Mesothelioma cancer always occurs as a consequence of previous exposure to asbestos. One should be aware of the disease and what really happens in it. The mesothelium is actually a protective lining that offers coverage to the body's internal organs. Malignant cancer cells develop in the mesothelium to cause cancer.
People who have jobs where they are required to inhale asbestos particles or have been exposed to asbestos cement products during the home renovation usually have the tendency to develop the mesothelioma cancer. One can also be exposed to asbestos dust and fiber through washing the clothes of a person who has worked with asbestos. A chain smoker can have lung cancer, but not cancer of the mesothelioma.
The symptoms of the disease starts rearing its ugly head only after one has had prolonged exposure to asbestos, may be a period of 20 or 50 years.
Owing to the build-up of fluid in the pleural space or the outer lining of the lungs and chest cavity, one may experience cough, shortness of breath and pain in the chest.
Considerable weight loss, cachexia, swelling in the abdomen and pain due to ascites or the accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity, are the common symptoms of this mesothelioma cancer. The other symptoms include blood clotting abnormalities, bowel obstruction, fever and anemia. Once the cancer spreads to other parts of the body, one might experience swelling of the face or neck, pain and trouble in swallowing.
When the disease has reached its severe stage, the patient suffering from it can experience many tumor masses, a lung collapse or a pneumothorax. The symptoms also include the clotting of the blood in the veins, low blood sugar level, jaundice, severe ascites, pleural effusion, disseminated intravascular coagulation that causes severe bleeding in many body organs, and clotting of the blood in the arteries of the lungs.
Diagnosis of the mesothelioma cancer
This disease shares its symptoms with the other diseases also and therefore it becomes quite difficult to diagnose the mesothelioma cancer. Firstly, the patient's medical history is reviewed. If there is a history of exposure to asbestos, the suspicion for mesothelioma clinically increases. The physical examination includes lung function tests and chest x-ray. A CT scan or MRI is also performed. When a large amount of fluid is present, cytology can detect the abnormal cells.
If the cytology is positive, a biopsy will be required for the confirmation of the diagnosis of mesothelioma cancer.
Conventional treatments have proved to be unsuccessful, enabling the patients to live for only 6 to 12 months after presentation. Surgical treatments provide a 5-year survival rate for less than 10%. The entire mesothelium cannot be removed without killing the patient.
Radiation is for the patients who have the disease localized. It is provided post-operation to prevent the growth of tumor along the chest wall track.
Mesothelioma is an aggressive tumor that is usually fatal. Though there are lots of treatments available for mesothelioma cancer, but long-term survival generally cannot be expected.
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