Overview

When a thin layer of tissues that can cover your internal organs is affected by the cancer is known as mesothelioma. People who are suffering from this condition will be exposed to cancer and it will damage their majority of the internal organs. It is a type of cancer that can be considered as aggressive cancer. Even though treatments are available for this condition, but the cure is not possible in most of the cases.

As per medical professionals, mesothelioma is divided into pleural mesothelioma, peritoneal mesothelioma, and pericardial mesothelioma. If the tissues around your lungs are affected, then it is considered as pleural mesothelioma and the tissues around your abdomen are affected, then it is considered as peritoneal mesothelioma. Pericardial mesothelioma is considered as the rarest form of cancer and it will affect the layers of the heart.

People should consult their physician immediately when they are experiencing the symptoms of this condition. As it can spread quickly and become untreatable. In the United States, nearly three thousand people are getting diagnosed with this condition. There is no treatment for this condition, but your physician may recommend a palliative therapy to you in order to improve the quality of your life.

The main cause of this disease is asbestos exposure to your lungs and it is affecting nearly three thousand people in a year. When it comes to survival rates, fifty-five percent of the people are surviving six months, and only nine percent of the people can live up to five years. Due to this reason, we would advise people to visit their healthcare provider when they are experiencing the symptoms of this health condition.

What are the indicators of this disease?

It usually takes thirty to forty-five years to develop the symptoms. But in some people, these symptoms appear after ten years. On the other hand, people remain asymptomatic for fifty years. The symptoms appear in a body based on the severeness of the asbestos exposure to the lungs. In some cases, genetic and other individual factors come into play.

People who are above the age of sixty-five years are likely to experience the symptoms of the pleural mesothelioma disease and you experience symptoms based on which part of the body cancer hits.

Difficulty swallowing, unable to breathe or difficulty in breathing, running on high temperature, cough associated with pain, losing an excess of fluids from your body, sudden changes in your weight, fatigue, severe pain under the rib cage, experiencing discomforts in both sides of your chest, severe lower back pain, and detectable lumps under the skin in the chest area are the symptoms of pleural mesothelioma.

Chest pain, exhaustiveness, retention of fluids, difficulty in breathing or unable to breathe, low blood pressure, and heart palpitations are the indicators of pericardial mesothelioma.

Weight loss or weight gain, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, swelling, and lumps in the abdomen are considered as the side effects associated with peritoneal mesothelioma.

What are the causes of this condition?

The main cause of mesothelioma condition is exposure to asbestos and there is a direct link between these two. It is a combination of six mineral large, short fibers.

Asbestos referred to as fibers or bundles which often associated as a group of minerals. Nature alone can produce these fibers and can be found in the soil or rocks in different parts of the world. Asbestos is a mixture of

  • Silicon
  • Oxygen and other elements

You can find asbestos in various products including

  • Roof shingles
  • Building materials such as siding, floor tiles, and ceiling materials
  • Brake parts (It is considered as friction products)
  • Gaskets
  • Packaging
  • Heat resistant fabrics and
  • Coatings

Asbestos plays a vital role in making buildings soundproof or fireproof. Due to this reason, in order to insulate the products and buildings, builders used asbestos in the olden days. A fiber can become airborne if the person is installed or repaired with the asbestos products. There are chances of people may swallow without knowing it. It will be lodged in the lungs or GI after inhaling it. It stays there for a long time and affects other organs in your body.

Who are in danger?

People who are often exposed to asbestos are in danger and high chances of getting diagnosed with this condition. The following are the factors may increase or decrease your risk of getting this type of cancer. These include

  • Duration of the exposure
  • Depends on the type of asbestos fiber, and
  • How much the person is swallowed

People who are working at construction sites with high exposure may develop this condition. One should be careful when they are working in the following

  • Construction sites
  • Power plants or steel mills

We would advise people who are working in the above places should take extra precautionary measures to reduce the chances of getting diagnosed with this type of cancer. Because of these people, their family members also affected by this disease. If the member of their family carries the particles to the home without knowing it, people may inhale or swallow these particles without their knowledge.

As per the World Health Organization, nearly one twenty-five million people are affected by the asbestos at their workplace. However, industries taking precautionary measures for their employees to reduce their chances of getting exposed to asbestos during work.

How to diagnose this condition?

It is a very difficult task for doctors to diagnosing this condition as people remain asymptomatic for years. In most cases, people show symptoms at the later stages of the diseases and it is become untreatable due to this reason. People should consult their healthcare provider as soon as they experiencing the symptoms of any type of mesothelioma condition. Your physician will diagnose your condition by asking some questions regarding your family’s medical history and your previous health conditions. If it is too difficult for him, he or she may recommend a physical examination to you in order to diagnose your condition.

If your healthcare provider doubts that you are suffering from mesothelioma, he or she may also ask the questions about your employment history or any other possible exposure to asbestos. Following are the ways to diagnose your condition such as

  • Computerized tomography or computerized axial tomography (CAT)
  • X-ray.

The above scans are also known as imaging scans and provide necessary information to the doctors and help with the diagnosis.

Biopsy

One of the best ways to confirm your diagnosis is a biopsy. In order to perform this test, it requires a tissue sample from the affected area, that can be found in the chest or abdominal area.

A biopsy allows the physician to check the cancer cells which are present in the body. Your doctor will confirm the type of cancer and how severe your condition is with the help of biopsy.

What are the different stages of cancer?

The stages of mesothelioma cancer are categorized into two stages i.e., localized stage and distant stage.

Localized stage

When mesothelioma occurs and remains constant in the same area where it started, then it is considered as stage one or localized.

Distant stage

When mesothelioma cancer spreads the other parts of your body or your internal organs, this stage is considered as the severe stage or distant stage.

It has been observed that most people receive the diagnosis and treatment at the distant stage.

Treatment options for this type of cancer:

There are several treatment options available for this type of cancer and it depends on the stage of mesothelioma. The treatment options include

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy

Surgery: Your physician may recommend surgery in order to ease the symptoms of mesothelioma cancer and to reduce tumor growth. Sometimes, it is not possible for your surgeon to remove the whole tumor, and in that case, he will remove the part of the tumor to reduce its size. In order to give the patient some relief from the symptoms, a doctor must remove the lining around the lungs.

Chemotherapy: Your physician may recommend chemotherapy to you only if surgery is not an option for your condition. Chemotherapy will help reduce the size of the tumor and slow its progress. It has the capability of shrinking your tumor and it will become easy for your surgeon to remove the tumor.

Radiation therapy: This therapy is very helpful for the people who are suffering from the symptoms of pleural mesothelioma. This therapy can ease the symptoms of pleural mesothelioma. It can prevent metastasis which will usually occur in patients’ bodies after performing a biopsy or surgery.

Various treatment options are available for this type of cancer and the treatment depends on the stage of cancer and the location of cancer. Your physician also considers your age and your overall health into consideration before planning the course of action.

Conclusion

Mesothelioma is considered as deadly cancer and recognizing the symptoms of this disease is the first step towards recovery. It is a life-threatening disease and that is why you should consult your physician or doctor immediately when you are experiencing the symptoms of this type of cancer.

Taking proper precautionary steps and avoiding the high exposure of asbestos will automatically help you and your family. People can contact EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) if their workplace or home environment is exposing to asbestos. EPA will take proper action and finds the best solution for your problem.

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29524617
  2. https://www.epa.gov/asbestos/asbestos-laws-and-regulations
  3. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/asbestos.html
  4. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1556086418331216
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