|What is Mesothelioma? A lot of people are not aware of |
this disease and thus, die due to the delay in
diagnosis. Millions of people die every year because of
cancer; it is among the most pervasive illnesses every
one of us is exposed to. Generally speaking, a cancer
is a group of diseases characterized by alarming rapid
growth of abnormal cells in the body. The disease can
affect almost any part of the body and among the most
commonly affected are the lungs. Cancer-causing
substances are everywhere, especially in the air that
we breathe so the lungs are vulnerable to several fatal
diseases. One rare cancer that affects the lungs is
Mesothelioma has been popularized only because of its
association with asbestos, a fibrous mineral form of
magnesium silicate used in fireproofing, chemical
filters, electrical insulation and others. Most of the
patients diagnosed with Mesothelioma have been
frequently exposed to asbestos. They are those who work
in construction sites, shipyards, insulator makers and
similar places. They usually inhale the impure fibers
from the asbestos that float through the air.
It can be noted that there are about 30-50 per cent of
Mesothelioma patients who did not have any exposure to
asbestos, which leads to the assumption that asbestos
may not be the sole cause of Mesothelioma. There are
some Mesothelioma patients, too, that had only little
exposure to asbestos but had contracted the disease.
Activities such as washing clothes of a person who has
been exposed to asbestos can still put a person at high
risk of Mesothelioma cancer. This disease takes years
to develop so a person exposed to asbestos might be
diagnosed with Mesothelioma only after 20-50 years of
Like other forms of cancers, Mesothelioma is named
after the part which is affected by the disease. In the
case of Mesothelioma, the malignant cells are found in
the mesothelium, a protective sac that covers different
internal organs. This protective sac produces fluid
that lubricates the organs, allowing them to move. They
allow the beating of the heart and expanding and
contracting of the lungs, for example. Specifically,
Mesothelioma affects the lining of the lung and chest
cavity. There are some cases, too, that the lining of
the abdomen (peritoneum) is the one affected. These two
types of Mesothelioma cancer are known as Pleural
Mesothelioma (affecting the lungs) and Peritoneal
Mesothelioma (affecting the abdomen).
Symptoms of Pleural Mesothelioma include panting,
persistence of cough, loss of weight, fever and chest
pain. On the other hand, Peritoneal Mesothelioma may
cause swelling and pain of the abdomen and also weight
loss. During the early stages of Mesothelioma, the
symptoms are non-specific; thus, the disease is not
immediately identified. Also, the symptoms are often
mistaken as signs of pneumonia. There are instances too
that the patient doesn’t show any sign of this deadly
If a patient manifests any of the said symptoms, he
must immediately seek a physician’s help. Usually, an
xray is required to clearly see the abnormalities in
the lungs (in the case of Pleural Mesothelioma).
Indications of a Mesothelioma cancer include a build-up
of fluid between the pleura covering of the chest wall
and the diaphragm. In normal conditions, the
mesothelial cells produce only small amount of fluid
enough to lubricate the space between the chest wall
and the lung.
The chance of a patient’s recovery from Mesothelioma
depends on the extent or stage of the disease and
location of the disease. Furthermore, the person’s age
and the way he responds to treatment and medication can
tell whether he can survive the cancer or not.
Generally the patient’s option for treatment include:
surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and anticancer
About the Author
David Arnold Livingston is an advocate for health
issues and suggests you check out:
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