The Problems of Asbestos Cancer

The Problems of Asbestos Cancer

The mining of asbestos was stopped in many countries of the world, such as the USA, the UK, etc. This measure was aimed to stop the asbestos-related health problems that began to affect people who accidentally or constantly contacted with this mineral. However, it is still mined and used in many countries, such as Russia, China, Kazakhstan and Brazil. In Canada the asbestos mining was stopped in 2012.

First people began to notice the negative effect on asbestos in the first century: slaves working with asbestos got ill too often compared with other spheres. At the beginning of XX century scientists began to record big number of deaths and lung diseases in the towns with asbestos mines. People at young age experienced sever lung problems that were not typical for their age. And the problem of asbestos exposure started to be investigated. In 70s – 80s years of the last century the mining of asbestos was seriously limited, and many countries completely refused from it. The main reason is huge number of asbestos-related lung problems and the fact that the influence of this mineral to health was still not learned well.

The strongest negative consequence of asbestos is a cancer caused by changes in pleural tissue by asbestos fibers. It is called mesothelioma. This asbestos cancer affects not only lungs. Sometimes it develops in abdomen or in pericard. There are cases where relation between mesothelioma and asbestos is not detected. But the number of such cases is too small compared with asbestos-related ones. The major problems of this disease include:

  • long latent period
  • problematic diagnostics
  • obstinacy and small survival rate
  • the lack of knowledge about asbestos influence on the human body

Long latent period means that it takes decades for the asbestos cancer to reveal itself with some symptoms. Usually between the first dose of asbestos inhaled by a patient and first mesothelioma symptoms 20-50 years pass. Very often patients lose details about the place where they were exposed to asbestos and the fact of asbestos exposure itself. There is no way to prevent the development of mesothelioma by some preventive treatment, if the patient got the dosage. It is even unknown clearly what exactly the dosage of asbestos should come into the organism to cause such serious damage. Scientists paid much attention to this problem, as well as to searching the new methods of mesothelioma treatment, but there are no possible ways to define the safe and dangerous doses of asbestos. While in some countries this mineral is still mined and widely used in different industries, people continue contacting with it and are exposed to asbestos cancer risk.

A problem in diagnostics is caused by unclear picture of symptoms on the later stages of mesothelioma and the absence of symptoms on early stage. The disease signals about the growth of tumor and affecting other organs, preventing their normal functioning. Having no symptoms makes it impossible to detect and cure cancer on early phase. Moreover, the symptoms of later phases look like hundred of other diseases that also cause problem in diagnosing mesothelioma.

The problem of pure symptomatic and big latent period causes one more negative side of the disease – low survival rate. Only 40% of patients live with mesothelioma longer than one year, and only 20% live up to 2 years mark. The asbestos cancer hardly responds to chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgical methods, and only the complex of all possible measures may help to recover.

Nevertheless, modern medicine researches new treatment methods, deeps knowledge about asbestos influence on health and progress in its elimination.

Leave a Reply