestos-containing areas.
- Do not use pressured air to remove dust. Use a HEPA vacuum instead.
- Have regular health check-ups.
Prevent Secondary Exposure
Even if your house or workplace does not involve direct encounters with asbestos, there’s still a significant chance of indirect exposure through secondary sources. Secondary asbestos exposure occurs when people who do not work directly with asbestos are exposed to fibers because of sharing a workspace with others who handle asbestos.
Unfortunately, asbestos can be found in various household items and appliances. Ovens, slow cookers, toasters, dishwashers, coffee pots, and bottle warmers are examples of appliances containing asbestos. A viable approach would be to inspect these items before purchasing them. Proactiveness will prove beneficial in preventing the development of mesothelioma.
Regular Health Check-Ups
Given the long latency period of mesothelioma, symptoms may not appear for several years or even decades. Coughing, chest pain, shortness of breath, unusual lumps under the skin on your chest, loss of appetite, and fatigue are common symptoms. Therefore, if you or your loved one is known to have been exposed to asbestos, regular health check-ups become paramount. During these check-ups with a doctor, remember to inform your doctor about your history of potential asbestos exposure. This information will assist the doctor in monitoring your health for any signs of illness.
At present, there’s no standard screening for mesothelioma. However, those at higher risk may be advised to undergo imaging or blood tests regularly. It’s best to approach a healthcare provider to determine the best course of action. These proactive measures are taken not only to aid in early detection but also to impact both the prognosis and treatment plan significantly.
While mesothelioma is a serious and often fatal disease, taking steps to prevent exposure to asbestos and living a healthy lifestyle can drastically reduce your risk. Mesothelioma takes time to develop, but the symptoms may become apparent after a few years of asbestos exposure. Awareness, caution, and early detection are the best strategies for preventing this life-threatening disease. If you or a loved one succumbs to this disease, taking legal action against the negligent party is advised. For this purpose, seek the expertise and guidance of a reputable law firm specializing in mesothelioma lawsuits.