I first became aware of how dangerous asbestos was when I worked in advertising, and one of our clients was dealing with a lawsuit regarding asbestos. Before then, I had not given it a thought. But it's actually important to think about it even now. Asbestos use has not been banned in the U.S.
Who is the most likely to be exposed to asbestos? Well, people who work with it, usually men in construction but also military veterans. I was quite surprised about the latter group. According to the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance, military veterans are at the greatest risk of mesothelioma from asbestos exposure if they were on naval ships, worked in shipyards or lived on military bases. Other places anyone can be exposed? Older homes, schools, factories, and commercial buildings.
Another fact that surprised me: you can be exposed to asbestos in a secondhand way. For example, a plumber's wife can be exposed to the fibers when she washes her husband's work clothes. Secondhand exposure occurs when someone touches clothing or other items that have asbestos fibers on them.
Cancer of any kind is devastating. In the last two years, I've had a friend and a cousin die of pancreatic cancer, and several friends successfully battle breast cancer. I hope I never encounter mesothelioma. It's difficult to treat, aggressive, with a high mortality rate. The best way to fight it is through prevention, i.e. preventing asbestos exposure. It's important to be an informed patient.....