Mesothelioma: Causes, Treatments, and Symptoms
Mesothelioma can take decades to diagnosis and affects 2,000 Americans a year.
Malignant mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer where malignant cancer cells are found in the sac lining the chest, the lining of the abdominal cavity, or the lining around the heart. Reported incidences have been on the rise in the last 20 years, however it still remains as a relatively rare form of cancer, with about 2,000 cases diagnosed in the United States every year.
Mesothelioma is found more often in men rather than women and the risks of acquiring it are correlated with age. It is caused from inhalation of asbestos, usually occurring in work environments. And according to the National Cancer Institute: "A history of asbestos exposure at work is reported in about 70 percent to 80 percent of all cases." Lawsuits arising from Mesothelioma claims are on the rise, and many of those affected are hiring attorneys and seeking legal restitution. Many lawyers are basing their entire practice on Mesothelioma lawsuits.
However, mesothelioma has been reported in some individuals without any known exposure to asbestos." The duration of time between exposure to asbestos and diagnosis of the cancer can be large. The disease can often take decades to surface and just a few months of exposure can create symptoms years later.
Mesothelioma is extremely deadly and should be taken very seriously. Diagnosis of the disease often leaves its victims with an expected survival of only eight to twelve months. A biopsy is needed to confirm the diagnosis so it is best to consult a physician as soon as possible.
Early symptoms are indistinct and hard to diagnose. "One of the most common symptoms of mesothelioma is a pleural effusion, or an accumulation of fluid between the parietal pleura (the pleura covering the chest wall and diaphragm) and the visceral pleura (the pleura covering the lungs) (Mesothelioma Web)."
While doctors are unable to test for asbestos in the body, they are able to test for common symptoms of asbestos exposure which include:
- Material rinsed out of the lungs
The most common early symptoms of asbestos-related diseases are:
- Bood in sputum
- Cough or change in cough pattern
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Shortness of breath
- Pain in chest or abdomen
- Weight loss
Patients can find support through a variety of treatments and with various clinics. However the most common three treatments are: surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. Each treatment can be brief described as follows:
Surgery is a common treatment for the disease and it usually involves removal part of the lining of the chest or abdomen and some of the tissue around it.
Chemotherapy uses anticancer drugs to kill cancer cells throughout the body. Most of the drugs given for mesothelioma are given through intravenous.
Raditation Therapy "also called radiotherapy, involves the use of high-energy rays to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation therapy affects the cancer cells only in the treated area (National Caner Institute)."
The National Cancer Institute is also exploring new treatments through clinical trials.
If you have been are experiencing symptoms closely related to the ones described above please consult a doctor. If you or a family member have been affected by mesothelioma it is possible to receive compensation through legal channels by consulting a lawyer.
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