Mesothelioma is a cancer that occurs in the mesothelium, a thin membrane encompassing the body’s internal organs and cavities. Mesothelioma is caused by asbestos exposure. Asbestos fibers that are inhaled through the mouth and nose may eventually become embedded in the lining of the lungs, causing harmful inflammation of the pleura and resulting in mesothelioma or asbestosis (scar tissue formation in the lungs). It has also been found that swallowing asbestos fibers could contribute to a form of the malignancy originating in the abdomen known as peritoneal mesothelioma.
This disease mostly occurred to people who works in constructive area, but there are also some contributing factors of mesothelioma.
Those who smoke are at a higher risk of mesothelioma, though smoking is mre sommonly associated with traditional lung carcinomas. Smoking tends to enhance risk even further in those who were also exposed to asbestos.
2. The SV40 Virus
Research has looked into a virus called SV40 (the SV stands for ‘simian virus’). In people who have been exposed to asbestos, some studies have shown that contact with the SV40 virus makes it more likely that they will develop mesothelioma.
Pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma has been known to develop after exposure to radiation from a chemical called thorium dioxide (Thorotrast). This was used until the 1950′s in some X-ray tests. Some studies show an increased risk of mesothelioma in people treated with radiotherapy for a previous cancer. But other studies show no increased risk. If radiotherapy does increase the risk of mesothelioma, this is likely to occur only in a very small number of people.