Mesothelioma is a rare but aggressive type of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, which is a natural mineral widely used for about 100 years in construction and other industries. During the 20th century, it was proven toxic, since interaction with other materials makes asbestos fibers release into the air. These fibers can be swallowed or inhaled and become trapped in the body. Because the body is unable to properly expel the fibers, they stay housed in the mesothelium and irritate the mesothelial cells, causing the formation of tumors.
Due to the toxicity of asbestos, the material was prohibited in some countries and limited in others, including the USA. However, millions of workers had already been exposed to it and 2,000-3,000 people continued to be exposed every year in the USA alone, according to the National Institutes of Health. It takes 20 to 50 years for patients to experience symptoms of the disease and some people believe that mesothelioma cannot be prevented. However, there are methods that can help avoid severe asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma.