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Mesothelioma – Catch It Early To Avoid Big Trouble

Many people have never heard of Mesothelioma and are unaware of its symptoms. Although considered a rare form of cancer, each year the number of cases grows. With the prevalence of this disease on the rise, it is critical to understand why and how Mesothelioma develops and what courses of action can be taken in the event of diagnosis. The following are some questions and answers that will provide you with information on Mesothelioma.

**What is Mesothelioma causes ?**

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer in which malignant (cancerous) cells are found in the mesothelium, a protective sac that covers most of the body’s internal organs. The organs most commonly affected are the lungs, heart and abdominal organs. The most common form of Mesothelioma is Pleural Mesothelioma — cancer of the lung lining. But cancerous cells are also found in the lining of the abdominal cavity (the peritoneum) and the lining around the heart (the pericardium).

**What causes Mesothelioma?**

Mesothelioma is almost always caused by exposure to asbestos. Asbestos is often found in building materials used before the mid 1970s. In addition, materials such as pipes, boiler insulation, floor, ceiling and roof tiles may contain asbestos. It is believed that even insignificant exposure to asbestos in environments such as asbestos mills, mines, shipping yards, some older Navy ships or even in patient’s homes can result in mesothelioma. In many cases mesothelioma does not occur for decades after initial exposure to this cancer-causing asbestos. 2000-3000 cases of mesothelioma per year are currently being diagnosed. Family members of workers exposed to asbestos can also contract this disease through exposure to the worker’s clothing. Like many other cancers, smoking greatly increases the risk of contracting mesothelioma.

**How much asbestos exposure will cause Mesothelioma?**

Generally, the probability of developing this form of cancer is directly related to the length of time you are exposed to asbestos. The health risk also increases with the intensity of the exposure to asbestos.

However, an exposure of as little as one or two months can result in mesothelioma 30 or 40 years later. At the age of 48, Canadian Member of Parliament Chuck Strahl, was recently diagnosed with mesothelioma and traces the cause back to changing brake pads on logging equipment after he graduated from high school. Strahl’s case is a good example of the fact that Mesothelioma has a latency period of anywhere from 20 to 50 years. Like thousands of others he developed the disease long after his exposure to asbestos.

**What are the symptoms of Mesothelioma causes ?**

Mesothelioma is a very subtle form of cancer providing only a few noticeable symptoms until it becomes extremely advanced. 75% of all mesolthelioma cases are Pleural mesothelioma – cancer of the lung lining. This type of cancer causes shortness of breath and/or chronic coughing that can easily be mistaken for allergies or a common cold. Mesothelioma is often discovered by accident when patients are being examined for these common symptoms. Other symptoms of pleural mesothelioma may include: chest pain, shortness of breath, chronic coughing that worsens over time, fatigue, wheezing, lung infection, hoarseness, weight loss, difficulty swallowing, chest or abdominal pain or blood in the phlegm from the lungs when coughing

Peritoneal mesothelioma affects the lining around the stomach and intestines and can be just as dangerous and deadly. Symptoms of Peritoneal mesothelioma include: pain or swelling in the abdomen, weight loss, bowel obstruction (blockage in the large or small intestines), anemia (reduced number of red blood cells) , and fever.

The onset of Mesothelioma is usually quite slow. Patients will begin to experience symptoms such as lower back pain and chest pain. Unfortunately, once Mesothelioma develops, it quickly becomes aggressive and treatment must be sought immediately.

**Can Mesothelioma be treated?**

Unfortunately, by the time most infected people become aware they have mesothelioma it has ceased being dormant and becomes extremely aggressive. Once it is no longer dormant, this type of cancer can travel quickly, and this makes it almost impossible to stop.

While there are treatments that are available in order to keep the patient comfortable, there is currently no cure for Mesothelioma, and as many as 75% of those who develop the disease will lose their life within one year. The remainder may last for up to an additional six months. Among the treatments that are used in order to reduce the effects of the disease are oxygen, postural drainage and pain killers. A wide range of treatment approaches are being tested, ranging from attempts to fortify the body’s natural immune system to gene therapy which tries to attack the problem at the DNA level to homeopathy, herbs and acupuncture. But none have yet been shown to be very effective once the disease reaches the aggressive stage.

Given the generally poor prognosis for people who do not catch the disease in time, early detection is the best defense against Mesothelioma. If you have worked in an industry such as construction or suspect that you may have been exposed to asbestos, be alert for symptoms and contact your doctor immediately. Like all forms of cancer, detecting Mesothelioma at the earliest stage possible greatly increases your chances for survival.

Mesothelioma Information Knowing About The Disease Is Our Own

Mesothelioma Information Knowing About The Disease Is Our Own Right

Mesothelioma is a kind of cancer induced by exposure to asbestos. It affects the mesothelium, a protective sac that covers most of the internal organs of the human body and nearly takes 10-50 years to develop. In the nascent stage of Mesothelioma attack, the pleura or peritoneum are affected and then it gradually spreads to the other parts of the body. Mesothelioma is also termed as ‘malignant’ mesothelioma where the lining of the chest, the abdomen and the heart are attacked. There are two types of mesothelioma, one being Pleural mesothelioma (lung cancer) and the other being Peritoneal mesothelioma (abdominal cancer).

How you can get affected of Mesothelioma

The inhaling of the fine airborne asbestos dust and fibers causes mesothelioma. It is a proven fact, as 70% to 80% of the case histories of patients state that asbestos exposure in factories or industries leads to mesothelioma. Hence all those working in construction based jobs like shipyards, boilermakers, insulators etc. are susceptible to this fatal disease.

The first step to cure of this disease is to find out all the relevant symptoms. But because of the long latency period of mesothelioma, the symptoms come into play even after 30-50 years since the contraction of the disease. Moreover, the symptoms are not conclusive, and are common to most other diseases. This is why the mesothelioma tests are imperative from the doctors point of view.

The symptoms

The three most prominent symptoms of Mesothelioma are excruciating pain whilst breathing or coughing, breathing problems and a persistent cough, which could even, lead to bleeding. In addition, tiredness, loss of appetite, loss of weight are some of the other symptoms. Amongst some of the very rare symptoms, husky voice, problem in swallowing, swelling of the face and pain around the rib area are considered.

The diagnosis

It is a daunting task to diagnose the victims of mesothelioma. Normally the average age of the victims at diagnosis is around 50 to 70 years. Surprisingly, the white Americans are victimized more than the African Americans. At the time diagnosis begins, the disease had already spread and seems invincible. A victim would normally survive for only one year when the disease becomes quite ominous. However, the survival time of the patient can be stretched to almost two years if the disease is detected early and given proper treatment.

The treatment

There are many factors, which determine the treatment of Mesothelioma viz., stage of the disease, location of the cancer, patient’s age and general health. Surgeries, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy are amongst the basic treatments for Mesothelioma. In the recent past, treatments like removal of the pleural fluid to relieve pain and control breathlessness are being used. Apart from medication, there are a few helpful techniques that can help relieve pain and stress. These involve a balanced diet preferably prescribed by a general physician or a dietitian, conservation of energy on self-initiative as well as therapies such as aromatherapy, relaxation and massage.

In the inference, it would be worthwhile to mention that Mesothelioma is a dreadful disease and its spread can only be shunned if you are willing to know more about the disease. Then again you should also make sure that you take precautionary measures by piecing together all the information that you have garnered today.

Increasing Awareness of Asbestos Cancer Spurs Mesothelioma Lawsuits

Mesothelioma lawsuits seem to be becoming more and more prevalent as the disease and its causes become more well-known. You may have seen commercials for attorneys advertising their services in this specialized area. Due to the fact that decades can pass before the disease rears its ugly head, it has become apparent that the companies responsible for exposing their workers to asbestos so many years ago may no longer be in business. But there is something you can do.

Mesothelioma, commonly known as Asbestos Cancer, is a rare form of cancer that is most frequently known to occur when the affected person has come in contact with asbestos and inhaled its particles. It does, however, emerge in some individuals without ever having made contact with asbestos and occurs more in men than women, but can affect both genders. The name Mesothelioma is derived from mesothelium, which is the membrane that covers and protects most of the internal organs of the body. When cancer cells are active in the mesothelium, that membrane begins to deteriorate and the cancer can continue spreading to other parts of the body.

During the 1940s, millions of Americans were exposed to asbestos, but at that time, the dangers were not known. The symptoms of Mesothelioma many times do not appear for up to 30 to 50 years after exposure. Depending on your age, you may have relatives who have unfortunately, contracted this disease while working with asbestos or simply from being exposed to it in other ways.

If you or someone you know or are related to have been diagnosed with Mesothelioma, there are steps you can take to receive compensation. Although a monetary settlement will not cure the disease, its benefits may help to make the sick individual live more comfortably and possibly ease their suffering somewhat.

Although there are individual cases, many Mesothelioma lawsuits are filed as class action suits due to the fact that so many people were affected at the same time at the same place. Even if the responsible company is no longer in business, the attorneys can still obtain monetary settlements through other means as there have been billions of dollars set aside for disbursements regarding Mesothelioma lawsuits.

If you or someone you love has contracted Mesothelioma, do an online search for lawyers in your area who handle these types of cases. A settlement made to you through a Mesothelioma lawsuit can offer a degree of support in more ways than one. The compensation received can assist in alleviating some of the burden of medical treatment costs, especially for those who are uninsured, and also possibly give an individual a chance to live in a more comfortable atmosphere, overall.

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Mesothelioma Cancer

The Facts about Mesothelioma Cancer

What is Mesothelioma Cancer?

Mesothelioma cancer is an extremely rare cancer form that is only found in the mesothelium. This form of malignancy generally affects those people who have been exposed to a situation where asbestos is present, typically those who have worked in buildings where it was used as a fire retardant..

What happens when a person has Mesothelioma Cancer?

This type of cancer directly affects the mesothelium and causes abnormal cells. These cells begin to divide rampantly. They invade and cause damage to all organs and tissues that are near the effected area. Mesothelioma cancer tends to spread fairly quickly throughout the body, as well.

Mesothelium

This is the membrane that protects and covers many of the organs within your body. The membrane is made up of cells and is in separate layers. The first layer surrounds the organ extremely close and the second creates a protective sac around the organs.

Studies show that only 2,000 people each year are diagnosed with Mesothelioma cancer in the U.S. Studies further show that men are more apt to contract this type of cancer than women. However, Mesothelioma Cancer knows no boundaries and can be found in both genders. Typically, the older the person is, the more at risk they are for developing Mesothelioma cancer.

Who is at risk for Mesothelioma Cancer?

Anyone who is exposed to asbestos in large quantities and for long periods of time are especially at risk for developing Mesothelioma cancer. It is impossible to say who exactly will develop Mesothelioma cancer because it has been found in those who had only very little exposure to asbestos and those who had no exposure at all, but lived with someone who had a good deal of exposure to them. The risk to those living with someone works in asbestos filled areas is high. Asbestos is brought home by the worker as dust on his or her hair or clothing.

Mesothelioma Cancer Symptoms

Mesothelioma cancer is a slow growing type of cancer. Some cases do not see any type of symptoms until thirty to fifty years after asbestos exposure. Some symptoms can include:

Chest Pain
Shortness of breath
Sudden Weight Loss
Pain in the abdominal region
Abdominal swelling
Bowel Obstruction
Blood Clots
Fever
Anemia
Trouble Swallowing
Facial Swelling
Neck Swelling

Treatment of Mesothelioma Cancer

There are a few different treatment options available for those diagnosed with Mesothelioma cancer. The method of treatment will depend upon many different things such as the age, overall health, where the Mesothelioma cancer is located and the stage the Mesothelioma Cancer is in. The three typical types of treatment include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and surgery. In some cases, treatments may be combined if it proves beneficial to the patient.

Malignant mesothelioma The cancer of the mesothelial cells

Mesothelium is the protective tissue that covers the chest cavity, abdominal cavity and the cavity around the heart and also produces a special lubricating fluid that allows the internal organs of the body to move around. Malignant Mesothelioma can be defined as the cancer of the mesothelial cells which become abnormal and start dividing without any order. Majority of the mesothelioma patients have a prior history of exposure to asbestos.

Types of malignant Mesothelioma

Malignant Mesothelioma or simply Mesothelioma can be divided into 3 main types namely
– Epithelioid
– Sarcomatoid
– Mixed/biphasic

Of these, Epithelioid is the most common (50% to 70% cases) and stands the best chance of recovery. Sarcomatoid type is seen in 7% to 20% cases whereas mixed/biphasic type is seen in 20% to 35% cases.

Approximately, of the total cases of Mesothelioma originates in the chest cavity (pleura) and is known as pleural mesothelioma. The cancer affecting the lining of the abdomen (peritoneum) is called the peritoneal mesothelioma and that affecting the sac like space around the heart (pericardial cavity) is called the pericardial mesothelioma. Mesothelioma at times also affects the covering layer of the testicles. However, the last two types of cases are quite rare.

Diagnosis of malignant Mesothelioma

The tumors of the mesothelium can either be benign (non cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). So whenever there are symptoms like shortness of breath, pain in chest/abdomen or swelling in the abdomen, you should consult your doctor immediately.

After the initial X-rays and scans, the doctor may look inside the chest cavity (in case of pleural tumor) with an instrument called thoracoscope and the test is called thoracoscopy. In case of tumor in peritoneum the doctor may go for peritoneoscopy with the help of a tool called peritoneoscope. Finally, if the abnormal tissue is found then a biopsy is done, whereby a piece of the unnatural tissue is cut out and placed under microscope for examination.

After the confirmed diagnosis of Mesothelioma it is also essential to ascertain its stages i.e. whether it is in localized stage or in advanced stage. In the localized stage, the cancer is found in the lining of the chest cavity or in the diaphragm or the lung. Advanced malignant Mesothelioma can again be divided into 3 stages namely stage II, III and IV. In stage II, the cancer spreads beyond the chest lining to lymph nodes and in stage III it spreads into chest wall, center of the chest, heart, through the diaphragm or abdominal lining, etc. The final or the fourth stage is the one in which the cancer has already spread to distant organs.

Treatment

Depending on the stage of the cancer, its location and the health, age and medical history of the patient, 3 types of treatments are mated out to malignant Mesothelioma patients surgery (to remove the tumor), radiation therapy (application of high energy rays) and chemotherapy (usage of combination of drugs). This apart, if there is any accumulation of fluid in the chest or abdomen, then the doctor needs to drain it out and the process is regarded as thoracentesis and paracentesis respectively.

So be aware of the disease, such that you can prevent it at the very onset.

Mesothelioma is serious cancer

Mesothelioma is serious cancer and asbestos is main cause. During in 1940 and 1950s constructions community used asbestos as the best thing to happen after cement for construction industry. Asbestos was applied greatly in insulator and ceiling tiles in homes, schools and factories because to high degree of stability and resistance to very high temperatures.

Nonetheless, asbestos is capable of causing harm, contaminant. It has trend to break into small parts and remain stay in the air for longer durations. For individual who is that comes in contact it, becomes attackable to serious disease to lung cancer or mesothelioma lung cancers.

What types of Mesothelioma?
Name of Mesothelioma, asbestos related cancer, acquires its name from the mesothelium cells that are responsible for protecting and enabling easy movement of our vital organs such as lungs, heart and the abdomen in the body. Mesothelioma is generally of three types, pleural mesothelioma, peritoneal mesothelioma and pericardial mesothelioma.

If a person is suffering from hoarseness, difficulty in breathing, loss in weight, coughing, blood in sputum, chest pain, weak muscles, reduced tactile sensitivity, he may be suffering from Pleural mesothelioma or the cancer of lining of the lungs. This is the most common type of mesothelioma and almost two-thirds of the mesothelioma patients suffer from pleural mesothelioma. The Peritoneal mesothelioma or cancer of the lining of the abdomen causes impaired bowel motion, bloating, swelling in feet, and nausea. This is less common among mesothelioma patients and it affects one-third of the mesothelioma patients. Pericardial mesothelioma is of the cancer of lining of the heart. It is also caused because of asbestos exposure. However, its prevalence is rare. Pericardial mesothelioma manifests in the form of chest pain, palpitations and cough.

Lawsuits related to Mesothelioma:
The dangerous consequences of long term contact with asbestos and its linkage to mesothelioma cancers has led to several lawsuits against its manufacturers. The manufactures were claimed by the attorneys that they were aware of the capable of causing harm affects of asbestos exposure and yet persisted with its use for profit motives. This is the reason why juries have ordered stringent awards in many mesothelioma and asbestos related lawsuits.

Mesothelioma a cancer caused by asbestos

The internal organs of the human body are encased in a protective sac called the mesothelium. Examples of mesothelilial membranes are the peritoneum (abdominal organs), pleura (lungs), and pericardium (heart).

Under specific conditions, the cells of the protective membrane divide uncontrolled and become cancerous. This disease is termed as Mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer which is caused by prolonged exposure to asbestos dust.

The disease is found to occur among those who work in shipyards, asbestos mines and factories, industries that produce asbestos based products, and the heating and construction businesses. Approximately 3,000 cases occur each year in the US, and most patients are between 50-70 years old. Statistics show that males are commonly affected and among them whites more than African Americans.

First studied in the late 1700s in depth studies were only done in the 1960s. Tumors of the Mesothelioma can be benign or malignant. The malignant Mesothelioma are categorized into three types:

Epithelioid, accounting for 50-70% of mesotheliomas.

Sarcomatoid, accounting for 7-20%.

Mixed or bi-phasic, accounting for 20-35%.

When asbestos fibers are breathed into the lungs they travel through large air passages to reach the smaller passages and from them the pleura. In the pleura they damage: the mesothelial cells leading to cancer; lung tissue causing lung cancer; and the development of scar tissue within the lungs known as asbestosis. When asbestos fibers are swallowed they reach the abdominal cavity and cause peritoneal mesothelioma.

Research reveals that the disease only manifests 20-50 years after being exposed to asbestos dust. The symptoms are not specific to the disease but a patient may develop:

Breathlessness.

Chest pain accompanied by tightness believed to be caused by accumulation of fluid in the pleura.

Low back pain.

Swelling of face and arms.

Sensory loss.

Muscle weakness.

Nausea.

Vomiting.

Weight loss that is unexplained.

Persistent dry cough.

Sore throat.

Anemia.

Fever.

Constipation.

Problems with blood clotting.

Since the above are common to minor ailments, patients often ignore the symptoms. It is advisable to consult a doctor if any of the above symptoms persist or if you feel you have been knowingly or unknowingly exposed to asbestos.

A doctor will:

Take down a detailed medical history and try and determine the symptoms and risk factors.

Do a thorough physical examination and check for signs of:

o Pleural effusion, fluid accumulated in the chest cavity.

o Fluid in the abdominal cavity.

o Pericardial effusion, fluid in the lining of the heart.

Take a chest x-ray and check for thickening of the pleura, calcifications, and lowered lung fissures.

Ask for a CT scan to determine clearly the location, size, and extent of the problem if any is suspected.

Recommend tests of tissue samples and pleural fluids.

Other risk factors are cigarette or cigar smoking, exposure to radiation, exposure to zeolite a compound that is similar to asbestos, exposure to or infections caused by SV40, a Simian virus.

Those who work in a risky environment should wear protective clothing, have the surroundings tested regularly for suspended asbestos particles, and ensure that they have regular medical tests and report to the doctor any ailments that persist.

Being aware of the disease and its problems helps.

Who is at risk from mesothelioma cancer?

Mesothelioma is a deadly cancer which is fairly rare although in the last few decades the number of people who have died from it have dramatically increased. Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos without sufficient protection. When a person is exposed to asbestos, he or she inhales tiny asbestos fibres which are suspended in the air. These fibres pass into the respiratory system and end up becoming lodged in the lungs. An accumulation of asbestos fibres in the lining of the lungs like this can cause nearby cells to deform and eventually leads to what is known as pleural mesothelioma. Accumulation of asbestos fibres in the peritoneum (lining of the abdomen) can lead to peritoneal mesothelioma and build up of fibres around the tissue of the heart can cause pericardial mesothelioma. Asbestos fibres reach these places over time or because they have been transported there by the lymphatic system.

Mesothelioma has a very large latency period (time between getting the cancer and feeling the symptoms of it). This period is usually between 30 50 years and so a person who bears mesothelioma is unlikely to know that they have got it. This is why mesothelioma is so hard to diagnose in its early stages because it shows no symptoms and the few symptoms that it does show such as wheezing and shortness of breath are typical of far more common diseases such as pneumonia. The likelihood of being cured depends largely on how early and how aggressively the cancer is treated. If it is treated when it has fully developed and matured then it is extremely difficult to cure.

In this way, those at risk are those who have worked amongst asbestos. Construction workers, asbestos manufacturers or those who have lived within a mile of an asbestos factory are the people who have the largest contact with asbestos. Those who are in contact with these people are also at risk because asbestos fibers can stick to clothes and hair. The majority of people who are discovering that they have mesothelioma are elderly men of about 60 70. This was the generation which worked with asbestos a lot without sufficient protection. Many of these men are now lodging multi million dollar lawsuits against the companies who exposed them to the dangers of asbestos.

Cancer mesothelioma It is a born killer

The pericardium is the mesothelial tissue that surrounds and acts as a safeguard to the heart. The pleural mesothelium membrane covers the lungs and chest cavity and peritoneum is the mesothelial tissue that enfolds the organs in the abdominal cavity.

What is actually cancer mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects the mesothelium, a dual layered membrane with which our chest, lungs, abdomen and the heart is wrapped safely.

Cancer Mesothelioma can damage any of these cells, although pleural mesothelioma is more common; it metastasizes and at an advanced stage the disease reach to the other parts of the body like the lymph nodes, lungs, chest wall, or abdominal organs.

How is cancer mesothelioma caused?

Though asbestos exposure is the primary reason in 70% to 80% of the cases, mesothelioma can be caused by other means, like exposure to the chemical zeolite that is also present in asbestos.

Asbestos has become part of our daily life being in cement, brake linings, roof shingles, flooring products, textiles, and insulation. The asbestos fibers take their toll by going into our windpipe and settling in the internal organs causing the formation of carcinogenic tumors.

The overall scenario regarding cancer mesothelioma

Though there is a ban on certain asbestos products, around 1000 people in France and above 2000 people in the U.S are faced with this nightmare each year.

Mostly, workers from shipyards, asbestos mines and mills are prone to this mishap, due to a constant exposure to asbestos. However, it takes 30 to 50 years for the disease to surface and show symptoms though they are not always accurate.

Cancer mesothelioma is proving more than a menace and the average person live for 12-24 months; the earlier it is detected, the better is the cure process.

The recent picture

Today, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have put restrictions towards maintaining acceptable levels of asbestos exposure in the workplace. People who work with asbestos are geared up with individual protective equipment to lower their risk of exposure. Even the family members of the workers are prone to the disease, so they are advised to take a shower before leaving for home.

Symptoms of cancer mesothelioma

– Feeling out of breath and pain in the chest due to an accretion of fluid in the pleura
– Peritoneal mesothelioma comprises weight loss and abdominal pain and a bulging abdomen due to accumulation of fluid
– Bowel obstruction, blood clotting abnormalities, anemia, and fever
– Pain, trouble swallowing, or swelling of the neck or face

However, a registered medical practitioner can diagnose you correctly.

Diagnosis of cancer mesothelioma

Diagnosis commences with an assessment of the patient’s medical history, as well as any history of asbestos exposure. A complete physical examination may be performed, including:
-X-rays of the chest or abdomen
-A CT (or CAT) scan or an MRI may also be useful. A CT scan is a sequence of comprehensive pictures of areas inside the body created by a computer linked to an X-ray machine
-In an MRI, a strong magnet connected to a computer is used to draw meticulous pictures of areas affected by cancer mesothelioma inside the body. These pictures are viewed on a monitor and can also be printed
-A biopsy regarding the taking out of a sample tissue for examination is needed to verify a diagnosis of mesothelioma. Types of biopsy depending on the location of the tumor are thoracoscopy, peritoneoscopy

Lastly, the stage of the disease is important to the doctor for the correct diagnosis.

Cancer mesothelioma treatment

Treatment of cancer mesothelioma yields results depending on the site of the cancer, the phase of the disease, and the patient’s physical condition. The usual treatments for cancer mesothelioma are surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Occasionally, these treatments are combined.

Surgery is an effective way to remove tumor but the age of the person matters. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy are good ways to ward off the symptoms.

Often, high-end drugs are given to the patient to reduce the fluid formation in body.

Thus, it is better for the workers to get a medical check up at equal intervals and be aware of its symptoms. If a patient is diagnosed with cancer mesothelioma at the earliest stage, the treatments might do wonders for him.

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Malignant mesothelioma The cancer of the mesothelial cells

 what is Malignant Mesothelium

Malignant Mesothelium is the protective tissue that covers the chest cavity, abdominal cavity and the cavity around the heart and also produces a special lubricating fluid that allows the internal organs of the body to move around. Malignant Mesothelioma can be defined as the cancer of the mesothelial cells which become abnormal and start dividing without any order. Majority of the mesothelioma patients have a prior history of exposure to asbestos.

Types of malignant Mesothelioma

Malignant Mesothelioma or simply Mesothelioma can be divided into 3 main types namely
– Epithelioid
– Sarcomatoid
– Mixed/biphasic

Of these, Epithelioid is the most common (50% to 70% cases) and stands the best chance of recovery. Sarcomatoid type is seen in 7% to 20% cases whereas mixed/biphasic type is seen in 20% to 35% cases.

Approximately, of the total cases of Mesothelioma originates in the chest cavity (pleura) and is known as pleural mesothelioma. The cancer affecting the lining of the abdomen (peritoneum) is called the peritoneal mesothelioma and that affecting the sac like space around the heart (pericardial cavity) is called the pericardial mesothelioma. Mesothelioma at times also affects the covering layer of the testicles. However, the last two types of cases are quite rare.

Diagnosis of malignant Mesothelioma

The tumors of the mesothelium can either be benign (non cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). So whenever there are symptoms like shortness of breath, pain in chest/abdomen or swelling in the abdomen, you should consult your doctor immediately.

After the initial X-rays and scans, the doctor may look inside the chest cavity (in case of pleural tumor) with an instrument called thoracoscopy and the test is called thoracoscopy. In case of tumor in peritoneum the doctor may go for peritoneoscopy with the help of a tool called peritoneoscope. Finally, if the abnormal tissue is found then a biopsy is done, whereby a piece of the unnatural tissue is cut out and placed under microscope for examination.

After the confirmed diagnosis of Mesothelioma it is also essential to ascertain its stages i.e. whether it is in localized stage or in advanced stage. In the localized stage, the cancer is found in the lining of the chest cavity or in the diaphragm or the lung. Advanced malignant Mesothelioma can again be divided into 3 stages namely stage II, III and IV. In stage II, the cancer spreads beyond the chest lining to lymph nodes and in stage III it spreads into chest wall, center of the chest, heart, through the diaphragm or abdominal lining, etc. The final or the fourth stage is the one in which the cancer has already spread to distant organs.

Treatment

Depending on the stage of the cancer, its location and the health, age and medical history of the patient, 3 types of treatments are mated out to malignant Mesothelioma patients surgery (to remove the tumor), radiation therapy (application of high energy rays) and chemotherapy (usage of combination of drugs). This apart, if there is any accumulation of fluid in the chest or abdomen, then the doctor needs to drain it out and the process is regarded as thoracentesis and paracentesis respectively.

So be aware of the disease, such that you can prevent it at the very onset.

What Are The Risk Factors For Malignant Mesothelioma?

A risk factor is anything that increases your chance of getting a disease such as cancer. Different cancers have different risk factors. For example, exposing skin to strong sunlight is a risk factor for skin cancer. Smoking is a risk factor for cancers of the lung, mouth, larynx, bladder, kidney, and several other organs. Individuals exposed to asbestos should be encouraged to avoid tobacco exposure because together the risk for lung cancer is significantly higher than from smoking without a history of asbestos exposure. But having a risk factor, or even several, does not mean that you will get the disease.

Asbestos

The main risk factor for developing mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos. Asbestos refers to a family of fibrous minerals made of silicate. Asbestos was once used in many products such as insulation, floor tiles, door gaskets, soundproofing, roofing, patching compounds, fireproof gloves and ironing board covers, and even brake pads. As the link between asbestos and mesothelioma has become well known, the use of this material has almost stopped. Most use stopped after 1989, but it is still used in some products. Experts have linked this drop in asbestos use to the fact that the rate of development of mesothelioma is no longer increasing.

Still, up to 8 million Americans may already have been exposed to asbestos. Exposure to asbestos particles suspended in air and building materials is much less hazardous except when they are being removed.

Since asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral, it can also be found in dust and rocks in certain parts of the United States as well as the world.

According to the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, as many as 733,000 schools and public buildings in the country today contain asbestos insulation. As many as 10% to 15% of schools in the United States may contain asbestos insulation. People who may be at risk for occupational asbestos exposure include some miners, factory workers, insulation manufacturers, railroad workers, ship builders, gas mask manufacturers, and construction workers, particularly those involved with installing insulation. Several studies have shown that family members of people exposed to asbestos at work have an increased risk of developing mesothelioma, because asbestos fibers are carried home on the clothes of the workers.

There are 2 main forms of asbestos serpentine and amphiboles.

Serpentine fibers are curly and pliable. Chrysotile is the only type of serpentine fiber and it is the most widely used form of asbestos.

Amphiboles are thin, rod-like fibers. There are 5 main types crocidolite, amosite, anthophyllite, tremolite, and actinolite. Amphiboles (particularly crocidolite) are considered to be the most carcinogenic (cancer-causing).

However, even the more commonly used chrysotile fibers are associated with malignant (cancerous) mesotheliomas and should be considered dangerous as well.

When asbestos fibers are inhaled, most are cleared in the nose, throat, trachea (windpipe), or bronchi (large breathing tubes of the lungs). Fibers are cleared by sticking to mucus inside the air passages and being coughed up or swallowed. The long, thin, fibers are less readily cleared, and they may reach the ends of the small airways and penetrate into the pleural lining of the lung and chest wall. These fibers may then directly injure mesothelial cells of the pleura, and eventually cause mesothelioma.

Asbestos fibers can also damage cells of the lung and result in asbestosis (formation of scar tissue in the lung), and/or lung cancer. The risk of lung cancer among people exposed to asbestos is increased by 7 times, compared with the general population. Indeed, asbestosis, mesothelioma, and lung cancer are the 3 most frequent causes of death and disease among people with heavy asbestos exposure. Peritoneal mesothelioma, which forms in the abdomen, may result from coughing up and swallowing inhaled asbestos fibers. Cancers of the larynx, pancreas, esophagus, colon, and kidney may also come from asbestos exposure, but the increased risk is small.

The risk of developing a mesothelioma is related to how much asbestos a person was exposed to and how long this exposure lasted. People exposed at an early age, for a long period of time, and at higher levels are most likely to develop this cancer. Mesotheliomas take a long time to develop. The time between first exposure to asbestos and diagnosis of mesothelioma is usually between 20 and 50 years.

Diffuse Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma

Diffuse malignant pleural mesothelioma, or DMM, is a rare but highly aggressive type of cancer. It occurs in the thin layer of tissue, the pleura, lining the chest cavity and lungs. Once diagnosed with DMM, most patients do not survive beyond one year. This cancer is more common in men than in women, and in older people.

Most people with DMM have a history of exposure to asbestos; however, if they are not aware that such exposure occurred, they may be unaware that they are at risk. A patient with DMM typically has one or more of the following signs and symptoms: chest pain, shortness of breath, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, fever, or a cough. An x-ray usually shows that the pleural tissue around the lungs has thickened due to the development of a number of nodules or small cancerous growths. Sometimes, there may be a single large growth. When a biopsy of the cancer tissue is done, the types of cells that make up the cancer may be epithelioid, mixed, or sarcomatoid. People with epithelioid cell cancers tend to survive somewhat longer; those with sarcomatoid cancers usually have the shortest survival.

DMM is always treated as aggressively as possible. The type of treatment depends on the dominant cell type the cancer is made of, the extent of spread of the cancer, and the overall health of the person undergoing treatment. Surgery is a preferred option where the bulk of the cancer can be removed. Many anti-cancer drugs are being tried to treat DMM, with varying levels of short-term success. Radiotherapy may also be an option. A number of clinical trials are currently underway to try and find a treatment that may improve the outlook for DMM patients. However, only seven percent of people with DMM survive beyond five years.

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what is pleural mesothelioma

pleural mesothelioma

pleural mesothelioma is accumulation of excessive fluid in the pleural space, the potential space that surrounds each lung. Under normal conditions, pleural fluid is secreted by the parietal pleural capillaries at a rate of 0.6 milliliter per kilogram weight per hour, and is cleared by lymphatic absorption leaving behind only 5–15 milliliters of fluid, which helps to maintain a functional vacuum between the parietal and visceral pleurae. Excess fluid within the pleural space can impair inspiration by upsetting the functional vacuum and hydrostatically increasing the resistance against lung expansion, resulting in a fully or partially collapsed lung.

Various kinds of fluid can accumulate in the pleural space, such as serous fluid (hydrothorax), blood (hemothorax), pus (prothorax, more commonly known as pleural empyema), Chile (chylothorax), or very rarely urine (urinothorax). When unspecified, the term “pleural effusion” normally refers to hydrothorax. A pleural effusion can also be compounded by a pneumothorax (accumulation of air in the pleural space), leading to a hydropneumothorax.

Contents
Types of pleural mesothelioma 

Various methods can be used to classify pleural fluid.[1] By the origin of the fluid:

Serous fluid (hydrothorax)
Blood (hemothorax)
Chyle (chylothorax)
Pus (prothorax or empyema)
Urine (urinothorax)
By pathophysiology:

Transudative pleural effusion
Exudative pleural effusion
By the underlying cause (see next section).

Causes of pleural mesothelioma

Transudative
The most common causes of transudative pleural effusion in the United States are heart failure and cirrhosis. Nephrotic syndrome, leading to the loss of large amounts of albumin in urine and resultant low albumin levels in the blood and reduced colloid osmotic pressure, is another less common cause of pleural effusion. Pulmonary emboli were once thought to cause transudative effusions, but have been recently shown to be exudative.[2] The mechanism for the exudative pleural effusion in pulmonary thromboembolism is probably related to increased permeability of the capillaries in the lung, which results from the release of cytokines or inflammatory mediators (e.g. vascular endothelial growth factor) from the platelet-rich blood clots. The excessive interstitial lung fluid traverses the visceral pleura and accumulates in the pleural space.[citation needed]

Conditions associated with transudative pleural effusions include:[3]

Congestive heart failure
Liver cirrhosis
Severe hypoalbuminemia
Nephrotic syndrome
Acute atelectasis[4]
Myxedema
Peritoneal dialysis
Meigs’s syndrome
Obstructive uropathy
End-stage kidney disease
Exudative

Pleural effusion Anteroposterior Chest X-ray of a pleural effusion. The A arrow shows fluid layering in the right pleural cavity. The B arrow shows the normal width of the lung in the cavity
When a pleural effusion has been determined to be exudative, additional evaluation is needed to determine its cause, and amylase, glucose, pH and cell counts should be measured.

Red blood cell counts are elevated in cases of bloody effusions (for example after heart surgery or hemothorax from incomplete evacuation of blood).
Amylase levels are elevated in cases of esophageal rupture, pancreatic pleural effusion, or cancer.
Glucose is decreased with cancer, bacterial infections, or rheumatoid pleuritis.
pH is low in empyema (<7.2) and maybe low in cancer.
If cancer is suspected, the pleural fluid is sent for cytology. If cytology is negative, and cancer is still suspected, either a thoracoscopy, or needle biopsy[5] of the pleura may be performed.
Gram staining and culture should also be done.
If tuberculosis is possible, examination for Mycobacterium tuberculosis (either a Ziehl–Neelsen or Kinyoun stain, and mycobacterial cultures) should be done. A polymerase chain reaction for tuberculous DNA may be done, or adenosine deaminase or interferon gamma levels may also be checked.
The most common causes of exudative pleural effusions are bacterial pneumonia, cancer (with lung cancer, breast cancer, and lymphoma causing approximately 75% of all malignant pleural effusions), viral infection, and pulmonary embolism.

Another common cause is after heart surgery when incompletely drained blood can lead to an inflammatory response that causes exudative pleural fluid.

Conditions associated with exudative pleural effusions:[3]

Parapneumonic effusion due to pneumonia
Malignancy (either lung cancer or metastases to the pleura from elsewhere)
Infection (empyema due to bacterial pneumonia)
Trauma
Pulmonary infarction
Pulmonary embolism
Autoimmune disorders
Pancreatitis
Ruptured esophagus (Boerhaave’s syndrome)
Rheumatoid pleurisy
Drug-induced lupus
Other/ungrouped
Other causes of pleural effusion include tuberculosis (though stains of pleural fluid are only rarely positive for acid-fast bacilli, this is the most common cause of pleural effusions in some developing countries), autoimmune disease such as systemic lupus erythematosus, bleeding (often due to chest trauma), chylothorax (most commonly caused by trauma), and accidental infusion of fluids.[6] Less common causes include esophageal rupture or pancreatic disease, intra-abdominal abscesses, rheumatoid arthritis, asbestos pleural effusion, mesothelioma, Meigs’s syndrome (ascites and pleural effusion due to a benign ovarian tumor), and ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome.[6]

Pleural effusions may also occur through medical or surgical interventions, including the use of medications (pleural fluid is usually eosinophilic), coronary artery bypass surgery, abdominal surgery, endoscopic variceal sclerotherapy, radiation therapy, liver or lung transplantation, insertion of ventricular shunt as a treatment method of hydrocephalus,[7][8] and intra- or extravascular insertion of central lines.[citation needed]

Pathophysiology of the pleural mesothelioma

Pleural fluid is secreted by the parietal layer of the pleura and reabsorbed by the lymphatics in the most dependent parts of the parietal pleura, primarily the diaphragmatic and mediastinal regions. Exudative pleural effusions occur when the pleura is damaged, e.g., by trauma, infection, or malignancy, and transudative pleural effusions develop when there is either excessive production of pleural fluid or the resorption capacity is reduced. Light’s criteria[9] can be used to differentiate between exudative and transudative pleural effusions.[10]

Diagnosis of the pleural mesothelioma

A large left-sided pleural effusion as seen on an upright chest X-ray
A pleural effusion is usually diagnosed on the basis of medical history and physical exam, and confirmed by a chest X-ray. Once accumulated fluid is more than 300 mL, there are usually detectable clinical signs, such as decreased movement of the chest on the affected side, dullness to percussion over the fluid, diminished breath sounds on the affected side, decreased vocal resonance and fremitus (though this is an inconsistent and unreliable sign), and pleural friction rub. Above the effusion, where the lung is compressed, there may be bronchial breathing sounds and egophony. A large effusion there may cause tracheal deviation away from the effusion. A systematic review (2009) published as part of the Rational Clinical Examination Series in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that dullness to conventional percussion was most accurate for diagnosing pleural effusion (summary positive likelihood ratio, 8.7; 95% confidence interval, 2.2–33.8), while the absence of reduced tactile vocal fremitus made pleural effusion less likely (negative likelihood ratio, 0.21; 95% confidence interval, 0.12–0.37).[11]

Imaging of pleural mesothelioma
A pleural effusion appears as an area of whiteness on a standard posteroanterior chest X-ray.[12] Normally, the space between the visceral pleura and the parietal pleura cannot be seen. A pleural effusion infiltrates the space between these layers. Because the pleural effusion has a density similar to water, it can be seen on radiographs. Since the effusion has greater density than the rest of the lung, it gravitates towards the lower portions of the pleural cavity. The pleural effusion behaves according to basic fluid dynamics, conforming to the shape of pleural space, which is determined by the lung and chest wall. If the pleural space contains both air and fluid, then an air-fluid level that is horizontal will be present, instead of conforming to the lung space.[13] Chest radiographs in the lateral decubitus position (with the patient lying on the side of the pleural effusion) are more sensitive and can detect as little as 50 mL of fluid. Between 250 to 600mL of fluid must be present before upright chest X-rays can detect a pleural effusion (e.g., blunted costophrenic angles).[14]

Chest computed tomography is more accurate for diagnosis and may be obtained to better characterize the presence, size, and characteristics of a pleural effusion. Lung ultrasound, nearly as accurate as CT and more accurate than chest X-ray, is increasingly being used at the point of care to diagnose pleural effusions, with the advantage that it is a safe, dynamic, and repeatable imaging modality.[15] To increase diagnostic accuracy of detection of pleural effusion sonographic ally, markers such as boomerang and VIP signs can be utilized.[16]

 

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Peritoneal mesothelioma

 what is the Peritoneal mesothelioma

Peritoneal mesothelioma is the name given to the cancer that attacks the lining of the abdomen. This type of cancer affects the lining that protects the contents of the abdomen and which also provides a lubricating fluid to enable the organs to move and work properly.

The peritoneum is made of two parts, the visceral and parietal peritoneum. The visceral peritoneum covers the internal organs and makes up most of the outer layer of the intestinal tract. Covering the abdominal cavity is the parietal peritoneum.

Contents of the Peritoneal mesothelioma

Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include weight loss and abdominal pain and swelling due to a buildup of fluid in the abdomen. Other symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma may include bowel obstruction, blood clotting abnormalities, anemia, and fever. If the cancer has spread beyond the mesothelium to other parts of the body, symptoms may include pain, trouble swallowing, or swelling of the neck or face.[citation needed]

Causes of  Peritoneal mesothelioma

Asbestos is a known cause of peritoneal mesothelioma in humans.[excessive citations]

A 1975 study of three small villages in central Cappadocia, Turkey—Tuckey, Karin and —found that peritoneal mesothelioma was causing 50% of all deaths. Initially, this was attributed to erionite, a zeolite mineral with similar properties to asbestos, but detailed epidemiological investigation demonstrated that the substance causes the disease mostly in families with a genetic predisposition to mineral fiber carcinogenesis. The studies are being extended to other parts of the region.[8][9]

Diagnosis of Peritoneal mesothelioma

Peritoneal mesothelioma has two clinical types which can be differentiated with the help of CT findings, the “dry” type, and the “wet”. It is classified as “dry” when there are multiple tiny masses or one dominant localized mass and generally little or no ascites. The “wet” type has widespread small nodules, no dominant mass, and a presence of ascites. If fluid is found, the process of eliminating it is through paracentesis; however, the analysis of this fluid has limited diagnostic significance. Normally, a definitive diagnosis may be obtained through tissue biopsy.[citation needed]

Treatment of Peritoneal mesothelioma

Given its rarity, there are no established guidelines for the treatment of peritoneal mesothelioma. The modern approach to malignant peritoneal mesothelioma includes cytoreductive surgery,[10] hyperthermia intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC), intraperitoneal chemotherapy, and intravenous chemotherapy.[11] These are often used in conjunction and in a complementary fashion, and this multifaceted approach has significantly improved outcomes when compared to intravenous chemotherapy alone. For instance, the reported median survival time for patients with stage IV mesothelioma as reported by the American Cancer Society is 12 months;[12] however, with adequate cytoreduction, intraperitoneal, and intravenous chemotherapy combined, some authors report 10-year survival rates projected at nearly 75%.[13]

Multiple factors have been shown to be significant in predicting the outcome and overall survival. Age greater than 60 at surgery, more overall disease burden (defined as a PCI[dead link] greater than 15), complete cytoreduction (no visible disease), and epithelioid subtype pathology have all been shown to be predictors of both mortality and disease progression.[11] These known predictors notwithstanding, many patients with advanced peritoneal mesothelioma are still surgical candidates, and even patients with the highest possible score on the peritoneal carcinomatosis index (39) can be completely reduced to a PCI of 0 with adequate surgery.[14]

Peritoneal Mesothelioma The cancer of abdominal lining

One of the fatal types of mesothelioma is Peritoneal Mesothelioma in which the cancerous cells attack the lining of the abdomen called Peritoneum. Peritoneum is the thin membrane, which shields various organs of the abdomen and also provides a lubricating fluid to enable the organs to move and work properly. Peritoneal Mesothelioma, which affects this lining, is yet now a relatively rare disease that accounts for about 1/5 of all mesotheliomas. Its only known cause in the U.S. till date is previous exposure to asbestos.

Major symptoms

Though Mesothelioma is neither age nor sex specific, peritoneal Mesothelioma is mostly seen in men who are in the age group of 50-70 years. There are a number of symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma most of which start appearing after 20, 30 or 50 years after the exposure to asbestos. These symptoms may include weight loss (however, waist line may increase), pain or swelling in the abdomen, weakness, loss of appetite, bowel obstruction, anemia, nausea and fever. Also, fluid often accumulates in the peritoneal space leading to a condition called Ascites.

Diagnosis of peritoneal mesothelioma

The initial step towards detection of peritoneal mesothelioma includes X-rays and CT scans. For confirmed diagnosis, however the doctor needs to do biopsy whereby a piece of tissue is cut from the affected part of the victims body and is placed under microscope for examination. If the disease is detected at an early stage it stands better chance of getting cured than the state of diffuse peritoneal mesothelioma, where the cancer has already spread to various parts.

The cure

Its true that peritoneal mesothelioma is fatal and leads to several deaths every year. However, with continued researches, several modes of treatments have been embarked upon and in the future there is a fair chance of the disease becoming absolutely curable. The types of treatment of peritoneal mesothelioma include surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy.

In surgery a part of the abdominal tissue is cut out to remove the tumor. At times the doctor may also need to remove a lung or a portion of the diaphragm as per the requirement of the surgery. Radiation therapy, the second method, requires the application of high energy X-rays to shrink the tumor and kill the malignant cells. The rays may be applied from an external machine or by placing the radiation source directly to the affected part of the body, by means of plastic tubes. Last treatment type is the chemotherapy whereby a combination of drugs is applied to kill the cancer cells. The drugs may be administered by mouth in the capsule form or may be applied intravenously via needle.

However, it is essential to mention that cost of treating any form of cancer is extravagant and you may consult a mesothelioma lawyer to earn you a handsome compensation from the authority who was responsible for your prior exposure to asbestos.

So learn more about peritoneal mesothelioma so that you can initiate the treatment at the very early stage and get cured.

The Facts about Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Peritoneal mesothelioma is a rare form of mesothelioma that accounts for approximately 20% of all mesothelioma cases. Peritoneal mesothelioma affects the tissue lining the abdomen which is called the peritoneum hence the name of this form of the cancer. The peritoneum protects the contents of the abdomen and is therefore very important.

Currently, only one cause of peritoneal mesothelioma is known and this is exposure to asbestos dust and fibres. Only a couple of months of exposure to asbestos without sufficient protection can lead to peritoneal mesothelioma thirty to fifty years later. Those suffering from peritoneal mesothelioma are mostly elderly men who worked amongst asbestos decades ago when workers were not protected from asbestos dust. Many of these men are currently lodging multi-million dollar lawsuits against the companies who exposed them to asbestos. Asbestos fibers can get into the peritoneum in two different ways. The most common way they reach the peritoneum is by them getting trapped in the trachea (windpipe) and bronchi (inside the lungs) by mucus and end up being swallowed. From here they can pass through the intestine wall into the peritoneum. The second way in which asbestos fibers can reach the peritoneum is by them lodging inside the lungs. They then move into the lymphatic system and get transported to the peritoneum. Constant exposure to asbestos leads to a great number of fibers being built up in the peritoneum.

The symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma are generally only felt when the cancer has developed greatly. The symptoms include nausea, vomiting, weight loss, abdominal pains and loss of appetite. As the cancer matures, the symptoms will become more pronounced and severe. To learn more about the symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma go to http://www.1-mesothelioma.co.uk

There are several treatments for peritoneal mesothelioma although all of them have a poor success rate. The likelihood of a patient surviving depends on how early and aggressively the cancer is treated. Chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery are the most commonly used methods of treatment. Research into the treatment of peritoneal mesothelioma is being conducted in research stations in the United States and by many pharmaceutical companies.

 

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Mesothelioma

what is the Mesothelioma

Many people have never heard of Mesothelioma and are unaware of its symptoms. Although considered a rare form of cancer, each year the number of cases grows. With the prevalence of this disease on the rise, it is critical to understand why and how Mesothelioma develops and what courses of action can be taken in the event of diagnosis. The following are some questions and answers that will provide you with information on Mesothelioma.

**What is Mesothelioma?**

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer in which malignant (cancerous) cells are found in the mesothelium, a protective sac that covers most of the body’s internal organs. The organs most commonly affected are the lungs, heart and abdominal organs. The most common form of Mesothelioma is Pleural Mesothelioma — cancer of the lung lining. But cancerous cells are also found in the lining of the abdominal cavity (the peritoneum) and the lining around the heart (the pericardium).

**What causes Mesothelioma?**

Mesothelioma is almost always caused by exposure to asbestos. Asbestos is often found in building materials used before the mid 1970s. In addition, materials such as pipes, boiler insulation, floor, ceiling and roof tiles may contain asbestos. It is believed that even insignificant exposure to asbestos in environments such as asbestos mills, mines, shipping yards, some older Navy ships or even in patient’s homes can result in mesothelioma. In many cases mesothelioma does not occur for decades after initial exposure to this cancer-causing asbestos. 2000-3000 cases of mesothelioma per year are currently being diagnosed. Family members of workers exposed to asbestos can also contract this disease through exposure to the worker’s clothing. Like many other cancers, smoking greatly increases the risk of contracting mesothelioma.

**How much asbestos exposure will cause Mesothelioma?**

Generally, the probability of developing this form of cancer is directly related to the length of time you are exposed to asbestos. The health risk also increases with the intensity of the exposure to asbestos.

However, an exposure of as little as one or two months can result in mesothelioma 30 or 40 years later. At the age of 48, Canadian Member of Parliament Chuck Strahler, was recently diagnosed with mesothelioma and traces the cause back to changing brake pads on logging equipment after he graduated from high school. Stroh’s case is a good example of the fact that Mesothelioma has a latency period of anywhere from 20 to 50 years. Like thousands of others he developed the disease long after his exposure to asbestos.

**What are the symptoms of Mesothelioma?**

Mesothelioma is a very subtle form of cancer providing only a few noticeable symptoms until it becomes extremely advanced. 75% of all mesothelioma cases are Pleural mesothelioma – cancer of the lung lining. This type of cancer causes shortness of breath and/or chronic coughing that can easily be mistaken for allergies or a common cold. Mesothelioma is often discovered by accident when patients are being examined for these common symptoms. Other symptoms of pleural mesothelioma may include: chest pain, shortness of breath, chronic coughing that worsens over time, fatigue, wheezing, lung infection, hoarseness, weight loss, difficulty swallowing, chest or abdominal pain or blood in the phlegm from the lungs when coughing

Peritoneal mesothelioma affects the lining around the stomach and intestines and can be just as dangerous and deadly. Symptoms of Peritoneal mesothelioma include: pain or swelling in the abdomen, weight loss, bowel obstruction (blockage in the large or small intestines), anemia (reduced number of red blood cells) , and fever.

The onset of Mesothelioma is usually quite slow. Patients will begin to experience symptoms such as lower back pain and chest pain. Unfortunately, once Mesothelioma develops, it quickly becomes aggressive and treatment must be sought immediately.

**Can Mesothelioma be treated?**

Unfortunately, by the time most infected people become aware they have mesothelioma it has ceased being dormant and becomes extremely aggressive. Once it is no longer dormant, this type of cancer can travel quickly, and this makes it almost impossible to stop.

While there are treatments that are available in order to keep the patient comfortable, there is currently no cure for Mesothelioma, and as many as 75% of those who develop the disease will lose their life within one year. The remainder may last for up to an additional six months. Among the treatments that are used in order to reduce the effects of the disease are oxygen, postural drainage and pain killers. A wide range of treatment approaches are being tested, ranging from attempts to fortify the body’s natural immune system to gene therapy which tries to attack the problem at the DNA level to homeopathy, herbs and acupuncture. But none have yet been shown to be very effective once the disease reaches the aggressive stage.

Given the generally poor prognosis for people who do not catch the disease in time, early detection is the best defense against Mesothelioma. If you have worked in an industry such as construction or suspect that you may have been exposed to asbestos, be alert for symptoms and contact your doctor immediately. Like all forms of cancer, detecting Mesothelioma at the earliest stage possible greatly increases your chances for survival