Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that affects the mesothelium, or the lining that surrounds most of our internal organs. It is almost exclusively caused by exposure to asbestos, a naturally occurring fibrous mineral that was once used in everything from building insulation and textiles to hot water pipes and brake pads. Asbestos has not been widely used in the United States for several decades, but previous exposure is still being linked to newly diagnosed cases of mesothelioma.
Asbestos was widely used in various industries for its resistance to heat, corrosion, and electricity as well as its overall toughness. It’s harmless most of the time, but it can shed microscopic fibers when it is disturbed. These fibers can be inhaled and ingested where they remain in the body for years, creating scar tissue in the mesothelium that turns into cancer.
Mesothelioma can take different forms depending …