Tuesday, July 29, 2008

mesothelioma: a health trek

In 1960s, Wagner published an article about a certain disease that is strongly linked to asbestos exposure.


The mesothelium is a membrane that forms the lining of several body cavities: the pleura (thoracal cavity), peritoneum (abdominal cavity including the mesentery) and pericardium (heart sac). Mesothelial tissue also surrounds the male internal reproductive organs (the tunica vaginalis testis) and covers the internal reproductive organs of women (the tunica serosa uteri). Mesothelium that covers the internal organs is called visceral mesothelium, while the layer that covers the body walls is called the parietal mesothelium.

Mesothelioma defined

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer in which cancer cells are found in the sac lining the chest, the lining of the abdominal cavity or the lining around the heart

is a disease in which cells of the mesothelium become abnormal and divide without control or order. They can invade and damage nearby tissues and organs. Cancer cells can also metastasize (spread) from their original site to other parts of the body. Most cases of mesothelioma begin in the pleura or peritoneum. More than 90% of mesothelioma cases are linked to asbestos exposure.

Asbestos defined

Asbestos refers to a group of minerals that occur naturally as masses of strong, flexible fibers that can be separated into thin threads and woven. Asbestos fibers, including Chrysotile asbestos, are not affected by heat or chemicals, do not conduct electricity, and therefore has been widely used in many industries. However, asbestos fiber masses tend to break easily into a dust composed of tiny particles that can float in the air and stick to clothes. The fibers may be easily inhaled or swallowed and exposure to asbestos has been shown to cause serious health problems including pleural mesothelioma.

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