Steve Brooks talks about the cause and symptoms of mesothelioma.

Good afternoon, welcome to Inside Look by Brooks. Steve Brooks here for our weekly Friday 3 o’clock Facebook Live and today’s topic is what is mesothelioma? Now, if you’re like me and you watch TV occasionally I’m sure you’ve seen commercial after commercial about mesothelioma. It’s a long name for a very, very tragic disease. And, so, the mesothelium is a thin layer that surrounds your organs, your lungs, your stomach, and when those organs are exposed to asbestos, the asbestos fibers can actually get lodged in the mesothelium and can actually start to irritate that little lining around the stomach and lungs, and then ultimately over a period of twenty to forty years develop into lung cancer or mesothelioma. Both the lung cancer and the mesothelioma are deadly, and it’s a horrible disease. So I wanted to talk a little bit about it because people are constantly asking me when they see me in public about it and we have a, quite a few mesothelioma-type cases. Some of them only rise to the level of lung cancer and then of course the worst part of the disease is if you actually get mesothelioma. So how are you exposed? Well, for years from sometime in the 1950s until the 1980s asbestos was in many household products. In was in insulation, it was in shingles, and it was in, actually in the tile flooring that you would- not tile tiles, ceramic tile, but the vinyl-type tile had asbestos in them. And the reason, and it’s also in brakes, and all kind of industrial uses, and the reason that they use asbestos is because asbestos itself is fire resistant. And so when you have this mineral that, naturally occurring mineral that is fire resistant, industry saw that as a perfect substance to use in all of these products that might be exposed to heat. So unfortunately for many homeowners, if you buy a house that was built in the 50s, 60s, 70s, you may have these products in your house, so you need to be really careful. And actually, asbestos in a product in your house probably is not causing you any harm. But let’s say you’re, you have asbestos tile floor. If you were to get a shovel and start to tear up that floor, and break up that tile, it would cause the release of these microscopic asbestos fibers that, if you breathe in, can then lodge in that mesothelium that line the stomach and the lungs and begin to irritate it, and then forty years later lung cancer or mesothelioma shows up. So it’s a, we call it the silent killer, because for years and years and years, you know you have no symptoms, you have no idea that you were exposed to asbestos, and then you know you wake up one day forty years later and you have this terrible diagnosis. So the key to not being exposed is don’t be around it when, you know, particles are torn up. And you know I own property and some of my property we have to get an asbestos study done before we can tear down the actual building, and if the building has any kind of asbestos, like in the siding, the flooring, the roof, the insulation, we have to hire a special company and they come in with workers who are completely clothed and masked so that none of the fibers can, can be breathed in or lodged in their skin, and they safely remove the asbestos product. And there’s a special place in the landfill for it. So asbestos in and of itself in a dormant state is not dangerous. It’s when you rip it or tear it or break it up and those fibers are released that it becomes dangerous. So some of the, the high risk occupations include construction workers, demolition crews, firefighters, industrial workers, mechanics, machinery operators, power plant workers, shipyard workers, railroad workers, because they’re, they’re, these are industries that have the machinery in these high heat environments and they’re gonna be insulated or somehow wrapped with this insulation, asbestos insulation. Miners, people who’ve worked with underground pipes, and auto mechanics. So we have this very, very dangerous material. You would think that it would be banned. And 50 countries throughout our world have banned it. United States has not banned it. We have, the United States has banned it in certain products, like insulation, we can’t use it in insulation anymore, but asbestos is still shipped to our country, it’s still used in certain industrial uses, and to me that’s scary. When you have a substance that is this dangerous, upon the mere fibers that you can’t see being exposed to the air, I think 50 countries in the world got it right, and we got it wrong. So, what are the symptoms? Some of the symptoms are- and these don’t surface again for 20 to 40 years after exposure- trouble breathing, painful coughing, chest pain, a lot of times there’s an accumulation of fluid in the chest, weight loss, and pain in the ribcage area, and lumps and swelling and pain in the abdomen. So, you know for your sake I hope you are absolutely never exposed to mesothelioma. It is a horrible disease that has devastating, you know not very many people survive mesothelioma. So if, the main thing to be cognizant of, if you are in a house that was built from the 1950s to the 1980s, you want to be really careful before you do anything like remove floors or remove shingles or insulation. Let the professionals do that. If you have questions about mesothelioma, and you’re welcome to ask them on our Facebook Live now or if you’re viewing this after the fact, you can email me at [email protected], that’s [email protected] and I will get back to you confidentially to respond to your questions and help to get to the bottom of any concerns you might have. So thank you for joining me today, you know it’s kind of tough to talk about such a dire disease as mesothelioma, but I thought it might be a good opportunity to warn you of some of the risks that you could avoid, especially for those homeowners who live in houses from, built from the 50s to the 70s. So thank you again for joining us today, we will see you next Friday at 3:00 for Brooks Law Group Inside Look by Brooks. Thank you.

Steve was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. As was the practice for new doctors his father worked day and night during his medical residency at Charity Hospital there. Steve comes from a long line of doctors. His father, his grandfather, his great grandfather, even two uncles were all specialists and/or surgeons in their chosen medical specialties, including internal medicine specialist, obstetrics / gynecology, neurosurgery and general practice / surgery. His great-great grandfather was the Surgeon General of Ohio during the Civil War.