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Mesothelioma Treatment and Information

Updated on June 19, 2013

What is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a disease that many people hear about, but may not understand. In order to give a brief overview, mesothelium is the tissue that lines most of the organs in the body including the heart, stomach, and lungs. Mesothelioma is a cancer that affects that tissue. This type of cancer is fairly rare, but very serious. It usually originates in the lungs, although it can start in other areas. Individuals who are at risk for this type of cancer are those that have been exposed to asbestos. This type of cancer is very aggressive and can be difficult to treat

Mesothelioma Symptoms

Mesothelioma symptoms can vary depending on the origins of the disease, but for the typical type with starts in the lungs, there are some standardized symptoms. Individuals will start to feel pain in the chest area and experience painful coughing periodically. They will also feel short of breath, develop unusual lumps under the skin in the chest area and can also experience an unexplained and unplanned weight loss.

For this type of cancer which originates in other tissues, mesothelioma symptoms are also fairly easy to recognize. Pain and swelling in these areas, noticeable lumps in the affected areas, and unplanned weight loss are typical symptoms of mesothelioma. Anyone who experiences these signs and symptoms should immediately see a doctor. For those that have been exposed to asbestos, such as construction workers, they should be especially cautious about their health and immediately seek out medical help at the beginning of these signs and symptoms. Although these symptoms can be the cause of other diseases or conditions, a doctor should always be consulted to perform the necessary tests for mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma Treatment

Mesothelioma treatment will vary depending on the health of the individual as well as the stage of the cancer and its location. Unfortunately, mesothelioma is an extremely aggressive disease and can progress rapidly, making effective treatment difficult. Always discuss possible options with a doctor for mesothelioma treatment before committing to a certain method since there are several options available.

In many cases, doctors will recommend surgery as a mesothelioma treatment method. In the early stages, this can effectively cure the cancer. Even though it may not be possible to remove all of the growths, even partial removal can be beneficial to a patient and prevent the spread of this disease. If the mesothelioma has spread into a lung, a doctor may recommend removing the lung and the tissue surrounding it. Although losing a lung can have some complications, it may be the most effective way to treat the disease in many cases.

Another treatment option for mesothelioma is chemotherapy. This is a chemical method which is used to kill cancer cells and may be used by itself or with surgery to shrink cancerous growths. Chemotherapy medications can be directly inserted into the abdominal cavity, making it more effective at treating the disease.

One other treatment method used in mesothelioma treatment is radiation therapy. This type of treatment focuses high-energy beans to specific spots on the body, preventing the spread of the cancerous growth and reducing the signs and symptoms of the disease. Other treatment options may include being involved in clinical trials for the disease. Since this type of cancer is not completely understood, there are some experimental treatments that a doctor may recommend, for certain types of mesothelioma. These studies may or may not be beneficial and can have a high risk, but are generally recommended for advanced forms of the diseases.

Individuals who have mesothelioma are generally not diagnosed until the later stages of the disease. The life expectancy for an advanced stage can vary from a few months to a year if the disease is untreatable. If an individual is aware of their own exposure to asbestos, regular screenings are the best preventative tool for this type of cancer.

Compensation Claims

As doctors and scientists began to understand the cancer-causing effect of asbestos on the human body, employers who did not protect their employees, became financially liable for these cases. In incidences where workers with mesothelioma who developed it from unsafe working conditions, employers are liable to pay for medical treatment and compensation. In these cases, discussing options with a lawyer is usually the best option.

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