Mesothelioma is a very rare form of cancer with about 3,000 cases diagnosed each year in the United States. However, the incidence rate of this disease is increasing at an alarming rate worldwide. This is primarily because mesothelioma is caused by long-term on-the-job exposure to asbestos. It is a well known disease nowadays and is highly preventable primarily because workers who deal with asbestos are properly educated on how to use protective measures at work to prevent injury.
Mesothelioma takes decades to develop after asbestos exposure. Most of the cases being diagnosed today are the result of asbestos exposure between the 1950’s and the 1970’s and the disease has a latency period of up to 40 years. It is a sinister disease and also happens to be one of the deadliest diseases known to man. The average lifespan of an afflicted person from diagnosis until death is less than 24 months.
Mesothelioma is a malignant or cancerous tumor in the mesothelium which is a lining that protects our lungs, heart and abdominal cavity.
Are There Different Types of Mesothelioma?
There are three main types of mesothelioma. First is Pleural mesothelioma which is basically located in the pleura which serves as the lining of the lungs. This is the most common among the three types. Next is the peritoneal mesothelioma. Peritoneal practically refers to the peritoneum or the abdomen. The tumor starts at the peritoneal lining of the abdominal cavity. Last type of the rarest of them all which is the pericardial mesothelioma which begins at the pericardium that lines the heart.
What Causes Mesothelioma?
Indeed, it can be attributed to exposure to asbestos. But , there are also some predisposing and precipitating factors such as genetics. If people are genetically susceptible to cancer, they may most likely develop mesothelioma among others. Exposure to a particular virus called simian virus 40 can also cause this disease. Lastly, not only asbestos can cause mesothelioma, exposure to extreme radiation can also be a cause.
The primary symptoms of mesothelioma reported by patients diagnosed with it are shortness of breath and chest pain. Some may include abdominal pain and bloating often connected with peritoneal or abdominal mesothelioma. For pleural mesothelioma, you may experience a persistent cough, difficulty in swallowing and sudden weight loss.
• Chest and lower back pain
• Difficulty breathing
• Coughing or coughing up blood
• Weight loss
• Muscle weakness and sensory loss
• Swelling of the face and arms
Unfortunately, the early symptoms of this disease are often ignored or mistaken for minor ailments because they are not specific to the disease.
FACT: There are approximately 3,000 new cases diagnosed each year!
Significant exposure to any type of asbestos will increase the risk of lung cancer, mesothelioma and nonmalignant lung and pleural disorders, including asbestosis, pleural plaques, pleural thickening, and pleural effusions.
Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention
Diagnosis is quite difficult because it may present itself in general signs and symptoms common to other diseases. What can help is a careful health history. If you have history of asbestos exposure, it should be immediately reported to your physical to rule out mesothelioma. Imaging studies are done such as CT and MRI scans and PET scan. Prevention is always the best way for optimum health. If you are dealing with asbestos now in your job, you should follow asbestos safety standards.
Treatment is also dependent on the type of mesothelioma. If it is pleural, pleurectomy which is a surgery of the pleura wherein a portion of it afflicted with the disease is removed. Another therapy common to cancer is chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Mesothelioma Litigation Funding
If you or a loved one has been harmed by asbestos and you have litigation or a settlement pending, you need to be patient because asbestos lawsuits are notorious for taking a long time to settle, which is why mesothelioma settlement funding is becoming more and more common.
For those people who are in the need of immediate cash while waiting for their lawsuits to settle, we can help.
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