Mesothelioma is primarily caused by a long history of high-dose asbestos exposure, which most commonly occurred at industrial jobsites prior to the 1980s. Before the negative health effects of asbestos were widely known, the fibers were frequently used as a form of insulation. Workers in certain blue-collar occupations often handled raw asbestos or asbestos-containing products on a daily basis, placing them at risk for mesothelioma and other related diseases.
The occupations that are associated with the highest risk of mesothelioma include:
- Asbestos miners
- Construction workers
- Factory workers
- Shipbuilders and shipyard workers
- Power plant employees
- Textile mill workers
- Auto repair workers
Is occupational asbestos exposure still an issue?
Today, most industrial jobsites use different kinds of insulation or require that their employees wear adequate protective gear when handling asbestos-containing products. However, individuals who work (or worked) in high-risk occupations should be particularly mindful of their health. Many industrial workplaces offer occupational health programs that can screen workers for the symptoms of mesothelioma, such as difficulty breathing and a chronic cough. At-risk individuals should also let their physicians know about any potential exposures they have experienced and remain watchful for any unusual changes in their health. While many people who experienced occupational asbestos exposure do not develop mesothelioma, it’s still important to take protective steps whenever possible.
Mesothelioma screening, diagnosis and treatment at Moffitt Cancer Center
Moffitt Cancer Center is home to the Mesothelioma Research and Treatment Center, one of the region’s only specialized mesothelioma programs. Our oncologists are here to help patients assess any symptoms that they are experiencing and determine whether diagnostic testing might be appropriate. For individuals who are diagnosed with mesothelioma, our team offers comprehensive treatment that incorporates the latest advances in surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy and targeted therapy.