asbestos, breast cancer & mesothelioma
Posted by Jonathan Chamberlain on December 1, 2010
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Asbestos Exposure and Potential Link to Breast Cancer
A naturally occurring mineral that has been used for thousands of years, asbestos is composed of pliable and durable fibers that exhibit heat and fire-resistant qualities. Playing a major role in a number of industries, asbestos was most commonly used for insulation purposes in residential and commercial buildings, and was widely used in home construction materials such as floor and ceiling tiles, adhesives, cements, siding, roofing, pipeline wrap and shingles.
Asbestos, Mesothelioma and Breast Cancer
Exposure to this toxic mineral can lead to a range of diseases, such as asbestosis, lung cancer and malignant mesothelioma cancer. Mesothelioma is the most common cancer caused by asbestos exposure. The cancer develops in the mesothelium, a protective membrane that lines body cavities, including the thoracic cavity (pleura), abdominal cavity (peritoneum) and the heart sac (pericardium). Approximately 2,000 to 3,000 Americans are diagnosed with the cancer annually and mesothelioma clinical trials are currently searching for a cure.
Though the causal relationship between mesothelioma and asbestos exposure has long been established, researchers are still investigating a potential connection between asbestos and breast cancer. One such study, titled “Prevalence of Asbestos Bodies in a Necropsy Series in East London,” sought to research the amount of asbestos bodies (fibers) present in exposed workers and document their disease manifestations. Of the 178 women studied, the researchers noted an increased amount of asbestos bodies in women with breast cancer, suggesting increased amounts of asbestos in the body could be related to the development of breast cancer.
The only way to avoid the development of such diseases is to avoid exposure to asbestos at all costs. Knowing where asbestos exposure can occur and how to protect yourself from the toxic fibers is essential in preventing asbestos-related disease. If you suspect your home is contaminated with asbestos, you are advised to contact a licensed asbestos abatement contractor for a safe and detailed inspection.