Mesothelioma Cancer – An Inside Look
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There are experts that have speculated on other causes. There are incidences of Mesothelioma with no known asbestos exposure. Mesothelioma is not a lung cancer. Smoking does not cause it. It is a cancer of the mesothelial cells.
Causes of Mesothelioma
The only known, established cause of Mesothelioma is asbestos. The asbestos fibers are breathed in, travel through the lung and become lodged in the pleura, the thin, saran wrap-type membrane that lines that encases the lung. The pleura, produces a special lubricating fluid that facilitates the ability of the lungs to move inside the chest during breathing. The process of irritation from the infiltration of the asbestos fibers creates changes in the cells, which causes the Mesothelioma. This is known as pleural Mesothelioma. Less common is peritoneal Mesothelioma, which is a cancer of the membrane that encompasses the lining of the abdomen.
Symptoms of Mesothelioma
An individual with Mesothelioma experiences chest pain usually caused by a build-up of fluid in the pleural space called an effusion and shortness of breath. Since many doctors may not have expertise in the area of asbestos-related diseases, these symptoms are often believed, at first, to be attributable to other medical problems. A biopsy of the pleural tissue or fluid may reveal the cancer of the mesothelial cells and a proper diagnosis can thus be established. A history of the individual’s occupational exposure shall be taken. Since there is no “safe” level of exposure to asbestos, even brief, low level exposures may be enough to cause Mesothelioma.
Occurrence of Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer and its incidence is actually increasing day by day. There is presently no known cure for Mesothelioma. As the disease progresses, the cancerous cells harden the pleura and spread. As time passes, breathing, sleeping and eating become more difficult and eventually it becomes increasingly more challenging for the victim to engage in normal activities and enjoy life.
Treatments of Mesothelioma
A number of treatments have been established to help contain the spread of the disease and reduce the pain associated with it. Chemotherapy, radiation and radical surgery to remove the lung and pleura are among the options that have been explored by the treating physician.
Prevention is better than Cure
Mesothelioma is a preventable disease. Many of the corporations that manufacture and make profit from the sale of asbestos-containing products are aware of the hazards of asbestos. Alternative fibers are available that could be used instead of asbestos. But asbestos is cheap, and available, and is a good filler and binder.
To Sum up
The varied and non-specific symptoms associated with Mesothelioma, can delay detection and diagnosis The cancer has a very long latency period, which means that it could be thirty years or more before the person even realizes that they have contracted the cancer .The onset of symptoms can take up to fifty years or more in some cases, but once the symptoms have manifested the lifespan of the person can be as short as several months. So, if you or a loved one is experiencing any of the above symptoms, consult your doctor right away. Make sure that your physician is aware of any previous asbestos exposure, and occupational risk factors.
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