Four things you should know about Mesothelioma Risk Factors & Prevention

There is no guarantee that a risk factor for cancer is sure to manifest itself in the form of disease sooner or later. 

It’s a game of chance as it may or may not develop into cancer. No professional can say anything for sure, which is especially true for some of the rarest kinds of cancer, such as mesothelioma. 

Furthermore, when it comes to cancer, the saying prevention is better than cure must be followed down to a T.

A mesothelioma diagnosis can leave you feeling heartbroken, overwhelmed, and devastated. Understanding its risk factors and prevention is of utmost importance to prevent yourself and your loved ones from suffering from such a terrible disease.

Importance of understanding cancer risk and prevention

Cancer risk factors tend to be unique for everyone as there have been cases where the person diagnosed had little to no risk factors for their condition. 

However, knowledge of risk factors and relevant preventions can help control the situation to a certain extent. 

Some risk factors can be controlled or changed, whereas others can hardly be changed. For example, you have control over smoking, and you can change it if you want. 

Similarly, it’s impossible to control certain factors such as age or genetics. Knowing the risk factors and prevention for cancer can increase your odds of survival, as it helps your doctor map out your treatment options.

Mesothelioma diagnosis and its risk factors

The funny thing about a mesothelioma diagnosis is that it’s so rare that many who first get a diagnosis don’t know anything about it. 

However, only 3000 cases are diagnosed every year out of the U.S population, so it’s only fitting that so many patients never knew or heard of mesothelioma at the time of diagnosis.

So what is mesothelioma? It’s a fatal disease with a low survival rate, which develops in the membrane of internal body organs such as the lungs and abdomen. 

Asbestos exposure is the most common culprit linked to the diagnosis. 

If you feel that you can be at risk for this disease for one reason or another, knowing your risk factors and discussing prevention with a healthcare professional can help you make informed decisions about your health.

Things to know about mesothelioma risk factors and prevention

  1. Asbestos is the most common risk factor

The more asbestos a person is exposed to, the greater their chance of getting a mesothelioma diagnosis. 

It is more common in people who have been exposed to this malignancy early in life, for a prolonged period, and to a large degree. 

Asbestos exposure can cause mesothelioma. However, most people exposed to it do not get the disease. 

Asbestos exposure can increase the risk of developing mesothelioma if a person is genetically predisposed to the condition or has previously had radiation therapy.

Mesothelioma caused by asbestos exposure can develop over decades. Typically, it takes anywhere from 20 to 50 years after initial exposure. 

And the likelihood of developing mesothelioma does not diminish over time once the asbestos exposure has ceased. It can cause a life-long risk of mesothelioma.

  1. Maintaining a healthy diet can lower your risk

If your body’s natural defenses are in good shape, you won’t have to worry about cancer, as a robust immune system can protect against cancer cells and their growth. 

According to experts, a balanced nutritious diet can reduce cancer risk from 10 to 20%. However, the correlation between cancer and nutrition depends on the cancer site and gender. 

For example, a study proved the link between a healthy diet and lung cancer risk. So, for instance, if you are at risk for pleural mesothelioma due to inhaling asbestos, then maintaining a healthy diet can positively impact cancer development.

Mesothelioma development can affect your metabolism, causing excessive weight loss and appetite loss in potential patients with asbestos exposure, reinforcing the need for a high-protein and plant-forward diet.

  1. Smoking increases your chances of developing mesothelioma

If you have ever experienced prolonged asbestos exposure and are an avid smoker – your risk of developing mesothelioma is much higher than anyone else with asbestos exposure. 

Studies have shown that smoking can considerably increase the likelihood of getting asbestos-related lung cancer or asbestos-related disease diagnosis. 

However, there is no evidence that smoking, on its own, increases the risk of mesothelioma. Suppose you’ve been exposed to asbestos in the past. 

In that case, you should quit smoking right once and enroll in a smoking cessation program to reduce your chances of mesothelioma or any other asbestos-related condition.

  1. Prevention is the best cure

Avoiding exposure to asbestos is the best approach for preventing mesothelioma development. A trained specialist should always do asbestos testing and removal. 

Furthermore, Asbestos should be a concern for anybody doing remodeling work on a building constructed before the 1980s; asbestos use was widespread in construction at this point.

The following are a few general preventative tips:

  • Wear your protective gear while dealing with materials containing asbestos, as it can help minimize your chances of exposure.
  • Follow Occupational Safety and Health Administration requirements while dealing with any asbestos products.
  • Beware old asbestos insulating items as they can release harmful particles when damaged.

Final thoughts

Factors such as a history of asbestos exposure, prior radiation exposure, age, and gender, increase your chances of developing mesothelioma. 

However, there are things you can do to minimize your risk of mesothelioma, as discussed above. The most important prevention is educating yourself about asbestos. 

You can prevent mesothelioma, but you must know where asbestos may be concealed since it remains in our homes and workplaces built before the 1980s. 

Mesothelioma and other diseases can be prevented by raising public knowledge about the dangers of asbestos exposure.


Elements used to create Featured image Artwork provided by Created by Jill.

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