Asbestos And Mesothelioma Linked To DNA Damage Asbestos exposure is the predominant and single most important factor attributed to the development of mesothelioma. Other conditions, such as asbestos and lung cancer are also attributed to the material. Though mesothelioma is a rare disease, individuals who have had sustained asbestos exposure at any time in the past are at high risk of developing the cancer. Currently, the cancer is incurable and originates in the thin membrane of tissue that envelops the body's internal organs. Now known to be a dangerous carcinogen, asbestos is the only known cause of this type of cancer. Before government and health officials determined its dangerous potential for causing cancer, many workers and other individuals were exposed to the material without any protective gear. Breathing asbestos dust allows for the small particles to be deposited in and around the lungs, oftentimes staying in an individual's abdominal cavities indefinitely. Once in the body, the particles interact with body tissue, damaging the healthy cells. Researchers now believe that the asbestos then causes damage to cellular DNA, causing the problems which lead to cancer. Other common substances a person is exposed to regularly that cause DNA damage include sun exposure, vehicle exhaust and cigarette smoke. Our bodies are programmed to constantly repair these cells, but, there is only so much we can naturally handle. Once particular cells of the body experience too much damage, their ability to repair themselves either diminishes, or disappears. A lifetime of exposure to different damaging agents is one of the main reasons Scientists attribute higher levels of cancer to older citizens. There are two different types of mesothelioma. One is malignant, the other is metastasizing. Malignant tumors usually occur first, since they are the stationary form. Cancer first appears after the cells have been continually exposed to the asbestos dust that has accumulated in the body, and remains there. Each person's cells have different capacities to protect themselves, which is why the disease can occur at any age. Most people who develop mesothelioma are above the age of 65. If caught early enough, the prognosis for a longer life expectancy is increased greatly. If malignant tumors are not caught at an early stage, it is possible for them to metastasize. This means that the cancerous cells begin spreading throughout the body. Previous cases have shown that almost all organs of the body can be affected when this stage is reached. Treatments for this type of cancer can include radiation, chemotherapy and surgery, or all three. The age and overall health of the patient is the main determining factor for the projected success of all treatment methods. Overall, it is believed that the total amount of asbestos exposure is the main determining factor for risk. The longer the time of exposure, along with total amounts taken in determine the likelihood of mesothelioma occurring. Patients must remember that after exposure they will remain at risk for the rest of their lives. Informing doctors of previous exposure could aid in early detection.