At Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center, you're surrounded by the strength of one of the nation's leading comprehensive cancer centers. Our team of experienced medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pulmonologists, pathologists, thoracic surgeons and highly skilled support staff all work together to support you throughout your cancer journey.
There are several factors that can increase your risk of mesothelioma. However, exactly how these factors lead to cancer is not clear.
The main cause of mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos. Asbestos is a fine, durable fiber that was used in many building materials. When inhaled or swallowed, asbestos fibers can cause inflammation and scarring, damaging cells and causing uncontrolled cell growth.
About 8 out of 10 people that are diagnosed with mesothelioma have been exposed to asbestos. But most people exposed to asbestos, don’t get mesothelioma.
Another cause linked to mesothelioma is radiation treatments given for other cancers as radiation damages the DNA of cells that may lead to rapid cell growth.
Anything that increases your chance of getting mesothelioma cancer is a risk factor. Know your risk factors and talk to your doctor to help reduce your risk.
The following may increase your chance of developing mesothelioma:
If intact, materials containing asbestos generally don’t pose a health risk. If damaged, they may pose a risk as they could release asbestos fibers into the air.
You may be at higher risk for asbestos exposure if you:
There now are safety regulations protecting people who work with asbestos and preventing its spread. By federal law, schools must regularly inspect materials with asbestos.
The best way to prevent mesothelioma is to avoid exposure to asbestos. To minimize your risk, always wear protective gear and follow safety precautions when working with asbestos.
A knowledgeable professional can check your home if you suspect you have asbestos or see any damage that could lead to exposure. If asbestos needs to be removed, hire a qualified contractor – don’t remove materials yourself as you could further contaminate your home.
If you have been exposed to asbestos, watch for symptoms and speak to your doctor.