Mesothelioma is a type of cancer which is rather rare and is caused by some malignant cells that are found in the body’s protective layer known as mesolithelium. The mesolithelium covers many of the body organs which are internally placed and it is made up of two layers of cells. The inner layer is in direct contact with the organ which it covers, while the other layer forms a sac-like covering outside the organ. In between the two layers of cells is a lubricating substance which allows for movement of the organ without friction. For example, the substance allows for the beating of the heart and the expansion and contraction of the lungs.
The mesolithelium acquires a different name depending on the organ it covers. For example, the covering for most of the organs that are located in the abdominal cavity is known as peritoneum and pleura for the organs that are located within the chest cavity like the lungs. The covering layer or the mesothelium of the heart is known as pericardium. Mesothelioma occurs as a result of attack of the mesothelium by unwanted and cancerous particles like asbestos. Once the particles have attached themselves on the covering, the mesothelium becomes abnormal and the cells start dividing uncontrollably. If the condition is not detected well in advance, chances are that neighboring organs will be affected as well.
Mesothelioma lung cancer can begin from the lungs, or it can spread from other organs and affect the lungs. The condition is relatively rare, but where it has been reported, it has been among people who work in factories that come into contact with asbestos, mostly in the USA. This does not mean that the only people at risk are those working with asbestos. It could affect anyone, anywhere. It has also been reported that it is more common among men than among women. As a person grows older, the risk factor of contracting mesothelioma lung cancer increases as well. However, it can affect you at any age.
The risk of acquiring mesothelioma lung cancer is aggravated if one works in an environment that has asbestos and also smokes. Asbestos are minerals that are manufactured for use in a number of industries for various purposes. They occur as strong but flexible fibers that can be separated into small threads. The resulting products are used in the manufacture of cement, brake linings, textiles and insulation products. During the manufacturing process, it is very easy to inhale the small particles. The risk is compounded in smokers because the lining of the lungs is already tampered with by smoke particles. As such, it is easy for the asbestos to find their way into the lungs hence causing the cancer.