Thursday, November 18, 2010
Asbestos is a material used for insulation, which is resistant to heat and fire. It is used in the construction or engineering of buildings, ships, household appliances and motors. It has been reported that there is a higher incidence of mesothelioma in males because this type of caner is work related. Males are commonly hired for the construction or engineering of buildings, ships, motors and household appliances which causes the increased incidence of mesothelioma in males.
There are three types of asbestos namely the blue, white and brown. These are all linked to cancer which caused asbestos to be banned in many countries such as the UK. Asbestos is made up of tiny fibers that can be breathed into the lung. It then works its way to the pleura irritating and damaging the mesothilial cell. Some asbestos might be coughed up as a defense of the body to get rid of the irritating foreign body that has entered the lung. When this happens the asbestos goes to the mouth and is then swallowed. It then works its way to the internal organs of the abdominal cavity irritating and damaging the peritoneum or the mesothilium, which the tissue made up of mesothelial cells that covers the internal organs. Upon exposure to asbestos, the fibers are deposited in the clothing of the worker. The worker exposed to asbestos spreads it to his family when he gets home through his clothing. This puts the family at high risk to developing mesothelioma since they are also exposed through asbestos.
There are also less common causes of mesothelioma. It has been found out that exposure to radiation can also cause pleural and peritonieal mesothelioma. Thoratast or thorioum dioxide was used in x-ray tests in the 1950s. Exposure to a mineral in turkey, which is called the Zeolite can also cause the cancer mesothelioma. The virus SV40 also known as the simian virus increases the risk of developing mesothelioma. It acts as a co-factor when the person is exposed to another risk factor, amplifying the possibility of developing mesothelioma.
It is not easy to diagnose mesothelioma. There is no specific screening for mesothelioma. People who are high risk to develop mesothelioma should be checked periodically in order to spot mesothelioma at the earliest stage possible so prompt treatment may be done. There are some signs and symptoms the doctors watch out to get further tests to confirm mesothelioma. Pain, swelling tenderness to any area and a possible lump are the common complaints that are considered.
Blood test is then done to evaluate the person's general health. If doctor suspects that the person may have peritoneal mesothelioma, the person may have abdominal x-ray, abdominal CT scan or abdominal MRI scan to check and confirm for swelling and fluid accumulation in the abdomen. Abdoparacentsis or fluid drainage from the abdomen may be done to relieve the swelling and pain around the abdomen and to see if there are malignant or cancerous cells in the fluid. Laparoscopy or biopsy of the abdominal lining or peritoneum may be done, wherein they get a tissue sample of the abdominal lining and check if the mesothelial cells are damaged by cancer.
If these tests confirm that one has peritoneal mesothelioma, it is then evaluated if it has spread to other parts of the body. This is called staging or determining the gravity of the cancer itself. This process is very important to determine what action or treatment will be done. A PET scan may be done to see how the cells are working. PET stands for positron emission tomography. This is done if the peritoneal mesothelioma cancer is treatable through surgery. This shows the extent of spread of the cancer cells to the other parts of the body like the lymph nodes and other organs.
The ancient art of Acupuncture has been around for thousands of years in the east. This therapy has recently been recognized in the United States as being very effective at alleviating the pains suffered by cancer victims. Many oncologists from around the country are recommending this treatment in conjunction with other more traditional treatments to make for pain alleviation.
Meditation has been very much recommended as an effective alternative treatment plan that allows the cancer patient to reduce both stress and pain. Some doctors also suggest that meditation can also aid the bodies immune function.
Hypnosis is another accepted way for a cancer patient to reduce his or her pain. Hypnosis should always be performed by a licensed and experienced professionals usually referred to as an hypnotist.
It should however be noted that in some cases ,orthodox medical therapy can be combined with alternative medical options for the treatment of peritoneal mesothelioma;as the ultimate aim is the effective management and/or the treatment mesothelioma .Majority of patients would normally go for the alternative therapies as the are less painful,effective and also cheaper as compared to the exorbitant bills charged for the orthodox medical treatments sucn as chemotherapy
As in the case of any disease timely diagnosis is crucial in the treatments of mesothelioma. Once the doctors understand the stage disease, they can decide upon the course of treatment to be followed. The main factor to be understood is whether the cancer has spread or not. Even though research work is in progress, till now there is no cure for the disease except surgery. But it is a sad state of affair in the case of these cancer patients, it must have spread beyond the point where it could be removed surgically. Hence active symptom control is the only alternative left.
Radiotherapy is popularly used as part of the treatment to control symptoms of the disease. Along with that Chemotherapy is also used for the same purpose and for slowing down the growth of mesothelioma. A patient suffering from this type of cancer will be looked after by a multidisciplinary team rather than a single specialist. This specialist team includes surgeons who are experienced in chest surgery, nurses who give information and support, oncologists (radiotherapy and chemotherapy specialists), symptom control specialists, radiologists who help to analyze x-rays, pathologists who give advice on the type and extent of cancer etc. Other staff like physiotherapists, counselors and psychologists, social workers, dieticians etc will be readily available for help. Depending on the age, general health and impact of the disease on the person, together they decide the course of treatment to be followed.
Though the treatment to be followed will be decided by a team of cancer specialists, it is always better to go for a second opinion treatment. The second opinion may cause a delay in starting the treatment. But the doctor and the patient should have the confidence that it would be beneficial. How ever, before the treatment starts, the team has to get the consent of the patient. He should be made aware of the type and extent of the treatment, its advantages and disadvantages, significant risks or side effects and information regarding other treatment that can be availed.
Mostly people are afraid of cancer treatment thinking of its side effects. But these side effects can be controlled with medicines.The potential benefits of the treatment will vary from person to person. For those who are in the early stage of the disease, surgery and radiotherapy can be considered with the aim of curing the disease. Even some who are in the advanced stage may respond to the treatment well resulting in controlling the symptoms, thereby leading a better quality of life. But for some unlucky ones the treatment will bring only side effects without any relief in the symptoms. Any how the decision to carry on with the treatment will be difficult to make when the aim is controlling cancer and not curing it.
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Mesothelioma symptoms and symptoms of other asbestos-related cancers often manifest decades after exposure to asbestos. Asbestos exposure usually occurs by inhalation of airborne asbestos fibers. Once asbestos fibers are inhaled, they become trapped in organs such as the lungs. These fibers can lead to the development of asbestos cancer decades later. Mesothelioma symptoms that a patient exhibits can vary depending on the type of mesothelioma involved. Common mesothelioma symptoms include shortness of breath, coughing of blood, abdominal swelling, night sweats, fever and unexplained weight loss.
Mesothelioma cancer has four stages of development. Accurate identification of the stage is important for the purpose of treatment. In the first stage of mesothelioma, the cancer is local to its point of origin in the body. In the second stage, the cancer has spread to regions of the body near the point of origin. In the third stage, mesothelioma has usually spread to more distant areas. In the fourth stage, the cancer can be found in the most remote areas of the body.
Presently, there is no cure for mesothelioma. However, there are mesothelioma treatments techniques that can be effective if applied during the early stages of mesothelioma. These treatment techniques include radiation therapy, photodynamic therapy, immunotherapy, gene therapy and surgery. Unfortunately, not all patients benefit from these treatment techniques. Patients whose cancer is at an advanced stage may not be eligible for one or more mesothelioma treatment approaches. However, there are many clinical trials underway for experimental drugs designed to treat mesothelioma. Mesothelioma patients should speak to their doctors about participating in these clinical trials.
People who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma should also consider contacting an experienced mesothelioma attorney. Asbestos exposure often occurs through the recklessness of companies in the asbestos industry. Many companies knew of the lethal dangers of asbestos but failed to disclose those dangers for the sake of protecting business interests. Further, many companies in the asbestos industry failed to provide protective equipment such as masks that could have prevented exposure to asbestos. As such, people suffering from mesothelioma may be entitled to file legal claims against companies responsible for their exposure to asbestos.
Mesotheliomas are either easily curable or malignant. The most widespread form of mesothelioma is the "diffuse malignant pleural mesothelioma". This tumor is invasive and destructive. It characteristically spreads quickly to the lungs' surface, heart or abdominal organs. Life expectancy for patients afflicted by this cancer usually ranges between four months to two years. Of course, that depends a lot on myriad factors, like the stage of the disease's detection, the patient's health etc. With appropriate care, some patients have survived for a number of years.
Early diagnosis and surgery may elongate life expectancy. Surgery may not be a feasible option, however, for older or weaker patients. Radiation treatment and chemotherapy can help in the overall program. Home care and pain management are other alternatives during the later stages of the malignancy.
Automobile mechanics, painters, plasterers, pipe fitters, plumbers, shipyard workers and welders, to name a few, are in regular contact with asbestos and thus in greater danger of getting the disease than individuals of other professions.
Generally, it is believed that sustained exposure to asbestos is more liable to give one mesothelioma. However, some individuals with short but severe exposures have developed this malignancy. Also, a person can get this disease indirectly. Women, while washing the clothes of men (son, husband) who work with asbestos, can develop the cancer.
Cancer mesothelioma is definitely in a problematic state with the average person living for 12-24 months upon diagnosis. If you can detect it sooner, your chances for treatment success are far greater. The prescribed treatment of cancer mesothelioma has varying results depending on the location of the cancer cells, the stage of the disease and the patient's over-all physical state. The typical treatments for cancer mesothelioma are radiation therapy, surgery and chemotherapy. There are many different types of cancer mesothelioma and they are all life threatening with approximately 2000 Americans diagnosed every year.
Asbestos is the Cause
This is a frightening fact because most of the authorities that OKed its use were aware of the possible illness. They knew that the handlers were bringing the dangerous substance home with them as well. That being the case, not only were the handlers exposed, but many of their family members were. Many of these family members with 2nd hand exposure developed the asbestos cancer, mesothelioma. When you are told the bad news of having asbestos related mesothelioma, the good news is a mesothelioma lawyer can help you fight those responsible for this cancer. As a worker if you have mesothelioma, the employer or company that put you into contact with asbestos is clearly accountable and your family deserves worthy compensation. Almost all cases of malignant mesotheliomas happen in people who have been exposed to asbestos, on the job or by people they live with. The affected person is able to claim the compensation amount from the firms that knowingly exposed you to asbestos spores. An individual who has got mesothelioma through the contact of asbestos should seek immediate legal assistance to claim the compensation. By simply avoiding contact to asbestos it can largely prevent malignant mesotheliomas.
What are the Symptoms?
At the beginning stages of Mesothelioma the symptoms are non-critical; therefore the disease is not that prevelent and has a fairly good success rate. However with pleural mesothelioma it affects the outer lining of your lungs with symptoms like coughing, chest pains, breathing and swallowing difficulties, wheezing, shortness of breath or loss of weight. These are the same symptoms that apply to many less serious illnesses but you are strongly advised to consult a physician immediately if you even suspect you have been exposed to Asbestos. The incubation period of the can be over years, often many years. A lot of suspicion is needed to make a timely diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma as the symptoms can be very subtly. This is because many of the symptoms are experienced in other sickness conditions. This usually means that Delay in the diagnosis is very common in most of the cases making its recovery rate difficult. Many times the symptoms can appear as non-specific to the patient and their medical professional. One of the biggest problems with pericardial mesothelioma is that its symptoms begin appearing in the cancer's latest stages. Remember that the onset of mesothelioma asbestos lung cancer is almost always very slow: if you are experiencing any symptoms it is not worth chalking it up for a common cold and moving on. Consult your family physician now.
Mostly in the Chest
Most of the Mesothelioma symptoms are caused by excess fluid between the lining of the lung and the chest cavity. You may experience extreme pain in the ribs or chest which is also agitated by the spread of the cancerous tumor. To provide relief from the symptoms and help regulate discomfort, doctors may use a needle or a thin tube which serves as a drain to the chest or abdomen area. This procedure is known as thoracentesis and removal of fluid from the abdomen is called paracentesis.
What are the Treatments?
Mesothelioma cancer is currently treated with 3 types of treatment and the patient's general health and age. These treatments depend on the cancer location and the disease stage. They include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy, not necessarily in that order. They are sometimes are used together to fight the disease. Because this diseases symptoms are slow and steady, the success of many traditional treatments are very limited. Usually before a patient is treated, a doctor will evaluate them first, and then make a prescribed plan for treatment. Unfortunately, aggressive treatment strategies are almost always used, but it really boils down to how far the cancer has spread. Mesothelioma cancer has no known cure but, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and other pain treatments can help the patient deal with the discomforts and increase the life expectancy.
Surgery is Very Common
When surgery is scheduled, many tests are done to make sure the surgeons know the cancer has not spread. When the patient is young, strong and healthy, more aggressive surgery will be employed. Surgery is performed in 2 different ways. The 2nd way is a palliative procedure which is used for the purpose of reducing the symptoms of the cancer and not curing. Effective treatment surgery cannot be performed. Surgery is the most common conventional option for treating peritoneal mesothelioma cancer. The future is pretty grim for those with peritoneal mesothelioma, however new peritoneal mesothelioma treatments are being developed and experimented with every day, so there is always hope for a breakthrough.
Mesothelioma is the growth of malignant cells in mesothelium, the thin membrane covering the body's internal organs. This mesothelium lining covers the pleural, peritoneal and pericardial cavities. Pleura is a membrane covering the lungs and it is the most common location where mesothelioma cancer occurs also known as pleural mesothelioma. Peritoneum, the protective covering that lines the abdominal cavity may also develop malignant tumors and cause peritoneal mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is one of the rarest cancers in the world that is caused only by exposure to asbestos. Its exposure can be direct, by inhalation of asbestos or indirect exposure in which the asbestos particles are inhaled from the clothing, hair, equipment or other articles that were previously exposed to asbestos.
Causes of Mesothelioma Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous mineral that is mined in different parts of the world due to its wide utility in various industries. However, it is a deadly carcinogen too and a mojor cause of mesothelioma and asbestosis.
Asbestos fibers are known to cause cancer of the mesothelium. Asbestos is the fibrous form of several minerals and hydrous silicates of magnesium found under ground. There are 3 types of asbestos, the blue one, the while one and the brown one. Of all these 3 types, the blue one also called amphibole, long and thin in structure is more carcinogenic than white or chrysolite asbestos or the brown one known as amosite.
However, in some cases the brown asbestos has also been found to cause mesothelioma. And it is for this reason that people exposed to asbestos even for a short period are vulnerable to the disease.
Pleural Mesothelioma Asbestos fibers are very fine and easily make their way to the lungs where they settle down in the parenchyma of the lung and penetrate the pleura that later develops malignant mesothelial plaques.
Pleura, which anchors lungs to the chest cavity, is itself a double-layered membrane. The inner layer called visceral pleura surrounds the lungs, while the outer one, known as parietal pleura, forms the lining of the pleural or chest cavity. The two pleural layers are filled with a fluid that helps them to slide over each other as we breathe. As the disease progresses, the delicate pleural membranes thicken and press the lungs. A fluid secreted by the malignant cells, pleural effusion, may also collect between visceral and parietal pleurae that causes problem in breathing and other complications.
Peritoneum Mesothelioma The asbestos fibers may also cause cancer in the peritoneum, known as peritoneal mesothelioma. This leads to thickening of the membranes surrounding abdominal organs and collection of a fluid, ascites in the abdominal cavity making it swell.
Though it is yet not clear how peritoneal mesothelioma develops, it is believed that from lungs, the asbestos fibers are transported to abdomen and its organs by the lymphatic system or they may be deposited in the gut through saliva contaminated by the asbestos fibers.
Pericardial Mesothelioma This is the rarest type of mesothelioma cancer that comprises of only 5% of all the mesothelioma cases. Like other types of mesothelioma cancer, pericardial mesothelioma is also caused by the inhalation of asbestos dust and fibers. The lining of the chest cavity which protects the heart is known as pericardium. It is provided with a natural fluid or mucous that provide continuous lubrication to the heart so that it can work properly and perform its functions.
As the asbestos particles settle further into the lining of the chest or pericardial, the cancer spreads in the body. It destroys the heart tissues and muscles that is very hazardous to life and proves fatal for the patient.
Laura Russell is a professional health writer having expertise in the field of Mesothelioma Cancer.