Laryngeal mesothelioma, also known as laryngeal asbestos-related cancer, is a rare and aggressive cancer that affects the larynx, the organ responsible for voice production. This type of mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral that was widely used in the construction industry, shipbuilding, and other industrial applications until the 1980s. Laryngeal mesothelioma accounts for less than 1% of all mesothelioma cases, but it is nonetheless a serious and life-threatening disease.
The risk factors for developing laryngeal mesothelioma are primarily related to occupational exposure to asbestos. When asbestos fibers are inhaled, they can become lodged in the lungs and other respiratory organs, including the larynx. Over time, these fibers can cause inflammation and scarring, which can lead to the development of cancerous cells. The risk of developing laryngeal mesothelioma increases with the amount and duration of asbestos exposure. However, it is important to note that not everyone who is exposed to asbestos will develop mesothelioma.
The following are some of the risk factors associated with laryngeal mesothelioma:
Occupational exposure to asbestos: Workers who were exposed to asbestos in their workplace are at higher risk of developing laryngeal mesothelioma. This includes individuals who worked in industries such as shipbuilding, construction, insulation, plumbing, and automotive manufacturing, where asbestos was commonly used.
Environmental exposure to asbestos: People who live or work near asbestos mines, factories, or processing plants may also be at risk of developing laryngeal mesothelioma due to exposure to asbestos fibers in the air.
Smoking: While smoking is not a direct cause of laryngeal mesothelioma, it can increase the risk of developing the disease in individuals who have been exposed to asbestos. Smoking weakens the lungs and can make it harder for the body to expel asbestos fibers, which can increase the risk of developing mesothelioma.
Age: Laryngeal mesothelioma is most commonly diagnosed in individuals who are over the age of 50. Asbestos fibers can take several decades to cause cancer, which is why mesothelioma is often diagnosed in older adults who were exposed to asbestos earlier in their lives.
Gender: Men are more likely to develop laryngeal mesothelioma than women. This may be due to the fact that men are more likely to work in industries that expose them to asbestos, or because women may have a stronger immune response to asbestos fibers.
Genetic factors: Some studies have suggested that certain genetic factors may increase the risk of developing mesothelioma in individuals who have been exposed to asbestos. However, more research is needed to fully understand the role of genetics in the development of mesothelioma.
Other health conditions: Individuals with a history of lung diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or tuberculosis, may be at higher risk of developing laryngeal mesothelioma due to the damage that these conditions can cause to the respiratory system.
It is important to note that the symptoms of laryngeal mesothelioma can be vague and nonspecific, and may not appear until several years after exposure to asbestos. These symptoms may include hoarseness, difficulty swallowing, coughing, and shortness of breath. If you have been exposed to asbestos and are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to speak with your doctor as soon as possible. Early detection and treatment can improve the prognosis for individuals with laryngeal mesothelioma.