Mesothelioma is a very severe form of cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos. When inhaled, the asbestos gets fixed in the mesothelial layer of major internal organs. The fibers interfere with the cell’s DNA function, causing the cells to be malignant and becoming tumorous. The majority of people living with asbestos cancer are men, especially veterans and those who worked in asbestos processing firms in the 1930s and early 70s. This condition has a high fatality rate as the life expectance of patients diagnosed with it is approximately twelve to twenty-four months. However, with proper treatment and care, the prognosis may improve, and the life expectancy increase to about five years. The establishment of the Mesothelioma Cancer Network was to cater to the needs of mesothelioma patients and their affected families. The network gives free online health resources for patients diagnosed with this type of cancer.
Types and symptoms
There are four types of mesothelioma.
This type of mesothelioma develops when a person inhales the asbestos fibers. These fibers get embedded in the mesothelial layers of the lungs inducing malignancy in the cells around. According to the American Cancer Society, about eighty percent of mesothelioma cases are Malignant pleural mesothelioma.
- Fluid build-up in the lungs
- Dry cough
- Chest pains
- Unexplained weight loss
- Formation of a lump underneath the chest skin
Fluid-like symptoms should be a clear indicator that your body is not average. When you see such signs, you need to see a doctor as soon as possible, especially when the symptoms persist for a prolonged period. Sometimes there are cases of miss diagnosis; hence it is crucial to get an opinion from several oncologists. Early treatment gives enough time for treatment. Treatment may be very costly, which is why mesothelioma support organizations help victims finance their treatment. Some treatment options include:
- Surgery (extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP)
The asbestos fibers get embedded in the sac-like lining of the heart. Pericardial have a life expectancy of about six to twelve months after diagnosis; however, with early diagnosis and proper treatment, the patients may have more time.
- Prolonged cough
- Heart palpitations
- Pain in the
- Shortness of breath
- The build-up of fluid in the pericardium
- Heart murmurs
Due to the severity, most of these cases are generally found during a dead body’s autopsy since some victims die without knowing they had this condition. When noticed early enough, imaging tests can check for lumps and fluid formation in the heart region.
When ingested, the asbestos fibers fix themselves in the mesothelial layer of the abdomen, triggering the formation of cancer cells. The genetic pre-exposed condition of a person also plays a vital role in the prognosis of the situation.
- Unexplained weight loss
- Abdominal pains
- Formation of tumor-like lumps in the abdomen
Peritoneal mesothelioma can be mistaken for a less severe abdominal infection due to the similarities in symptoms. To get accurate results, an oncologist would do a biopsy on the patient. Some of the effective treatments include Cytoreduction with hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy, which effectively increases victims’ life expectancy.