What is mesothelioma?
The pericardium is the mesothelial tissue that surrounds and acts as a safeguard to the heart. The pleural mesothelium membrane covers the lungs and chest cavity and peritoneum is the mesothelial tissue that enfolds the organs in the abdominal cavity.
What is actually cancer mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects the mesothelium, a dual layered membrane with which our chest, lungs, abdomen and the heart is wrapped safely.
Cancer Mesothelioma can damage any of these cells, although pleural mesothelioma is more common; it metastasizes and at an advanced stage the disease reach to the other parts of the body like the lymph nodes, lungs, chest wall, or abdominal organs.
How is cancer mesothelioma caused?
Though asbestos exposure is the primary reason in 70% to 80% of the cases, mesothelioma can be caused by other means, like exposure to the chemical zeolite that is also present in asbestos.
Asbestos has become part of our daily life being in cement, brake linings, roof shingles, flooring products, textiles, and insulation. The asbestos fibers take their toll by going into our windpipe and settling in the internal organs causing the formation of carcinogenic tumors.
The overall scenario regarding cancer mesothelioma
Though there is a ban on certain asbestos products, around 1000 people in France and above 2000 people in the U.S are faced with this nightmare each year.
Mostly, workers from shipyards, asbestos mines and mills are prone to this mishap, due to a constant exposure to asbestos. However, it takes 30 to 50 years for the disease to surface and show symptoms though they are not always accurate.
Cancer mesothelioma is proving more than a menace and the average person live for 12-24 months; the earlier it is detected, the better is the cure process.
The recent picture
Today, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have put restrictions towards maintaining acceptable levels of asbestos exposure in the workplace. People who work with asbestos are geared up with individual protective equipment to lower their risk of exposure. Even the family members of the workers are prone to the disease, so they are advised to take a shower before leaving for home.
Symptoms of cancer mesothelioma
- – Feeling out of breath and pain in the chest due to an accretion of fluid in the pleura
- – Peritoneal mesothelioma comprises weight loss and abdominal pain and a bulging abdomen due to accumulation of fluid
- – Bowel obstruction, blood clotting abnormalities, anemia, and fever
- – Pain, trouble swallowing, or swelling of the neck or face
However, a registered medical practitioner can diagnose you correctly.
Diagnosis of cancer mesothelioma
Diagnosis commences with an assessment of the patient’s medical history, as well as any history of asbestos exposure. A complete physical examination may be performed, including:
- – X-rays of the chest or abdomen
- – A CT (or CAT) scan or an MRI may also be useful. A CT scan is a sequence of comprehensive pictures of areas inside the body created by a computer linked to an X-ray machine
- – In an MRI, a strong magnet connected to a computer is used to draw meticulous pictures of areas affected by cancer mesothelioma inside the body. These pictures are viewed on a monitor and can also be printed
- – A biopsy regarding the taking out of a sample tissue for examination is needed to verify a diagnosis of mesothelioma. Types of biopsy depending on the location of the tumor are thoracoscopy, peritoneoscopy
Lastly, the stage of the disease is important to the doctor for the correct diagnosis.
Cancer mesothelioma treatment
Treatment of cancer mesothelioma yields results depending on the site of the cancer, the phase of the disease, and the patient’s physical condition. The usual treatments for cancer mesothelioma are surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Occasionally, these treatments are combined.
Surgery is an effective way to remove tumor but the age of the person matters. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy are good ways to ward off the symptoms.
Often, high-end drugs are given to the patient to reduce the fluid formation in body.
Thus, it is better for the workers to get a medical check up at equal intervals and be aware of its symptoms. If a patient is diagnosed with cancer mesothelioma at the earliest stage, the treatments might do wonders for him.