Understanding Mesothelioma Cancer
I get the following question a lot so I thought it would be ideal to make it the highlight of this article. What is mesothelioma? Mesothelioma (also known to be called malignant mesothelioma) is a fairly rare form of cancer that affects the mesothelium. Mesothelium… mesothelioma… you see the connection.
The mesothelium is the thin tissue layer that lines (covers) most internal organs. Mesothelioma can be very aggressive and deadly in its attacks, and although treatments are available for its early stages, progression into more chronic stages will result in certain death.
Types of Mesothelioma
There are different types of mesothelioma based on the particular organ affected. The common types are pleural mesothelioma (which affects the lungs), peritoneal mesothelioma (which affects the abdomen), pericardial mesothelioma (which affects the heart), and less frequently, testicular mesothelioma (which affects the lining of testicles). The most common form of mesothelioma is that of the lungs (pleural mesothelioma), while the peritoneal,pericardial, and testicular forms are rare.
Medical research has shown that mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos. Asbestos are a group of naturally occurring minerals that have been recognized for their strength and fire resistance. Its fire retardant qualities made the use of asbestos common in products such as roofing materials, cements and even fabric. Over the past few decades however, its use has greatly declined in the manufacturing of these products since it has been implicated as the principal culprit causing mesothelioma. Prolonged exposure to asbestos is known to greatly increase the risk of contracting the disease.
According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost 2000 people are diagnosed of mesothelioma annually in the United Kingdom (UK), while in the United States, over 2700 people die annually of mesothelioma. In the UK, deaths from mesothelioma increased by up to 10 times from 1969 to 2009 and is not showing any signs of letting up.
The symptoms of mesothelioma may take years (sometimes decades) to develop. This makes early diagnosis of the condition rare, with most cases being found when already advanced into the chronic stages. There are various symptoms that result from mesothelioma and these symptoms depend principally on the site of contraction. The evident symptoms of pleural mesothelioma are not the same as those of pericardial or peritoneal mesothelioma.
The diagnosis of mesothelioma is achieved through various techniques, but ultimately it all begins with the examination of the symptoms observed by the patient. The use of CT scans and X-rays are utilized to examine the potentially affected area. If these tests do not reveal concrete evidence, then a biopsy is carried out. Biopsy is a procedure that involves the removal of a small amount of tissue (with the aid of a specialized needle) from the suspected area. These tissues are then analyzed and observed under a microscope to confirm the presence or absence of the disease.
In conclusion, mesothelioma is fatal. By knowing about common asbestos locations, possible asbestos exposure, the warning signs, and symptoms, you are more likely to live a lot longer than the average person diagnosed with mesothelioma because you will have the knowledge to get screened for it annually. Prevention can only be possible if you have never been around asbestos products. So, as much as possible, stay away from asbestos-made products and avoid them at all costs so that you will never run the risk of developing malignant mesothelioma.