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Asbestos Cancer Glossary

Asbestos A family of naturally occurring silicate minerals that have been mined primarily for their fire-resistant properties. Inhalation of asbestos has been linked to the formation of mesothelioma and other lung illnesses.
Asbestos Cancer Mesothelioma. The type of cancer caused by inhalation of asbestos fibers.
Asbestos Lung Cancer Usually an oxymoron reference to mesothelioma. Strictly speaking, asbestos causes a cancer called mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is not lung cancer, but it affects the thoracic cavity, so people often call it that.
Asbestosis A respiratory disease that results due to prolonged inhalation of asbestos. As asbestos fibers collect in the lungs, they cause scarring that results in labored breathing and shortness of breath.
Amosite Also known as brown asbestos, this is the second most common form of asbestos; five percent of asbestos production in the world comes from amosite.
Boilermen Tradesmen who build and repair steel structures such as boilers, ships and bridges. Asbestos insulation used in many of these structures historically increases the risk of mesothelioma in these tradesmen.
Cancer An abnormal growth of cells which grow in an uncontrolled way and can spread to other areas of the body.
Carcinogen Any substance or agent that causes cancer.
Chrysotile Also known as white asbestos, this is the most common form of asbestos; 95 percent of asbestos products in the United States are of this variety
Class action lawsuit A type of lawsuit that allows numerous plaintiffs with a common interest or type of personal damage to collectively sue an allegedly responsible entity.
Crocidolite Also known as blue asbestos, this is the least common form of asbestos. It is frequently considered the deadliest of the six commercially exploited asbestos forms
Electrician’s Mates A job trade within the U.S. Navy that requires the repair and production of ship engines. Asbestos insulation used in such components has historically increased the risk of mesothelioma in enginemen.
Enginemen A job trade within the U.S. Navy that requires the repair and production of ship engines. Asbestos insulation used in such components has historically increased the risk of mesothelioma in enginemen.
Epidemic An outbreak of disease that affects a disproportionately high amount of people within a particular region or population.
Firemen A job profession that involves extinguishing fires. In the Navy, firemen are those who are tasked with caring for and operating a ship's machinery.
Immunotherapy Administration of biological agents to induce a cancer fighting response from your immune system
Legal settlement A legal contract of resolution that is agreed upon by two parties. Settlements resolve legal disputes and may be reached prior to or as the result of court proceedings.
Lung Cancer An uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the lungs.
Machinist Mates A U.S. Navy engineering rating for enlistees tasked with operating and repairing a variety of ship machinery. The three categories of Machinist Mates are nuclear mechanics, auxiliary mechanics and propulsion mechanics.

Spread of a tumor from one part of the body to other areas.

Mesothelium Tissue lining the chest, abdominal cavities and outer surfaces of most internal organs. The tissue is made of mesothelial cells.
Mesothelioma A type of cancer that has been linked to asbestos exposure. It can be found in the lining of the chest (pleural mesothelioma), abdomen (peritoneal mesothelioma), or the lining of the heart (pericardial mesothelioma).
Parietal Pleura The medical term for the body cavity found within the middle thorax that encloses the diaphragm and lungs.
Palliative Treatment Therapy that aims to relieve symptoms of cancer, but is not likely to cure the disease. The goal is improving a patient’s quality of life.
Pipefitters Tradesmen responsible for building, maintaining and repairing piping systems. Asbestos has been a common form of insulation among Naval ship piping and other structures.
Peritoneum Tissue composed of mesothelial cells that lines the abdominal wall and is the location for peritoneal mesothelioma.
Pleura Thin sheet of cells that protects and cushions the lungs. The pleura is composed of two layers separated by a small amount of fluid. This is the most common site for mesothelioma.
Pleural Cavity The space between the layers of the pleura.
Pleural Effusion Accumulation of fluid between the lining of the lungs and chest cavity.
Pleural Mesothelioma Cancer of the pleura
Seabees Term for the Construction Battalions (CBs) of the U.S. Navy. Seabees are tasked with building bases, roadways and other structures and have a history of asbestos exposure.
Shipfitters Individuals who are responsible for fabricating and repairing ships. Asbestos insulation has historically been used in Naval and civilian ships.
Statute of Limitations a federal or state law that limits the time length in which legal proceedings may be brought to court.
Toxin Any poisonous substance that results from the production of naturally occurring processes and biological organisms.
Tort A civil wrong brought about either by negligence or intent that results in emotional or physical damage to a person or persons. Asbestos-related trials are typically labeled as torts for negligence.
Tremolite One of six asbestos forms of asbestos mined for commercial use. Tremolite displays a pearly luster and may be brown, gray, white or green.
Tumor An abnormal mass of tissue that results from uncontrolled cell division from damaged cells. Tumors can be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer).
Vermiculite A shiny, flaky natural mineral that is used for insulation products and is often contaminated with asbestos. More.
Zonolite A brand name for vermiculate that was previously mined from Libby, Montana. Prior to the closure of these mines, Zonolite accounted for 70 to 80 percent of all commercially available vermiculite.


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