Mesothelioma is a Very Dangerous Cancer Caused By Asbestos Exposure
There are different types of mesothelioma and if you show any symptoms you need to see a doctor immediately.
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer of the abdomen that is usually caused by exposure to asbestos, an industrial product used frequently in the early 20th century. Asbestos was commonly used for its resistance to fire and heat in things such as ovens and brake shoes for cars. It was also mixed with cement to increase the heat resistance of the cement. Asbestos is a fibrous material that can also be woven into cloth. The problem with Asbestos arises when it becomes old and brittle. When something containing asbestos is broken or brushed against, asbestos fibers are released into the air. Asbestos fibers can be thinner than one thousandth of a strand of human hair and invisible to the naked eye. Because they weigh so little they can be kept in the air for days, and when finally settled, the slightest breeze can put them back into the air.
Once asbestos enters the lungs it is absorbed into the mesothelium, a protective layer in your abdomen that protects your internal organs. Some of the common areas that mesothelioma can develop are the pleura, the pericardium, and the peritoneum, all linings of internal organs in the chest. There are several symptoms of mesothelioma however it can be confused with several other diseases so it may not be properly diagnosed until the disease has progressed significantly. Some symptoms of mesothelioma include wheezing, fatigue, and shortness of breath, swelling, and chest pain. Some of the symptoms of severe mesothelioma include low blood sugar, jaundice, blood clots, weight loss and severe internal bleeding.
Treatment of mesothelioma has largely proved unsuccessful and typically after a diagnosis the patient has less than a year to live. Radiation therapy can be used to restrict the growth of the cancer; however, because mesothelioma is usually located across a large portion of the chest, it’s impossible to focus the radiation on the cancer. The amount of radiation required to kill the mesothelioma in the chest would be fatal to the patient. There are chemotherapy procedures available as well; however, they only slow the growth of the cancer and are unable to eliminate it. There are surgical procedures available that do help slow the cancer however they are fairly major surgeries. The most common surgery is a pleurectomy, a procedure where the lining of the chest is removed. Because the lining of the chest is where the majority of the cancer grows, it helps prolong the patient’s life. It is possible to stop the disease however if caught early enough. Some survivors continue to live 20 years or more after their mesothelioma developed.
Beginning in the 1970’s, the use of asbestos has been heavily regulated in the United States and is rarely used. In the European Union, Japan and Australia it entirely banned. Asbestos litigation has been estimated to have a total cost of $250 billion dollars with over 600,000 claimants. Because mesothelioma sometimes takes 20 to 50 years to develop, the number of cases is expect to rise in the near future even though the exposure rate of asbestos is significantly lower now that in the past. So if you are diagnosed with this dangerous disease you should also talk to a mesothelioma attorney and see if they can offer you some advice and assistance.
by Shawn Walsh