What is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that is diagnosed in less than 3,000 patients in the United States each year. It is caused by exposure to asbestos, a mineral that was widely used in the first half of the 20th Century in a variety of applications because of its strength and it is heat resistance. Mesothelioma’s definition indicates that it arises in the cells of the mesothelium, a specialized organ that provides lubrication to various internal organs.
What Causes Mesothelioma?
Unlike many other forms of cancer, mesothelioma can be traced to a single cause: exposure to asbestos. If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma it means that at some point in your life, probably dozens of years ago, you worked with or were around asbestos. It may have been in a factory or construction job, it may have been during military service, or it may have been in your environment where you grew up as a child. It may even have been a result of a spouse or parent working with the material and unknowingly coming home with it in their hair or on their clothes. It takes just a single fiber of asbestos to cause mesothelioma to appear decades later.
Symptoms of Mesothelioma
The most common form of mesothelioma is pleural mesothelioma, which is found in the lungs and the pleural cavity that holds them. The symptoms of pleural mesothelioma are:
- Shortness of breath
- Coughing and wheezing
- Chest pain
- Abdominal pain
- Nausea or vomiting
- Unexplained weight loss
- Night sweats or fever
- Lumps on the abdomen or chest
Four Mesothelioma Stages
When cancer is staged, it is assessed against a series of criteria that tells your physician exactly how far the tumor has spread. There are four stages of cancer, referred to as Stages I, II, III and IV. Stage I mesothelioma is in its earliest stage, while Stage IV is in its most advanced stage.
Treatment Options for Mesothelioma
Though mesothelioma is an extremely rare form of cancer, there are many physicians and medical centers that have dedicated themselves to providing care and relief for those who have the disease. There are three medical treatment options that are most frequently used:
The type of mesothelioma that you have been diagnosed with, along with the stage to which your disease as progressed, will have a great deal to do with which option is used. Frequently, doctors recommend a combination of the three to provide better results and reduce the patient’s discomfort.
Despite the fact that mesothelioma is such a rare disease, there is plenty of help available for its victims. Doctors who specialize in this disease have dedicated themselves to finding the best treatments, and many fine medical and research institutions are conducting research to improve on what they already know.
If you've been diagnosed with mesothelioma, we can help you get the information that you need so that you'll be able to make all the right choices about your treatment regimen. Call us today for more info or complete the form.