Mesothelioma info – Ask a friend or family member what they know about mesothelioma and you’ll probably find that their answers will be somewhat limited. Mesothelioma is a fairly rare cancer – especially compared to types like lung and breast cancer – and chances are that the mesothelioma info provided to you by the average individual would be limited.
Accurate information about mesothelioma, however, is ultra-important for the 2,000 to 3,000 Americans diagnosed with the disease each year. This information will not only help them understand their disease but will also aid in treatment decisions and decisions about legal options for mesothelioma sufferers.
Simply put, mesothelioma is a form of cancer most likely caused by asbestos exposure. Very few cases have been diagnosed that could not be linked to asbestos exposure.
Mesothelioma is known by this particular name because of the part of the body it effects – the mesothelium – which is a thin membrane that protects the body’s vital organs, including the lungs, abdomen, and heart.
Mesothelioma is one of the most aggressive forms of cancer. Once diagnosed, it often kills quickly. However, it has a long latency period, which means it can remain undetected in the body for up to 50 years. When it appears, it has often reached Stage 3 or 4, making it especially difficult to treat the cancer successfully. Also, because of that latency period, victims are often elderly and their poor prognosis is compounded by co-existing health problems.
Through a good portion of the 20th century, many tradesmen and tradeswomen were exposed to asbestos. These included shipbuilders, welders, insulators, machinists, construction workers, mechanics, power plant workers, steel workers, refinery employees, and many others. In addition, veterans account for about one-third of all cases diagnosed each year in the U.S. Most of these vets served in the Navy aboard ships that were filled with asbestos.
Some individuals get mesothelioma because of second-hand exposure to the toxic mineral. This is the case with spouses who washed the asbestos-covered clothes of their spouses or adults who were exposed to asbestos as a child when relatives came home covered with dangerous dust.
The average age of a mesothelioma victim is about 65-years-old. However, as more secondary cases emerge, the average age has dropped a bit. Many more men than women are diagnosed with the disease and women who do get mesothelioma have a slightly higher survival rate than their male counterparts.
Mesothelioma treatment is determined by a number of factors including the size of the tumor, whether the disease has spread, and the involvement of the lymph nodes. Some patients in the earlier stages of the pleural form of the disease are candidates for surgery to remove the diseased tumor and the area surrounding it. When the disease is too advanced, surgery is not an option. Instead, patients are usually treated with a combination of chemotherapy and radiation. New treatment options are regularly being tested in hopes of finding one that is more successful in treating the disease than those that currently exist.
If you Google “mesothelioma survivors”, you’ll find a few who have survived for many years after being diagnosed with asbestos-caused cancer. However, they are true exceptions. Many patients survive only months rather than years. That’s why it’s so important for individuals who believe they were wrongly exposed to asbestos to quickly consult an attorney to learn of their legal options. Filing suit for compensation can assist in the exorbitant medical bills associated with the disease and can help with other expenses left behind after the victim passes.
Mesothelioma can be caused by relatively brief exposure to asbestos decades ago. Working for one summer installing drywall or asbestos-containing insulation is enough to cause mesothelioma.
To develop asbestosis, exposure over a greater period of time, usually seen in years, is necessary to cause the disease.
The cancer known as malignant mesothelioma is a malignant permanent condition which, in North America, is most often associated with exposure to asbestos.
Mesothelioma is a very unique and aggressive cancer which affects the lining of the chest and sometimes the lining of the gut.
The lining that develops the cancer is the protective lining that protects the lungs and chest cavity and another lining which protects the stomach and organs in your gut.
These tissues become cancerous and unfortunately the disease, mesothelioma, is not only malignant but very aggressive as far as spreading.
Most people with mesothelioma had some occupational exposure to asbestos. Others developed it after secondary asbestos exposure—for example, washing clothing worn by an asbestos worker.