2024 What Causes Mesothelioma Besides Asbestos?

Most people have a thin layer of tissue that lines their organs. Medical professionals call this layer the mesothelium. When someone has asbestos exposure, their chances of developing cancer in their mesothelium increase. This form of cancer is called mesothelioma. Despite asbestos exposure being mesothelioma’s primary cause, some people wonder, “What causes mesothelioma besides asbestos?”

While asbestos exposure is the leading cause of mesothelioma, some medical professionals believe that other factors can contribute to or cause the disease as well. It is wise to know these potential causes to mitigate your risk of developing this aggressive cancer.

Asbestos Is the Primary Cause of Mesothelioma

There may be other factors that contribute to mesothelioma development, but asbestos exposure is by far the biggest risk factor for mesothelioma. People working in industries like construction, shipbuilding, firefighting, and automotive repair should understand that they can be at the highest risk for asbestos exposure.

Secondary exposure is also possible when someone breathes in asbestos fibers left on the clothes or skin of a loved one who works with asbestos.

Beyond Asbestos Fibers

Asbestos is the typical culprit of mesothelioma development. Asbestos fibers trapped in the mesothelium can cause chronic inflammation and scarring that can lead to cancer development over time. Other potential causes of mesothelioma, though minor and extremely rare, are:

  • Erionite: The mineral fiber erionite is similar to asbestos, and some people believe that it can cause mesothelioma. Although erionite is no longer mined or marketed, road construction and maintenance workers exposed to it have reported erionite-related diseases, like lung cancer and mesothelioma.
  • Radiation Therapy: There are rare cases in which people who receive radiation therapy for conditions like lymphoma develop mesothelioma. Medical professionals are unsure why this can happen, but it rarely does.

The Mystery of Mesothelioma

Even in asbestos-related cases, mesothelioma is difficult to assess and understand. Many people exposed to high doses of asbestos never develop mesothelioma, and research is still being done to decipher why that is the case. In some cases, there are difficulties pinpointing how or if a mesothelioma patient was ever exposed to asbestos or erionite, leaving some professionals to argue that there was no exposure.

Some people term cases like this idiopathic or spontaneous mesothelioma.

Other Important Factors With Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma complexities extend past finding the cause. Even with confirmed asbestos exposure cases, scientists have trouble identifying why some people develop the disease when others remain unaffected. The variability in cancer development can make it difficult to pinpoint the disease’s cause and lead to an idiopathic or spontaneous mesothelioma diagnosis.

Additional factors that may influence mesothelioma development are:

Genetic Predisposition

Emerging research may suggest that someone’s genetics may increase their risk of developing mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases. Some argue that inherited gene mutations might increase an individual’s susceptibility to the disease, even with minimal asbestos exposure.

Simian Virus 40 (SV40)

Simian Virus 40 is generally harmless in humans. Despite this, scientists have discovered a link between it and mesothelioma in some animal studies. The research is inconclusive on whether SV40 exposure is a potential risk factor for mesothelioma developing in humans.

Chronic Inflammation

Chronic inflammation can appear to have a link to mesothelioma, no matter the cause. While asbestos exposure remains a major cause of mesothelium inflammation, other factors, like unrelated medical conditions or environmental exposures, may also have a role.

An understanding of lesser-known potential mesothelioma contributors can help people make more informed decisions about this cancer’s risk factors. Hopefully, people can use emerging information to minimize their exposure.

Seek Help If You Are Concerned

If you are worried that you have mesothelioma or have had asbestos exposure, you should contact a medical professional immediately. Early diagnosis can be vital for improving your prognosis.

If you seek compensation, our team can lead your fight against the responsible parties, such as manufacturers, companies, or employers. We can exhaust all options and ensure that you receive everything you are entitled to.


Q: What Is the Number One Cause of Mesothelioma?

A: Although asbestos is the primary cause of pleural mesothelioma, it is not fully understood how several contributing factors can cause the cancer. Most people who have mesothelioma have been exposed to asbestos in the past, but most people who have had asbestos exposure, even major ones, do not get mesothelioma.

Q: What Chemicals Cause Mesothelioma?

A: Chemicals do not cause mesothelioma. The typical cause is the inhalation or ingestion of asbestos fibers. When these fibers get trapped inside the mesothelium, which is the fragile tissue that lines organs, they cause inflation and damage to mesothelial cells. Chronic inflammation and asbestos fibers’ physical properties lead to DNA damage, which can cause the formation of mesothelioma tumors.

Q: Who Mostly Gets Mesothelioma?

A: Most people who get mesothelioma are men over sixty with military, construction, mechanic, and firefighting work backgrounds. This group of people is at an especially high risk of developing mesothelioma, but they are not the only people who can get it. Asbestos was so widely used in these fields that people with backgrounds in these professions are more likely to contract mesothelioma, but anyone with asbestos exposure is at risk.

Q: What Is Most Likely to Cause Mesothelioma?

A: Asbestos exposure is most likely to cause mesothelioma. While other mineral fibers can cause mesothelioma, occupational asbestos exposure is the most common cause. People are more likely to develop mesothelioma if they live with someone who works with asbestos because the fibers can attach to skin and clothes.

Stay Informed About Mesothelioma’s Causes

Mesothelioma research is an ongoing process. Scientists are constantly seeking to understand mesothelioma’s complexities. While asbestos remains the primary cause of the disease, this aggressive cancer may have other contributors, like erionite, radiation therapy, SV40, and genetics.

Early diagnosis of mesothelioma is always important.  Beginning treatment as soon as possible can mean more time with your loved ones. If you have concerns about potential asbestos exposure or mesothelioma symptoms, you should seek immediate medical attention. When you have questions about potential compensation, contact Wallace & Graham as soon as possible so we can begin working on your case.