Malignant mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer wherein cancerous cells are stored in the mesothelium, which is a covering that protects most of the body's internal organs.
About 2,000 new cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed each year in the U.S. Men tend to be diagnosed with the disease more often than women.
Asbestos and Mesothelioma
Exposure to asbestos—especially in the workplace—as occurred in up to 80% of cases of mesothelioma.
Asbestos is found in a wide variety of industrial products, including cement, brake linings, roof shingles, flooring products, textiles and insulation. It has been widely used in the building trades for many years and is still found in many older homes and commercial buildings.
Symptoms and Treatment
The symptoms of mesothelioma can appear many years after exposure to asbestos has occurred. Symptoms vary depending on the location of the mesothelioma and can include shortnus of breath, chest pain, weight loss, abdominal pain and swelling, bowel obstruction, blood clotting abnormalities, anemia, fever, generalized pain, trouble swallowing and swelling of the tissues of the face and neck.
Surgery, radiation and chemotherapy are commonly used—either separately or in combination—to treat mesothelioma.
Winning the Fight Against Mesothelioma
If you or someone you care about has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, research your options. Get multiple opinions before agreeing to risk and/or invasive treatments, explore unconventional and alternative therapies, and don't overlook caring for your general wellness. Eat a healthy diet, stay hydrated, get plenty of rest, exercise in moderation, reduce stressors and perform relaxation rituals on a daily basis.
Seek legal advice. If your diagnosis is the direct result of the negligence of an employer, landlord, manufacturer or other entity, you may be entitled to assistance with medical expenses and other compensation. Know your rights.
People who've been diagnosed with mesothelioma have a difficult road ahead of them, but it is far from the end of the road. I encourage you to remain positive and hopeful and to nurture your spirituality. Don't give in to the temptation to give up. You cannot afford to allow mesothelioma rob you and your loved ones of the many good years that lie ahead.