Mesothelioma is almost always caused by exposure to the insulating material asbestos. Asbestos comes from the greek word for "unquenchable" and was exceedingly popular amongst builders for its strength, absorptive capacity, and resistance to damage caused by electrical and chemical elements. Unfortunately, the long thin crystals which gives asbestos its unique properties are also the culprits of mesothelioma and other disorders as they are easily introduced to the body by inhalation.
Lowering your risk of mesothelioma therefore requires avoidance of unnecessary exposure to asbestos and its derivatives. The good news is that high risk factors for developing mesothelioma are totally within one's control. A single one time exposure to high levels of asbestos and asbestos products is not thought to be very risky as far as developing mesothelioma goes. Instead, the highest risk comes from repeated and long term exposure to the materials, as in situations where asbestos is commonly used or present in the workplace over many months or years. Predictably, smoking cigarettes is thought to greatly increase the risk of developing asbestos related disorders. Workers who are consistently exposed to asbestos are strongly encouraged to wear proper respiratory protective equipment and to refrain from smoking.
Symptoms of mesothelioma or similar asbestos related damage include chest wall pain, shortness of breath due to the accumulation of fluid between the chest wall and lungs, as well as more general complaints such as weight loss. Catching disorders early before they have a chance to progress may positively contribute to the treatment outcome.