Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that primarily affects the mesothelium, which is the protective lining covering the internal organs of the body. The main cause of mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos, a group of naturally occurring minerals made up of microscopic fibers.
When asbestos fibers are released into the air, they can be inhaled or ingested. Once inside the body, these fibers may become lodged in the lining of the lungs, abdomen, or other organs, leading to chronic inflammation and scarring. Over time, this can cause genetic changes and damage to the cells, eventually leading to the development of mesothelioma.
It's important to note that mesothelioma has a long latency period, often taking several decades to manifest after exposure to asbestos. This prolonged latency period can make it difficult to diagnose and treat the disease in its early stages.
Though asbestos exposure is the primary cause, it's important to understand that not everyone exposed to asbestos will develop mesothelioma. Other factors, such as genetic predisposition and individual health conditions, may also play a role in the development of the disease. Additionally, other environmental and occupational factors, like exposure to certain radiation or certain types of minerals, have been linked to mesothelioma but are much rarer causes than asbestos.