Mesothelioma is most often associated with asbestos exposure. The majority of patients diagnosed with mesothelioma worked in an industry, like construction or engineering, where they experienced long-term asbestos exposure. In some cases, family members can experience second-hand exposure. However, there are causes of mesothelioma other than asbestos.
Because this type of cancer is so difficult to diagnose, doctor are not always able to determine a direct cause. When this is the case, it can leave a patient and their family overwhelmed and confused. There are, however, factors to look at and other types of exposure to consider. Let’s take a look at mesothelioma not associated with direct asbestos exposure.
Mesothelioma Not Associated with Asbestos Exposure
A number of mesothelioma studies have concluded that asbestos exposure is the number one cause of the cancer. In those studies, however, not every person’s diagnosis could be related back to the naturally occurring fibers. For example, scientists at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York determined that only half of their malignant peritoneal mesothelioma cases can be traced back to asbestos exposure.
In another study published in the Archives of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, doctors found that 20% of patients diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma have no history of asbestos exposure. While scientists are still trying to determine other causes of mesothelioma than asbestos, current suspicions include erionite exposure, polyomavirus SV40, and potential genetic causes.
Erionite is a fibrous, volcanic mineral. The link between exposure and the development of mesothelioma first occurred when there were increased incidences of mesothelioma in Cappadocia, which is located in the central Anatoli region of Turkey. Erionite was found to belong to a group of minerals called zeolites, which are chemically related to asbestos. In the United States, erionite is found in places like North Dakota and other Western states in gravel quarries and road development projects.
Polyoma Virus SV40
The Simian Virus 40 microbe has been studied as a possible contributor to increased mesothelioma risk. It’s important to note that current research on this connection is inconclusive, but researches are actively pursuing this possibility.
SV40 is a DNA polyomavirus that commonly infects Asian macaque monkeys. It’s thought that human exposure to the virus largely occurred after people received contaminated poliovirus vaccines that were prepared from infected monkey kidney tissue culture cell lines.
While there are no direct relationships between the presence of SV40 DNA and protein in mesothelioma, it’s possible SV40 could be a passenger virus in the mesothelial cells.
Potential Genetic Causes
Some scientists believe there are patients who are more genetically susceptible to developing mesothelioma. For example, inherited mutations of certain genes, like the tumor suppressor gene BAP1, may make mesothelioma development more likely. Differences in DNA and genes may explain why some people who experience long-term asbestos exposure never develop the disease. It’s also possible that those with a predisposition to the cancer are at a higher risk of developing it if they experience viral or radiation exposure.
Unexplained Instances of Mesothelioma
There are cases out there where doctors are unable to determine an exact cause of the development of mesothelioma in a patient. This is referred to as idiopathic or spontaneous mesothelioma. Researchers are unsure as to why, but this phenomenon is more likely to occur in pediatric patients.
While it’s possible the patients with unexplained mesothelioma experienced unknown exposure to asbestos or erionite, it’s challenging for doctors to label a cause without complete environmental and genetic breakdowns.
The Need for New Diagnostic Practices
Mesothelioma is challenging to diagnose because of the array of symptoms any one patient can experience. That’s why the condition is often misdiagnosed as bronchitis or pneumonia. This is why it’s so important for physicians to order tests like imaging scans and biopsies.
Because there is new research suggesting mesothelioma can be caused by factors other than asbestos, new diagnostic practices need to be developed. Not only do doctors and scientists need to closely examine the development of mesothelioma in patients who were never exposed to asbestos, considerations should be made regarding those who were heavily exposed to asbestos and never suffered any health side effects or conditions.
Contact Frost Law Firm, PC
If you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma, it’s likely you’re now dealing with extensive, difficult treatments, expensive medical bills, and lost wages from missed days at work. For those who have been exposed to asbestos or different materials known to cause cancer, legal recourse may be available.
At Frost Law Firm, PC, our mesothelioma lawyers are dedicated to helping clients recover compensation and hold negligent parties accountable when wrongful actions resulted in their diagnosis. Because of the nature of mesothelioma and the process to prove negligence, filing a claim is a complicated process. Fortunately, we’ve handled numerous cases for clients and we’re prepared to take yours on next.
If your doctor is unable to link your mesothelioma diagnosis to asbestos exposure, we can look into other possibilities to determine the cause. Figuring out how and why you developed the disease will help us determine if legal action is a possibility for you.
When you work with Frost Law Firm, PC, our attorneys will dedicate themselves to helping you recover the maximum compensation for the losses you’ve incurred as a result of your diagnosis. We understand how challenging a cancer diagnosis can be to cope with physically, emotionally, and financially. That’s why we’ll be with you every step of the legal process.
If you have questions about mesothelioma lawsuits or you’d like to schedule a free consultation, contact our office today. We’ll put you on the path to a financially secure future, so you can focus on your health and family.