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OTHER ITA SITES:
How Asbestos Affects Us?
“Asbestos” is the name given to a group of minerals that occur naturally as bundles of fibers which can be separated into thin threads. These fibers are not affected by heat or chemicals and do not conduct electricity. For these reasons, asbestos has been widely used in many industries.
The generic name "asbestos" belongs to a group of minerals called "asbestiform" minerals. Asbestos is a fibrous material which is mined from serpentine rock. Basically, rock was mined and crushed. When the rock was crushed, fibrous stands of asbestos were extracted from the rock. The strands where put in bags and shipped to manufacturing facilities were the asbestos was used as an ingredient in insulation and other materials.
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos. Mesothelioma kills 1,800 people a year - more than cervical cancer - but there is no cure and treatment only relieves the symptoms.
Mesothelioma affects the mesothelial tissue surrounding the lungs. The aggressive cancer develops decades after asbestos exposure.
Earlier detection would mean doctors could treat the patient using chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery.
Thirty-seven people out of 44 with mesothelioma had high SMR levels - an 84% accurate detection rate.
Out of seven people who had been exposed to asbestos who also had increased blood concentrations of SMR, three went on to develop mesothelioma and one lung cancer within five years of the study.
The researchers said their findings indicated SMR could be a useful way to monitor the growth of mesothelial tumours because concentrations were seen to increase during tumour progression.
The number of annual deaths from mesothelioma has been steadily increasing since the early 1960s when a couple of hundred a year died.
Domestic consumption of asbestos amounted to about 719,000 metric tons in 1973, but it had dropped to about 9,000 metric tons by 2002. Asbestos is currently used most frequently in gaskets and in roofing and friction products.
The death rate is expected to keep rising until 2015. By 2050 90,000 people are expected to have died from the cancer.
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