Malignant mesothelioma is a cancer. It affects the cells in the body by altering their DNA. When the DNA is altered and damaged, it can cause the cells to grow out of control. That’s what leads to cancer.
Asbestos is known as a primary cause of pleural mesothelioma. The patient must have breathed in the fibers of asbestos at some time, causing the fibers to pass into the lungs. They reach the pleura, and from there the fibers cause scarring and inflammation. Over time, this leads to damage being caused to the DNA and eventual uncontrolled cell growth.
What factors influence who gets mesothelioma?
It’s known that not all people who are exposed to asbestos end up getting mesothelioma. There are a series of factors that could increase your risk of the disease. These include things like changes in the BAP1 gene that helps control cell growth. Radiation therapies used to treat other forms of cancer can also lead to mesothelioma in some patients.
For most people who develop pleural mesothelioma, the reality is that there was asbestos exposure at one time or another. This exposure led to cancer, which may spread throughout the pleural tissues.
Can people survive mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is generally considered incurable, but that doesn’t mean that patients can’t have help living comfortably with the condition. Caught early enough, surgical interventions or other treatments may help reduce or eliminate the mesothelioma from the body. Later stages of mesothelioma may not respond to treatments, so services for patients focus on keeping them comfortable and giving them the best possible quality of life.