SALT LAKE CITY — Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that develops in the lungs. It is caused by exposure to asbestos, a mineral fiber the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says was once "added to a variety of products to strengthen them and to provide heat insulation and fire resistance."
While treatments for mesothelioma are improving, it remains a very difficult cancer to treat, and it has no cure.
Who is at risk?The unfortunate fact is short-term and one-time exposures to asbestos are known to cause mesothelioma cancer.
If you've worked in shipyards and auto repair shops, or frequented homes and public buildings built prior to 1977, you may be at risk of developing the cancer.
There are also several products that contain asbestos that you may have not thought of: adhesives, cements, sealers, mill board, automotive materials, paints, plasters, clay, mechanical products (like heating ducts), flooring, packing materials, fire-proofing materials, roofing, rope.
According to Mesothelioma.com, other risk factors that increase the likelihood that a person will develop mesothelioma include exposure to radiation, exposure to zeolite and exposure to SV40.
While smoking does not cause mesothelioma, it does not help the problem.
How mesothelioma developsMesothelioma usually affects the thin protective membrane that surrounds the lungs, heart and abdominal area.