Mesothelioma is a rare and deadly cancer that is caused by asbestos exposure. Unfortunately, many myths and misconceptions about mesothelioma can lead to confusion and misinformation. In this blog, we will dispel some of the most common myths about mesothelioma. By understanding the facts about this cancer, you can arm yourself with the information you need to make informed decisions about your treatment.
1. “Smoking causes mesothelioma.”
No, smoking does not cause mesothelioma; however, smoking can increase a person’s risk of lung cancer if they’ve been exposed to asbestos.
2. “Mesothelioma only affects the lungs.”
Mesothelioma is not lung cancer and can affect the lining of your abdomen, heart, or testicles. As the condition becomes more severe, it can affect other tissue and organs.
3. “Only people who work in construction get mesothelioma.”
Construction workers aren’t the only people who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma. According to research done by The Mesothelioma Center, around 125 million people worldwide are at risk of asbestos exposure. A good portion of exposure has to do with the fact that asbestos is used in buildings and products.
Contracting mesothelioma depends on the frequency and duration of asbestos exposure.
4. “Short-term exposure won’t affect me.”
Short-term exposure happens when people are exposed to asbestos unknowingly through fibers brought into the home on someone’s clothing. While the risks are lower than direct exposure, a person with short-term exposure can still develop mesothelioma.
5. “Mesothelioma is spreadable.”
Mesothelioma is not contagious. Research shows that mesothelioma is only caused by secondhand and long-term exposure. Mesothelioma is not airborne; you cannot infect someone through germs or contact.
6. “An advanced stage of mesothelioma is a death sentence.”
Staging does not determine a person’s life expectancy, as many other factors determine how long a patient can live. There may not be a cure for mesothelioma, but a patient can outlive their survival estimate with treatment. So while staging can provide an estimate, each person’s case is unique, and a doctor can give someone better insight into their life expectancy.
7. “Mesothelioma is the only asbestos exposure-related disease.”
Mesothelioma isn’t the only disease linked to asbestos exposure. Some noncancerous conditions include:
- Pleural plaques
- Pleural thickening
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
Mesothelioma has also been linked to some forms of cancer like lung, ovarian, and laryngeal cancer.
8. “Mesothelioma and asbestosis are the same things.”
Although these two conditions are caused by asbestos exposure, they are not the same. Mesothelioma develops in the linkings of the abdomen, lungs, heart, or testicles. Asbestosis only affects the lungs—it develops by scarring the lung tissue. On top of that, asbestosis is noncancerous and presents itself before other asbestos-related cancers.
9. “Mesothelioma can stay dormant for years.”
The time between a person’s first exposure and the development of mesothelioma can take years. Mesothelioma develops during a latency period when the body endures physical and biological changes caused by exposure to asbestos fibers.
10. “Asbestos no longer exists in the U.S.”
For years, it was used in a variety of industries because of its resistance to heat, electricity, and chemical corrosion. Despite the known health risks associated with asbestos, the mineral is still present in many older homes and buildings in the United States. In fact, asbestos was only banned from being used in new construction projects in 1989. As a result, asbestos exposure is still a serious public health concern in the United States.
11. “There is only one kind of asbestos.”
Despite popular belief, multiple forms of asbestos can cause asbestos-related diseases. The six different types include:
- Chrysotile - This is the most common form of asbestos used for brake linings, boiler seals, and insulation for ducts and pipes.
- Amosite - Also a frequently used form of asbestos, often found in insulation boarding and ceiling tiles.
- Crocidolite - This form of asbestos is usually used in spray-on coatings, plastics, and cement products.
- Anthophyllite - Anthophyllite used to be used in small quantities for construction materials and insulation products.
- Tremolite - Unlike most forms of asbestos, this form is not commercially used but can be found in vermiculite and talc.
12. “It will take me years to receive compensation through legal action.”
While the typical legal process takes several months, patients who have more severe cases of mesothelioma can have their cases expedited. If proven that asbestos caused a person's severe condition through the testament of a doctor, there is a chance the legal process can be sped up.
What We Can Do
If you're considering filing a mesothelioma claim, it's important to speak with an experienced mesothelioma attorney to discuss your legal options. The mesothelioma attorneys at Robins Cloud LLP can help you gather the evidence you need to build a strong case and maximize your chances of getting the compensation you deserve.
Contact us at (800) 691-2363 or fill out a consultation request form to get in touch with one of our mesothelioma attorneys.