Learning about Mesothelioma
The form of cancer known as Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to
asbestos. Most asbestos has been removed from public and private
locations, because of the threat of this illness.
Far from all cases of this asbestos related disease are
known, since it takes between 10 and 50 years to exhibit the symptoms and the threat of asbestos exposure does still exist.
people who have been exposed years ago are still at risk for this cancer.
People who may have breathed particles of asbestos as far back as 1955 may
still develop this problem, and there may still be unknown pockets of
asbestos lurking about.
There are three known types of Mesothelioma ~ pleural, peritoneal and
pericardial, each attacking a different area of the body. Technically
speaking, Mesothelioma refers to cancer of the mesothelium, which is a sac
that lines and protects vital organs, such as in the case of the lungs and
heart. When Mesothelioma is present, the cells within the lining of
mesothelium become cancerous.
The most common form of the illness ~ Pleural Mesothelioma ~ targets
the lungs, their protective lining and cavity. When fluid builds up
between the lung lining and chest cavity as a result of the disease,
pleural effusion is the result. In addition, other symptoms may make their
presence known, which may include shortness of breath, difficulty
breathing, persistent coughing, difficulty swallowing, rasping, bloody
discharge from coughing, fever and weight loss.
The Peritoneal version is a rarer form of the illness. It affects the
stomach and abdominal region. This cancer may first be present in the
abdomen, but it can spread quickly to other parts of the body. In this
form of the cancer, tumors form which press against the wall of the
The pressure of these tumors directly causes abdominal pain and
swelling. The indirect results are loss of appetite, nausea, chest pains,
bowel obstructions, and difficulty in breathing. These lead to fever and
The rarest of all types of the ailment is Pericardial Mesothelioma.
This version, targets the heart and the surrounding cavity.
Once again, tumors form, causing similar symptoms as Peritoneal
Mesothelioma, such as shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chest
pain, palpitations and persistent coughing.
Because it exhibits many symptoms that other diseases exhibit, the
disease is difficult to diagnose. Both heart disease and pneumonia
cause shortness of breath; heart disease causes chest pain, etc. So
Mesothelioma will not be assumed as a cause of these symptoms if the
patient is not aware of any prior exposure to asbestos.
This cancer is not
often pursued by physicians as a cause of these symptoms, unless all other
possible diseases have been ruled out.
Shipbuilders, drywall removers, construction workers, firemen,
mechanics and demolition workers are those types of workers who are most
prone to asbestos exposure. As a result, they are the most prone to
Tragically, those who are close to the victims, may be at high risk for developing
it themselves, because
asbestos fibers cling to skin, hair, clothing and shoes. They can then,
become airborne and eventually be inhaled by those who are in close
proximity to the victims of the disease.
There is no known cure for the disease. It can be treated so that
patients can suffer less, and support services can be put into place to
help them cope, but the diagnosis of the disease is a death sentence.
Those who are diagnosed with the disease usually lose their lives within
one to one and one half years of the diagnosis. The primary therapy is to
keep patients as comfortable as help them to manage their pain and
Author: Wes Calinetter
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