- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
Mesothelioma (Rare Cancer) Signs and Symptoms
Brief History Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is a rare form of lung cancer that has been brought to our attention with continual ads telling us if you believe you have been around Asbestos contact so and so immediately. What the commercial fails to tell you is the history the signs or the symptoms it touches completely on the possible cause. Mesothelioma takes years to develop symptoms of the cancerous disease could take 20 to 50 years and does not show up normally until a person is in there 60's however in the last few years a number of reports have claimed that there has been an increase in men over 55 years of age who have worked in factories, shipyards, oil refineries ,old buildings where asbestos has been found to be prominent. Asbestos has been the major cause of Mesothelioma in the United States surpassing other types of lung cancers brought on by other elements. Asbestos was used through the 1980's until it was found that it was a health danger for any human who was in working around it continually. Despite continual efforts to remove Asbestos from our environment, many public buildings and private buildings still contain Asbestos today. Those who remove it are required to wear personal safety and breathing equipment to reduce their chances of exposure to Asbestos.
Signs and Symptoms
It is very difficult to diagnose Mesothelioma becuause the signs are similiar to normal lung cancers and other cancerous diseases. When you are first examined by your medical doctor they will ask you some of your symptoms do a complete physical examination and request a complete medical history incuding asking you if you have ever been exposed to Asbestos. Although early detection is complicated your Doctor will run you through a series of tests such as a Chest X-Ray, CT Scan, or an MRI Scan these tests allow your Doctor to determine and differentiate Mesothelioma from other types of lung tumors and diagnose the location of the tumor and its size. Your doctor may determine that he/she has to remove a tissue sample from the tumor (biopsy) or draw fluids (aspirate) from it to determine the actual diagnosis.
Most commonly known symptoms of pleural Mesothelioma are difficulty in breathing, chest pain or both. Less commonly known symptoms are night sweats, cough, weight loss, fever and an overall feeling of not being well or up to speed. Symptoms of peritoneal Mesothelioma include a mass in the abdomen, sweats, fluid in the abdominal cavity, weighty loss, bowel obstruction,anemia, fever, blood clotting abnormalities.
Mesothelioma tends to metastasize and spread in others ways compared to a normal tumor rather then forming a lump like a normal tumor what it chooses to do is extend from the pleural lining pressing against the lung or abdominal organs. It also grows along the lining of the lung creating a hard casing making it difficult for a person to breathe. Mesothelioma tends to stay in the abdominal cavity, chest area or lungs before spreading to other organs later unless the disease has been caught in later stages.
Lung Cancer Treatment
Treating lung cancer depends on several factors including the type of cancer, the size, the location the extent of the tumor and the health and well being of the person. Many different treatments are used to treat lung cancer patients some are used in comination while others are used to make the person more comfortable. Listed are several that are commonly used when a person is diagnosed with Mesothelioma or any type of lung cancer.
1. Chemotherapy: This is a anticancer drug to kill cancer cells throughout the body, many anticancer drugs are given by (IV) Intravenous or by means of a catheter which is placed in the vein and left there as long as it is needed other options include an anticancer drug in the form of a pill.
2. Radiation Therapy: Most commonly called radiotherapy is normally used in combination with chemotherapy as a primary treatment to kill the cancer. It may be used before or after to kill the cancer cells in the area that is being treated.
3.PDT (Photodynamic Therapy): This is a laser type of therapy that is injected into the bloodstream and absorbed by blood cells all over the body.The chemical normally leaves the normal cells and remains in the cancer cells for a very long period of time. A laser aimed at the cancer activates the chemicals which kills the cancer cells that have absorbed the chemical.
4. Surgery: Everyone has heard that surgery is not the best thing once you are opened cancer can spread. This could be an option in some occassions , this type of surgery is called a lobectomy your doctor would determine if this is the best option for you or not.
Before you make your decision on types of treatments always speak with your doctor and if you are not comfortable you are always entitled to a second or even third opinion.
Asking your doctor many questions provides you with a better understanding of the type of cancer you have, how it can be treated and what have to prepare yourself for. Bring a friend, take notes, tape record do whatever it takes to get a very clear understand of what you are up against. Fight for you odds are you will come out a winner and whatever decisions you may decide you and your family will be thankful in the end.
1. Are Cancer tests for lung cancer and Mesothelioma painful?
2. When will I know they results? Should I call you? Should you call me?
3. What type of Cancer?
4. What type of treatment would you recommend?
5. Will I be an outpatient? How long is the treatment?
6. Will I be able to do normal activities? What should I be prepared for?
7. What are the side effects?
8. Who should I contact for other side effects other then the ones that are listed or provided?
9. What will my follow up schedule be like? Length?
10. Who will be involved with my health care and rehabiliation?
I have provided questions that we used when my husband was diagnosed, many doctors may choose to rush in and out but remember you are paying them, they are not paying you this is your health not theirs. Ask as many questions as possible so that you are comfortable with your treatments.
There are many places across the Country that offer some of the best services when it comes to fighting lung cancer. Talk to your doctor about your options and do not settle for second best. Check out the facilities such as John Hopkins Hospital which is rated in the top 5 for Cancer treatments across the United States or Cancer Treatment Centers of America which provides you with options, choices and hope. Whatever place you choose consult with your doctor before making the final choice. If we can fight it , you can too!
copyright © 2009