You can find yourself surrounded by many misconceptions post a cancer diagnosis. The word/disease naturally stimulates a lot of stress. Thus, we tend to believe much of the (mis)information we find without verifying it.
However, matters are much worse when you’re trying to find information about rarer and more dangerous forms of cancer. Mesothelioma is one such cancer about which it can be hard to find authentic information about patients’ prognosis, treatment, and life expectancy. These incorrect assumptions can lead to stress and have disastrous consequences for the patient’s health.
So, keep reading below if you have questions about asbestos exposure and mesothelioma but don’t know where to look. We’ve tried to debunk some of the most common myths regarding this cancer.
Mesothelioma only affects the lungs
One of the most common and dangerous misconceptions regarding mesothelioma is that it only affects the lungs. Suppose you’ve suffered from asbestos exposure in the past, and you believe mesothelioma develops only in the lungs. In that case, you may ignore other symptoms and locations where cancer might be present. Although pleural mesothelioma is the most common category, asbestos-related cancer can develop in other organs depending on how it enters your body.
It is best to learn more about the types and take necessary precautions if you feel you’re at risk. Learning more about the other types of mesothelioma can help you have a better idea of what to expect. It can help you spot the signs before it’s too late. Other forms of mesothelioma include peritoneal mesothelioma, which develops in the abdominal lining. Pericardial mesothelioma is yet another type that develops in the lining around the heart.
Only older men develop mesothelioma
Asbestos exposure can affect both men and women equally. However, circumstances may increase the chances of a particular gender. Older men have a higher chance because they may have been employed in jobs where the risk of asbestos exposure was high. Men form a higher percentage of workers in industrial employment, construction, the army, the automobile industry, and more.
However, there are gender differences in the mesothelioma men and women develop. Men are five times likelier to develop pleural mesothelioma. In contrast, whereas women have a higher chance of developing peritoneal mesothelioma. Furthermore, women have a higher chance of survival from mesothelioma.
You need to remove asbestos ASAP if you find any
Asbestos exposure is indeed the leading cause of mesothelioma. It’s also true you can find the cancerous silicate mineral in many households. You can find asbestos in vinyl tiles, steam pipes, furnaces, insulation material, door gaskets, paint, and other areas. Also, you need to be careful of asbestos exposure if you live in an older home. But you may not have to take drastic measures yourself. After all, you can’t just abandon your home overnight, can you?
So, if you feel you have asbestos anywhere in the home, it can be tempting to try to take it out on your own. However, doing so can make the situation much more dangerous for you and those around you. In an attempt to remove the material, you might dislodge the fibers and cause them to spread even more. So, it’s always better to let a professional handle the situation instead of removing asbestos yourself. Until the area is clear, you can move to a secure location while the professionals work.
Mesothelioma is contagious
Another common myth about mesothelioma is that it can be contagious. However, there is only one known cause of mesothelioma, and that is asbestos exposure. Like other forms of cancer, mesothelioma isn’t contagious at all.
Many believe it to be contagious because people in the same environment can develop it. The infected person can often cause secondary asbestos exposure to others around them by carrying asbestos fibers home on their clothes. So, while mesothelioma isn’t contagious, asbestos is. If someone close to you has been diagnosed, getting screened yourself is a smart choice.
The dangers of asbestos are exaggerated
Many people often mistakenly believe the medical and legal community exaggerates the dangers of asbestos exposure. What can lend credence to this belief is that industries that commonly use asbestos may try to downplay the risks.
However, the dangers of asbestos exposure have been documented through the years. They are firmly backed by science and medicine. Only people who have experienced prolonged exposure are likely to develop cancer. Furthermore, there are various other respiratory diseases that you can develop through asbestos exposure. But these may not be as lethal as mesothelioma.
Given all the hysteria surrounding mesothelioma and asbestos, it’s likely you’ll encounter a lot of misinformation on the internet. However, this guide serves as a starting point to clear up your misconceptions. When you know how to spot the signs of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases, you can better protect your and your family’s health. If you work in a high-risk environment, consult your workplace safety team. Also, get regular checkups to spot any warning signs early on.