Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that affects the mesothelium, a thin membrane that covers the lungs, chest, and abdomen. It occurs when asbestos fibers become lodged in the protective membranes of your organs, most often your lungs, forming tumors. Asbestos was widely used in construction and consumer products until the 1970s, when it was banned. Even though asbestos is no longer used, new cases of cancer are emerging today because the cancer festers for decades before cancerous tumors emerge. By 2020, the number of cases is expected to be at its highest yet. To treat these cases, patients affected by asbestos may seek a variety of treatments. Our goal at MesotheliomaSurvivalRate.net is provide you with tools you and your loved ones can use to understand mesothelioma. We want to support you as you navigate our system's complex medical and legal networks so you can access the resources you need to live a healthier life.
If you have worked in industries such as railway engineering, automotive production, shipbuilding, and construction before the 1980s, you were likely to have been exposed to asbestos. Typically, it takes 20 to 50 years to develop mesothelioma, so if you have been exposed, it is important to recognize the symptoms so you can act quickly.
Depending on the location of the cancer, symptoms can include unexplained weight loss, persistent cough, fatigue, excessive sweating, hoarseness, chest pain, coughing up blood, fever, and difficulty swallowing. You may also have trouble breathing, abdominal swelling, stomach pain, nausea, constipation, or other difficulties with bowel movements. Many of these symptoms are similar to other minor illnesses, so they are easy to overlook. However, if there's a chance you been exposed to asbestos, tell your doctor right away. That way, you can get the correct diagnosis.
To determine if you have mesothelioma and what stage it is in, your doctor will examine you. This involves a regular physical examination as well as scans and biopsies. These tests are vital in diagnosing mesothelioma because the condition is so rare – about 2,500 cases are diagnosed each year in the United States. So if you are suffering from these symptoms and have had contact with asbestos, you may have developed mesothelioma. Please contact a doctor who specializes in treating asbestos-related cancers. If you don't know where to turn, we can help you find such physicians in your area.
Types of Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is named for where it is located in the body. The cancer falls into four main areas:
- Pleural mesothelioma: affects the lungs and chest.
- Peritoneal mesothelioma: harms the lining of the abdominal area.
- Pericardial mesothelioma: damages the chest, heart and abdomen.
- Testicular Mesothelioma: occurs in the tunica vaginalis, the membrane surrounding the testicle. This is a very rare form found in only 100 men in the last 50 years.
The sooner mesothelioma is found, the sooner it can be treated. That means a better prognosis overall. Several other factors influence this time frame, so it's best to act now.
Treatments and Clinical Trials
Treatment for mesothelioma varies depending on its stage. Patients in earlier stages may have surgery to remove the tumor. Those in later stages may engage in treatment that doesn't cure the condition but makes it more bearable. Alternative treatments, such as clinical trials, are available, too. Clinical trials look for other ways to manage, and eventually cure, mesothelioma.
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