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Friday, January 25, 2008

The facts of Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. Over time, cancerous cells develop in the mesothelium, a protective lining that covers most of the body's internal organs. Only after several decades do symptoms begin to show, and often because of this delay, by the time mesothelioma is diagnosed it is too late for treatment to be effective.

Mesothelioma is rare, with a rate of infection of only 15 per 1,000,000 in the United States in 2004. It is most often found in individuals who encounter asbestos on the job, such as shipyard workers, people who work in asbestos mines and mills, producers of asbestos products, workers in the heating and construction industries, and other tradespeople.

There are three primary areas mesothelioma can develop, the lining of the lungs and chest cavity known as the pleura, the lining of the abdominal cavity called the peritoneum, or the sac surrounding the heart called the pericardium. Each form of mesothelioma cancer has its own specific symptoms, but there are many symptoms that can be found in all of them. Such symptoms include coughing, fever, shortness of breath, chest or abdominal pain, and fatigue.

Because the symptoms of mesothelioma are so general, it can be very difficult to diagnose the disease. This, combined with such a long delay before symptoms begin to develop often means that little can be done to help the patient. The most common forms of treatment are radiation, chemotherapy, and sometimes surgery. Unfortunately however, these treatments have been unable to increase the survival rate of mesothelioma victims beyond a few months.

About the Author

James Howell is a freelance writer and researcher.

Saturday, October 6, 2007


Mesothelioma is a type of cancer involving mesothelial tissues of body organs usually lungs or abdominal. It is often caused by exposure to asbestos. However, there are 30-50% of patients without any history of asbestos exposure. People who have received asbestos exposure of as little as one or two months to very low doses are at risk of mesothelioma cancer. Even people who wash clothes of asbestos exposed people are at risk. A person exposed to asbestos could develop mesothelioma after 50 years of exposure.

People in the occupations such as construction jobs in shipyards, insulators, boilermakers, etc. are at the risk of contracting asbestos disease.

The 2 common types of mesothelioma are:

Pleural mesothelioma (lung cancer) and Peritoneal mesothelioma (abdomen organs). The survival time for a patient with diffuse malignant mesothelioma is from 4 to 24 months from the observance of the symptoms. Mesothelioma is also difficult to diagnose.

The chance of recovery for a patient with mesothelioma depends on size and location of the cancer, age of the patient and his response to the treatment. Presently, the treatment options for mesotheliomas are:

Radiation therapy, Chemotherapy, Surgery and Photodynamic therapy. There is some evidence that provitamin A or beta-carotene may decrease the risk of mesothelioma.

Copyright 2004, P. Mehta