Mesothelioma Disease Asbestos

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Learning about Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma disease asbestos cancer


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. 

Many 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 abdomen. 

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 anemia.

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 developing it. 

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 respiratory problems.

Author: Wes Calinetter 

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© Anthony George 2005