Mesothelioma is a rare cancer caused by asbestos exposure. The cancer can attack the lining of the lungs (pleura) or the lining of the abdominal cavity (peritoneum). Diagnosis of mesothelioma is often delayed due to the nature of the symptoms. Pleural symptoms can mimic symptoms of pneumonia or other respiratory infections. Symptoms include shortness of breath, fluid in the lungs and a cough. Similarly, symptoms of peritoneum include common symptoms such as pain, constipation and nausea. Mesothelioma can also be found in the lining around the heart (pericardium).
It is possible that nearly everyone has been exposed to asbestos at some point in their life. Asbestos was a widely used and acceptable building material introduced in the late 1800s and increased in use during World War II. When workers began suffering from exposure to asbestos, the use of asbestos was regulated in some materials. In 1989, the EPA banned all new asbestos usage, however, existing asbestos remained. While this does help limit asbestos and asbestos exposure on a domestic level, it does not take into consideration the asbestos that is imported from other countries or the asbestos exposure from existing structures.
Following a complete medical history, including information pertaining to asbestos exposure, x-rays, CAT scans, MRI and a breathing test can help diagnosis Mesothelioma. Eventually, a biopsy must be done to confirm the diagnosis.
Once diagnosed, it is important to understand the type of Mesothelioma at hand. Among the three types of cancer that affects the lungs, abdomen or heart, there are differences in the cell types of the cancer. Epithelioid is the most common type of cancer cell. Sarcomatous is a more aggressive cell, and biphasic is a combination of the two. Determining the structure of the cancer cells will help guide treatment of the cancer.
Oncologists for Mesothelioma
While one physician may diagnose the cancer, a group of specialists is usually recommended for proper treatment and care following the diagnosis. Specialists including oncologists and thoratic surgeons may be part of the team delivering treatment. Treatments of Mesothelioma are varied as with any cancer treatment. Depending on age, health and the direction of the physician, treatment may include radiation, chemotherapy, oral medications, surgery, gene therapy and more. Treatment may also include pain management. Proper diagnosis and treatment are of the utmost importance when dealing with Mesothelioma. Traditionally, the cancer survival rate has been less than one year following diagnosis. More recently, doctors have reported a 40 percent five-year survival rate with proper treatment.
A mesothelioma diagnosis is one of the most heart-wrenching and tragic moments of anyone's life. If you or someone you know is facing this difficult fight, you need to consult a compassionate and dedicated asbestos attorney immediately. You may be entilted to seek compensation from those who inflicted this deadly disease upon you, but if you hesitate, you could lose your chance for justice. You have already lost so much. Do not risk losing more. Contact a mesothelioma lawyer today or see this page for more information on mesothelioma lawsuits.