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How Did I Get Mesothelioma?

If you have been diagnosed with this rare cancer, you may ask yourself, “How did I get mesothelioma?” The pathogenesis of mesothelioma is one that is not fully understood, even to this day. Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that affects the mesothelial cells within the body. It attacks the lining of the lungs, the lining of the heart, the abdomen, or the testicles. The median age that someone is diagnosed with mesothelioma is 75 years old and the cancer is caused due to exposure to asbestos.

Andrew Balcer, Esq.


Most people diagnosed with mesothelioma report occupational exposure to asbestos, however only about 10 percent of people who have been occupationally exposed will end up receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis. This highlights the rarity of the disease. Cigarette smoking does not increase the risk of mesothelioma, although it can increase the risk of other asbestos-related diseases, such as lung cancer.


In the 20th century, asbestos was mined in mass as it was used for its fire-resistant capabilities. Those who would have been exposed to asbestos the most would be construction workers, auto mechanics, and those who were in the Navy, although this is not an exhaustive list. Although the use of asbestos was outlawed in many countries, due to its long latency period, cases are still being diagnosed annually.


Sometimes, it is difficult to determine the pathogenesis of mesothelioma as exposure occurs long before diagnosis. This makes the question of “How did I get mesothelioma?” a common one that many people may ask themselves. It can take 30-40 years for symptoms to occur and this may make it hard for a mesothelioma victim to recall when, where, and how they were exposed to asbestos.


Asbestos fibers are classified into two types: amphiboles and crocidolite. Amphibole fibers are long and straight while crocidolite fibers are curvy.


How Did I Get Mesothelioma? – Pathogenesis


When asbestos fibers are inhaled, they may reach the pleura (the lining of the lung) via a variety of paths. They may get to the pleura through the alveoli or through retrograde flow. This is followed by inflammation.


When a person has mesothelioma, the mesothelial cells divide instead of die. In all, breathing in asbestos causes several things to happen within the body. First, when asbestos fibers are inhaled, they can cause irritation and inflammation as well as tissue damage. Additionally, when asbestos fibers interact with mesothelial cells, they can cause chromosomal abnormalities. A pro-tumor microenvironment is then created. Macrophages (a type of white blood cell that surrounds and kills microorganisms, removes dead cells, and stimulates the action of other immune system cells) are unable to digest asbestos fibers leading to DNA damage. Asbestos also causes mesothelial cell death, which leads to high mobility group box 1 to to be released, causing even further inflammation. Lastly, abnormal cellular proliferation occurs.


Who is at Risk?


If you worked in construction, as a mechanic, in shipbuilding, as a plumber, in a steel mill or in a trade in which there was a lot of heat that you had to be protected from or used insulation materials, there is a good chance that you were exposed to asbestos. Asbestos was used as an insulation material in many pipes in ships and in boiler rooms. It was also heavily used in the steel making process. Also, the material was used in car parts, such as brakes and clutches. If you have repaired or replaced brakes and clutches as a trade or a hobby, you have most likely been exposed to asbestos.


At The Halpern Law Firm, we specialize in mesothelioma cases in Pennsylvania. We know the job sites in Pennsylvania that have exposed workers to asbestos as well as the different companies or brands that you may have used that exposed you to asbestos. We will track down your exposure and be sure to get you fully compensated. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, such as mesothelioma, and have worked or currently live in Pennsylvania, please contact The Halpern Law Firm at (800) 505-6000 or simply fill out the form. We will tell you if you have a viable claim. We help mesothelioma victims in Pennsylvania get the compensation they deserve.




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