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Mesothelioma - Deadly Cancer

Updated on September 20, 2011

What is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive type of cancer that affects the mesothelium which is the thin, protective membrane that covers the heart, lungs and other internal body organs. Mesothelioma is most commonly caused by exposure to asbestos fibers.

In mesothelioma patients, the damaged cells divide quickly and cause damage to nearby tissue. The damaged tissue takes over the healthy tissue and causes extensive, irreversible damage.


What Causes Mesothelioma and Who Is At Risk?

Malignant Mesothelioma is most commonly caused by exposure to asbestos fibers. People who have had or currently have jobs where asbestos is used, are generally at risk.

There is also risk for people who come into contact with clothing and other items that are tainted by asbestos fibers. The is a similar phenomena to the "second-hand smoke" threat.


Types of Mesothelioma

There are 4 forms of Mesothelioma: peritoneal, pericardial, pleural, and testicular

The most common form of mesothelioma is pleural mesothelioma and appears in about 70% of all patients diagnosed. This particular type of the disease develops in the lining of the lungs, called the pleura or pleural membrane.

It is caused by inhaling asbestos fibers. Once the fibers enter the lungs, they travel to the pleural membrane and become trapped. Over a period of time, the fibers cause scarring of the lungs and the formation of tumors. Oncethe pleural cells become cancerous, they divide rapidly which reduces lung capacity and creates fluid build up.

An early diagnosis can greatly prolong the patient's life expectancy but once the disease is diagnosed, it is normally too late to treat because it is caught in the later stages.


Symptoms

Mesothelioma has no symptoms or warning signs during the early stages. Once the symptoms are noticeable, the cancer is most likely in the late stages. This is why if you are at risk, it's important to ask your doctor or physician about mesothelioma and have them

Symptoms may include:

  • Night sweats
  • Fatigue
  • Heart palpitations
  • Lower back pain
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Anemia
  • Shortness of breathe
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Coughing up blood


Treatment

Although there is no cure for this agressive cancer, it can be managed when detected early. Proper treatment can increase the life expectancy and life quality of the patient.

Here are the primary options when it comes to mesothelioma treatment. Most treatment plans include a combination of two or more of the treatment types show below.

Surgery: To remove and restructure the affected area. Surgery is the most invasive method and focuses on removing malignant tissue in an effort to prevent the cancer from spreading.

Radiation: If a patient is too weak for surgery, then radiation treatment may be an option. Radiation is used to kill the abnormal (cancerous) cell structures. One of the issues with this type treatment is that it also kills a lot of healthy cells, including white blood cells.

Chemotherapy: Provides relief from pain and discomfort brought on by the disease. It also involves the use of drugs and chemicals that can help stop the growth of cancerous cells.

Natural/Homeopathic Treatment: More and more people are pursuing more natural remedies to cancer. It is unfortunate that the mainstream health system does not attempt to employ and benefit from proven natural and homeopathic remedies.


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    • sassyabby1 profile imageAUTHOR

      sassyabby1 

      7 years ago from ATL

      Hi glassvisage, thanks for visiting the Hub!

      The really sad thing about this and other similar situations -- few if any of the victims of the disease ever had a clue that the asbestos they worked with many years ago was slowly affecting their health.

    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 

      7 years ago from Northern California

      I see a lot of commercials about this condition, and it seems as though people can fight back if they got it from asbestos. Very interesting, and I'm glad that there is no one I know who suffers from this.

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