Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is difficult to diagnose because the early signs and symptoms of the disease can be subtle at best.

Mesothelioma information

Mesothelioma is difficult to diagnose because the early signs and symptoms of the disease can be subtle at best.

Mesothelioma symptoms

Mesothelioma is difficult to diagnose because the early signs and symptoms of the disease can be subtle at best.

Mesothelioma Prognosis

Mesothelioma is difficult to diagnose because the early signs and symptoms of the disease can be subtle at best.

Mesothelioma Treatment

Mesothelioma is difficult to diagnose because the early signs and symptoms of the disease can be subtle at best.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Mesothelioma means Misafe

What is mesothelioma?

Malignant mesothelioma is the most serious of all asbestos-related diseases. Although uncommon, mesothelioma is no longer considered rare. Mesothelioma is a cancer that is particulary difficult for doctors to diagnose and one that does not respond well to therapy.

The chest cavity, abdominal cavity, and the cavity around the heart are surrounded by a a layer of specialized mesothelial cells. Most other internal organs are also covered by these cells. The tissue formed by these cells is called mesothelium.

A special protective lubricating fluid that allows organs to move around is produced by the mesothelium. This protective fluid helps the lungs to move without resistance inside the chest cavity while breathing. The medical name for the mesothelium of the chest is the pleura and the medical name for the mesothelium of the abdomen is the peritoneum. The mesothelium of the "sac-like" space around the heart is called the pericardium.

A malignant (cancerous) tumor of the mesothelium is called a malignant mesothelioma. As most mesothelial tumors are cancerous, malignant mesothelioma is often simply called mesothelioma. Tumors of the mesothelium can also be benign (noncancerous) but benign mesotheliomas are much more rare.

Mesothelioma was recognized as a tumor of the pleura, peritoneum and pericardium in the late 1700's. However it was not until much later, in 1960, that this particular type of tumor was described in more detail and even more importantly, its association with asbestos exposure was recognized. The first report linking mesothelioma to asbestos exposure was written by J.C.Wagner, and described 32 cases of workers in the "Asbestos Hills" in South Africa. Since than the relationship between mesothelioma and asbestos exposure has been confirmed in studies around the world.

The incidence of mesothelioma in the United States remains very low, with 14 cases occurring per million people per year. Despite these numbers the noticed threefold increase in mesothelioma in males between 1970 and 1984, is directly associated with environmental and occupational exposure to asbestos, mostly in areas of asbestos product plants and shipbuilding facilities.

Although the disease is much more commonly seen in 60-year old men, it has been described in women and early childhood as well. The cause of the disease is not so well understood in these latter two groups, but there is some evidence of possible asbestos exposure for some of these cases as well.

Malignant mesotheliomas are divided into three main types. About 50% to 70% of mesotheliomas are the epithelioid type. This type has the best prognosis (outlook for survival). The other two types are the sarcomatoid type (7%-20%), and the mixed/biphasic type (20%-35%). Treatment options for all three types are the same.

About three-fourths of mesotheliomas start in the chest cavity. They are known as pleural mesothelioma. Another 10% to 20% begin in the abdomen. These are called peritoneal mesothelioma. Pericardial mesothelioma, starts in the cavity around the heart, and is very rare. The covering layer of the testicles is actually an outpouching of peritoneum into the scrotum. Mesotheliomas that affect this covering of the testicles are quite rare.

Glossary of Terms

asbestos: combination of several minerals that separate into long, threadlike fibers. Because they do not burn, do not conduct heat or electricity, and are very resistant to chemicals, these minerals are often used for making fireproof materials, electrical insulation, roofing, filters, etc. benign: doing no harm, good incidence: the frequency with which an event occurs (usually in a group at risk) pericardium: a thin membrane surrounding the heart and the roots of the great blood vessels.

peritoneum: a thin membrane that covers the abdominal cavity and partially covers some of the abdominal organs.

pleura: a thin membrane that covers the lungs (visceral pleura) and lines the chest cavity (parietal pleura) malignant: harmful, dangerous (a malignant tumor is a cancer).

median: middle number in a series of numbers (for example: median survival of 10 months means that for that specific group of patients the survival varied from probably 2 months to 30 months).

mesoderm: the middle layer of cells in an embryo, from which the muscular, skeletal, vascular, connective etc. tissues develop.

mesothelioma: a tumor of the mesothelium, that can be benign (localized) or malignant (diffusely spread), and that is most commonly caused by the ingestion of asbestos particles.

mesothelium: the thin layer of mesodermal epithelial cells that forms the pleura, peritoneum, pericardium.

metastases: the spread of tumor cells from one part of the body to another unrelated part of the body by the way of the bloodstream or lymphatics.

prognosis: prediction of the probable course of the disease in an individual. Prognostic factors are factors associated with prognosis.

TNM staging: assigning a stage to the tumor based on size, local versus disseminated growth, lymph node involvement and presence or absence of distant metastases.

tumor: a mass of tissue, a growth independent of its surrounding structures and having no physiological function/ a neoplasm. A tumor can be benign or malignant.

Pleural Mesothelioma

Pleural disease is often seen in people who have been exposed to high levels of asbestos on the job. It sometimes takes 10 years or more for changes to appear that are indicative of pleural disease which affects the thin membrane layer in the chest. These differences can include a thickening or calcification of the pleural lining and is usually diagnosed as pleural plaques, pleural thickening and pleural calcification.

In most instances, pleural disease is not considered fatal but it does have the ability to impair lung function and it does confirm that a person has sustained significant asbestos exposure and could be at a higher risk for developing more severe asbestos cancer. If you have been diagnosed with pleural disease it is important to preserve your legal rights.

However, pleural plaques can lay the groundwork for mesothelioma, which is an extremely aggressive cancer known only to be caused by asbestos exposure. Pleural mesothelioma originates in the pleura but quickly spreads to the outer chest wall, abdomen, and heart. Mesothelioma is typically fatal within 1 year of diagnosis. However, early recognition of risk factors, like asbestos exposure will typically lead to early detection of the cancer. Those whose disease is discovered early enough will likely be much more eligible life-sustaining and bettering treatments. Mesothelioma patients who receive an early diagnosis may be eligible for surgical resection of the cancer, which can extend life years beyond that of typical mesothelioma patients.

Other treatments are available for mesothelioma, including traditional radiotherapy and chemotherapeutic methods which can ease symptoms of the disease and make the cancer much more manageable.

Don't Let Time Get in the Way!
Don't let time prevent you from taking legal action. Every state establishes set timeframes for filing lawsuits for an asbestos related injury. These timeframes are also known as the state statutes of limitation. The deadlines established in the statutes are fixed so it is important to consult with a legal professional soon after the onset of an asbestos related illness to determine what, if any action may be appropriate.

Pericardial Mesothelioma

Malignant pericardial mesothelioma is a type of cancer that originates in the mesothelium, a thin wall of cells that surround the body's organs and internal body structures. Pericardial mesothelioma originates in the lining of the heart. Other locales of the disease are malignant pleural mesothelioma, which occurs in the lining of the lungs and malignant peritoneal mesothelioma, which occurs in the abdomen wall. Pericardial mesothelioma is the rarest of these malignancies and accounts for only an estimated 10 percent of all mesothelioma incidences annually.

What Causes Pericardial Mesothelioma?

Pericardial mesothelioma is known only to be caused by exposure to asbestos, a naturally occurring but toxic mineral that was used in industrial capacities. While the precise route by which microscopic asbestos fibers reaches the pericardial lining is not known, physicians surmise that inhaled asbestos fibers are absorbed into the bloodstream and become entangled in the heart's lining as the blood processes through the heart. Mesothelioma occurring in other parts of the body, such as in the pleura or peritoneum, can also metastasize to the pericardial lining.

How is Pericardial Mesothelioma Treated?

Prognoses are poor in cases of pericardial mesothelioma, just as nearly all mesothelioma cases are. However, several treatment options exist to help patients manage the disease and maintain comfort. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are the most likely treatment options for patients of this disease. Surgery is typically not an option because of the local of the disease and the risk of grave damage to the tumor area.

How is Pericardial Mesothelioma Diagnosed?

Physicians will often suspect pericardial mesothelioma if the patient has trouble breathing, shortness of breath, or chest pain. A comprehensive diagnostic and biopsy process will be undergone through use of multiple body imaging scans.

What a Patient's Options?

Patients of pericardial mesothelioma may be eligible for financial compensation if they were wrongly exposed to asbestos. Anyone who worked with asbestos products is potentially at-risk and should fill out the brief form on this page to receive additional treatment and legal information.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Malignant peritoneal mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer that occurs in the thin cell walls which surround the abdominal cavity, known as the peritoneum. Other types of mesothelioma include malignant pleural mesothelioma, occurring in the cell wall surrounding the lungs, and malignant pericardial mesothelioma, which occurs in the pericardial lining of the hearth. Peritoneal mesothelioma is the second rarest form of the disease and accounts for approximately 20% of all mesothelioma cases each year.

What Causes Peritoneal Mesothelioma?

Peritoneal mesothelioma is known only to be caused by exposure to asbestos, a microscopic natural fiber that was used heavily in industry. Asbestos is said to reach the abdominal wall by one of two methods. The first is through ingested asbestos fibers which are processed through digestion and become lodged in peritoneum. These other method is through the lungs and lymph nodes, by inhaled asbestos fibers. Mesothelioma of the pleura is also known to metastasize directly into the abdominal cavity if its spread is not slowed.


How is Peritoneal Mesothelioma Treated?

Prognosis of mesothelioma patients is poor, and peritoneal mesothelioma patients are no exception. Most peritoneal treatment regimens for patients include palliative methods such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy. However, if the disease is diagnosed in its earlier stages, patients may be eligible for surgical resection of the disease, which could potentially add years to initial prognoses.

How is Peritoneal Mesothelioma Diagnosed?

Physicians may suspect peritoneal mesothelioma if the patient complains of stomach, chest, or abdominal pain. Suspicious hernias may actually be a pleural effusion caused by peritoneal tumor growth. Misdiagnosis is common and patients will likely undergo multiple imaging scans and a diagnostic biopsy before an official diagnosis is made.

What are a patient's options?

Patients of peritoneal mesothelioma may be eligible for financial compensation if they exposed to asbestos. Industrial exposures were common and those exposed have collected compensation to finance high treatment costs. For additional information on your legal rights of mesothelioma please fill out the brief contact form on this page.

Risk Factors

What are the risk factors for malignant mesothelioma?

There are several risk factors that increase the likelihood that a person will develop mesothelioma. The primary risk factor is asbestos exposure. Exposure to this very harmful substance can significantly enhance the chances of contracting the disease. Other secondary factors include exposure to radiation, zeolite, simian virus 40 (SV40) and tobacco. We discuss each of these risk factors in more detail below.

Asbestos

Exposure to asbestos is the leading risk factor associated with mesothelioma. Asbestos is an insulating material comprised of magnesium-silicate mineral fibers. It was favored by builders and contractors for many years for its low heat conductivity and resistance to melting and burning. Since researchers have identified more and more links between mesothelioma and exposure to asbestos, the material is now less widely used. Prior to this discovery, however, millions of Americans have experienced serious exposure to this harmful substance.

Over 700,000 schools and buildings in the United States today contain asbestos insulation as reported by the US Environmental Protection Agency. Asbestos exposure doesn’t stop there, however. Asbestos is often found in ship yards, manufacturing facilities, railway facilities and construction sites. Blue collar workers are at the highest risk for developing mesothelioma due to occupational exposure and include those who work in mines, factories, shipyards, construction sites, railroads and for insulation manufacturers and gas mask manufacturers. The occupations most widely affected are miners, factory workers, railroad workers, ship builders and construction workers - especially those who install asbestos containing insulation. Sometimes family members related to the workers receive second hand exposure to asbestos from the dust and fibers that were brought home on the workers clothes and also become at risk for contracting mesothelioma.

Serpentine fibers and amphiboles are the 2 primary types of asbestos used. Chrysotile is a form of serpentine fiber and the most frequently used. These fibers tend to be curly and flexible. Amphibole fibers, however, are generally straight and thin and usually comprise one of five types: crocidolite, amosite, anthrophylite, tremolite, and actinolyte. The crocidolite type of Amphiboles is thought to be the leading contributor to cancer caused by asbestos. Serpentine fibers are dangerous as well, however, and have also been linked to mesothelioma.

Some research points to the fact that inhaled asbestos fibers cause a physical irritation resulting in cancer rather than the cancer being caused by a reaction that is more chemical in nature. As fibers are inhaled through the mouth and nose they are cleared from the body by adhering to mucus in the nose, throat and airways and then get expelled by coughing or swallowing. The Amphibole fibers (long and thin) do not clear as easily and it is therefore thought that they can embed into the lining of the lungs and chest and result in mesothelioma.

Asbestosis (scar tissue in the lungs) or lung cancer can also be caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibers. In fact, people exposed to asbestos are seven times more likely to develop lung cancer over the general public. Workers who sustain high levels of asbestos exposure are more likely to die from asbestosis, lung cancer or mesothelioma than any other disease. It is also believed that the action of coughing up and swallowing asbestos could contribute to a form of mesothelioma originating in the abdomen called peritoneal mesothelioma. Mesothelioma has been found to exist in other organs of the body as well such as the larynx, pancreas and colon, but those instances are extremely limited compared to lung cancer incidents.

The chance of developing mesothelioma is in direct proportion to the duration and amount of asbestos exposure that an individual sustains. Those who are exposed to high levels of asbestos at a young age, for long periods of time have a greater risk of being diagnosed with mesothelioma than those who have short, low level exposure. Another important consideration is that Mesothelioma can take a long time to manifest. Often, twenty to forty years can elapse from the time of exposure to diagnosis. Genetic factors can also play a role which explains why not everyone exposed to asbestos develops and asbestos related disease.

Radiation

Thorium dioxide (Thorotrast), a substance used in x-ray tests in the past has reported links to pleural mesothelioma and peritoneal mesothelioma. The use of Thorotrast has been discontinued for many years due to this discovery.

Zeolite

Some mesothelioma cases in the Anatoli region within Turkey have been linked to Zeolite, a silica based mineral with chemical properties similar to asbestos found in the soil there.

Simian Virus 40 (SV40)

Some scientists have found the simian virus 40 (SV30) in mesothelioma cells from humans and have been able to create mesothelioma in animals with the virus. The relationship between this virus and mesothelioma is still unclear, however, and further research is being conducted to gain clarity on this potential link.

Tobacco

Smoking alone is not linked to mesothelioma, but smokers who are exposed to asbestos
have a much higher chance of developing lung cancer (as much as fifty to ninety percent higher). Research indicates that lung cancer is the leading cause of death among asbestos workers.

Causes of Mesothalioma

What are the main causes of mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is most predominantly caused by asbestos exposure. Asbestos fibers that are inhaled through the mouth and nose may eventually become embedded in the lining of the lungs, causing damage and resulting in lung cancer or asbestosis (scar tissue formation in the lungs). It has also been found that swallowing asbestos fibers could contribute to a form of mesothelioma originating in the abdomen called peritoneal mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma generally results from occupational exposure but there are instances of environmental exposure to asbestos that can cause the disease. Oftentimes second hand exposure of a family member to an asbestos workers dirty work clothes can result in that family member developing mesothelioma.

Asbestos insulation workers appear to have the highest death rate. One study reports that almost six percent of asbestos workers fall victim to mesothelioma and asbestos insulation workers are over 300 times more likely to die from mesothelioma than the general public.

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Symptoms

What are the warning signs of mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is difficult to diagnose because the early signs and symptoms of the disease can be subtle at best. Symptoms are all too frequently ignored or dismissed by people who are inclined to attribute them to common every day ailments. Sometimes patients live with symptoms for up to 6 months before being diagnosed but usually the symptoms are present for two to three months prior to diagnosis.

About 60% of patients diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma experience lower back pain or side chest pain and there are frequent reports of shortness of breath. Lower numbers of people may experience difficulty swallowing, or have a persistent cough, fever, weight loss or fatigue. Symptoms to also consider are muscle weakness, loss of sensory capability, coughing up blood, facial and arm swelling and hoarseness.

Peritoneal mesothelioma originates in the abdomen and as a result, symptoms often include abdominal pain, weight loss, nausea, and vomiting. In the event that there is a hernia present, fluid build up may occur in the abdomen as well.

Anyone previously exposed to asbestos displaying any of these symptoms should seek medical attention right away.

Diagnosis

How do medical professionals diagnose mesothelioma?
If you believe that you may have mesothelioma, a qualified medical professional will use a variety of diagnostic tests and methods to confirm the presence of the disease.

Medical history review and exam
The first step that your health professional will take in evaluating you for an asbestos related disease is to obtain a full medical history to determine the level and severity of risk factors and presenting symptoms. This interview will look consider among other things, where you were exposed to asbestos, the length of exposure and the amount of asbestos that you were exposed to.

In addition, he/she will perform a medical exam to look for signs and symptoms of various forms of mesothelioma. For example, if pleural mesothelioma is suspected the doctor will look for fluid in the chest, peritoneal mesothelioma often shows fluid in the abdomen and pericardial mesothelioma presents with fluid in the area of the heart.

Diagnostic imaging tests
Chest x-rays are used to identify abnormalities in the lungs including unusual thickening, mineral deposits and fluid in the chest area. If these conditions are present then it may be evidence that mesothelioma has developed.

Diagnostic image tests like x-rays, CT scans and MRI's are useful in determining more information about the cancer including how far it is progressed. Each method provides another piece of information to your doctor to assist in making an accurate diagnosis. CT scans are capable of providing images of the same location from many different angles. MRI technology uses magnetic fields rather than x-ray to provide additional views.

Testing fluid and tissue samples
If fluid build-up in the chest, abdomen or heart area is present, your doctor may want to obtain a sample. To accomplish this he/she will use a long needle to obtain fluid from the target area. The fluid will then be sent to the lab for analysis.

If fluid build-up in the chest, abdomen or heart area is present, your doctor may want to obtain a sample. To accomplish this he/she will use a long needle to obtain fluid from the target area. The fluid will then be sent to the lab for analysis.

A bronchoscopy procedure may be recommended for patients who are suspected of having pleural mesothelioma. For this medical test, a soft tube illuminates the trachea and bronchi to determine if any masses are present in the airways. If deemed necessary, the technician my take sample of tissue that appears to be abnormal for further testing.

If lymph node involvement is suspected which is common with lung cancer, patients may also undergo a mediastinoscopy. This procedure is similar to a bronchoscopy in that a soft tube enters the body under the chest bone and illuminates the chest area. In this way, the surgeon can examine lymph nodes for abnormalities, check to see how far disease may have progressed and when necessary help diagnose lung cancer vs. mesothelioma.

Diagnosing mesothelioma is never easy. Fluid build up alone in the chest, belly or heart regions is not enough to confirm a diagnosis. Tissue samples obtained from biopsy procedures are also difficult to discern because mesothelioma cancer cells often resemble other types of cancer. For this reason, specialized laboratory procedures are often employed to identify certain chemicals that are known to exist with mesothelioma and high powered laboratory equipment is used to examine the smallest details of cancer cells to confirm that mesothelioma is present.

Stages

How is mesothelioma staged?

Staging is the process of finding out how far the cancer has spread. Staging of mesothelioma is based on imaging studies such as x-rays, CT scans, and MRI scans. The treatment and outlook for patients with mesothelioma largely depends on the stage (extent of spread) of their cancer. Since pleural mesothelioma occurs most frequently and has been studied the most, it is the only mesothelioma for which a staging classification exists.

The staging system most often used for mesothelioma is the Butchart system. This system is based mainly on the extent of the primary tumor mass, and divides mesotheliomas into stages I through IV.

Butchart Staging System
Stage I: Mesothelioma is present within the right or left pleura, and may also involve the lung, pericardium, or diaphragm (the muscle separating the chest from the abdomen) on the same side.
Stage II: Mesothelioma invades the chest wall or involves the esophagus (food passage connecting the throat to the stomach), heart, or pleura on both sides. The lymph nodes in the chest may also be involved.
Stage III: Mesothelioma has penetrated through the diaphragm into the peritoneum (lining of the abdominal cavity). Lymph nodes beyond those in the chest may also be involved.
Stage IV: There is evidence of distant metastases (spread through the bloodstream to other organs).
Another staging system has recently been developed by the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC). This is a TNM system, similar to staging systems used for most other cancers. T stands for tumor (its size and how far it has spread to nearby organs), N stands for spread to lymph nodes and M is for metastasis (spread to distant organs). In TNM staging, information about the tumor, lymph nodes, and metastasis is combined in a process called stage grouping to assign a stage described by Roman numerals from I to IV. Minor differences exist between the AJCC TNM staging system and the Butchart staging system.

TNM Staging System
Stage I: Mesothelioma involves the right or left pleura. It may also have spread into the lung, pericardium, or diaphragm on the same side. It has not yet spread to the lymph nodes.
Stage II: Mesothelioma has spread from the pleura on one side to the nearby peribronchial and/or hilar lymph nodes next to the lung on the same side. It may also have spread into the lung, pericardium, or diaphragm on the same side.
Stage III: Mesothelioma has spread into the chest wall muscle, ribs, heart, esophagus, or other organs in the chest on the same side as the primary tumor, with or without spread to subcarinal and/or mediastinal lymph nodes on the same side as the main tumor. Subcarinal nodes are located at the point where the windpipe branches to the left and right lungs. Mediastinal lymph nodes are located in the space behind the chest bone in front of the heart. Mesotheliomas with the same extent of local spread as in stage II that have also spread to subcarinal and/or mediastinal lymph nodes on the same side are also included in stage III.
Stage IV: Mesothelioma has spread into the lymph nodes in the chest on the side opposite that of the primary tumor, or directly extends to the pleura or lung on the opposite side, or directly extends into the peritoneum, or directly extends into organs in the abdominal cavity or neck. Any mesothelioma with evidence of distant metastases (spread to other organs through the bloodstream) or spread to organs beyond the chest or abdomen is included in this stage.
Although the recently developed TNM classification is the most detailed and precise, the original Butchart staging system is still used most often to describe the spread of pleural mesotheliomas. Understanding these staging systems for mesothelioma is important both for estimating and better understanding prognosis, and also for assessing therapeutic options.

Prognostic Factors
Because pleural mesothelioma has been better studied than peritoneal mesothelioma we know more about factors associated with prognosis for pleural mesothelioma. Younger age at diagnosis, performance status (functional status) and absence of weight loss are associated with a more favorable prognosis.

Mesotheliomas are usually of three different cell types (histological analysis): 1) epithelial cell type - has the most favorable prognosis; 2) fibrosarcomatous cell type - carries the worst prognosis and 3) mixed cell type - has an intermediate prognosis.

Types of Mesothelioma

A lot of mesothelioma related diseases exist. Mesothelioma can be classified by their location. Below shows the common types of mesothelioma.



Pleural — 75% of all mesothelioma cases

Peritoneal — 10%–20%

Pericardial — 5%

Lung Cancer Mesothelioma

Lung cancer is the leading cause of death in mesothelioma illnesses. When these asbestos fibers are inhaled or ingested, they may become trapped in the lungs or the digestive tract permanently, causing serious illness or disease such as lung cancer mesothelioma.
Lung cancer is difficult to diagnose early and it also spreads at a rapid rate, and is rarely cured. Lung cancer mesothelioma typically occurs at a younger age than other lung cancers. It equally has a smaller latency time than other mesothelioam related cases.
If you’ve worked in places that exposes you to asbestos, and you start developing Change in breathing patterns, Shortness of breath Persistent chest pains, Coughing, Hoarseness, Anemia, then you need to do two smart things:

Visit your doctor

See a mesothelioma lawyer or mesothelioma attorney.

Malignant pleural mesothelioma

Malignant pleural mesothelioma is an asbestos-related cancer that affects the lining of the chest cavity. One of the main problems in diagnosing malignant pleural mesothelioma is that the disease has a very slow onset. Additionally, many individuals with malignant pleural mesothelioma do not immediately seek treatment because of the generalized nature of their symptoms. Early signs of malignant pleural mesothelioma include persistent pain in the chest, shortness of breath, weight loss and fever. Patients diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma have cancerous growths in the tissues and lining surrounding their lungs. Men between the ages of 50 and 70 are more commonly diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma.

Symptoms of Pleural Mesothelioma

Pleural mesothelioma is a deadly and devastating disease with no known cure. Initial symptoms of pleural mesothelioma are often vague:



shortness of breath

chest pains

coughing

Peritoneal mesothelioma

Peritoneal mesothelioma is a relatively rare form of malignant mesothelioma, making up slightly less than 30% of diagnosed mesothelioma cases. This type of mesothelioma affects the cells of the abdominal lining, also known as the peritoneum, which supports and protects organs in the abdomen. It is widely believed that asbestos fibers that are inhaled are transported to the peritoneum via the lymphatic system.
Once in the peritoneum, asbestos fibers cause changes in peritoneal cells that cause them to divide without restraint, causing the peritoneal layers to thicken. The growth of cancer cells puts pressure on internal organs, and this pressure is increased by fluid that builds up in the area as a result of cancer growth.

Pericardial mesothelioma

Pericardial mesothelioma is the least common form of a mesothelioma. Only around 5% of mesothelioma cases are pericardial. This type of mesothelioma affects the pericardium, which is a membranous lining that surrounds the heart, providing both support and protection to the organ. Once asbestos fibers are lodged in the membranes surrounding the heart, they cannot be eliminated by the body. These fibers then begin to cause changes in the pericardial membrane. While the exact nature of these changes is not completely understood, it is known that these changes eventually lead to uncontrolled growth of cells in the pericardial layers, causing malignant mesothelioma tumors to form.

Symptoms of Pericardial Mesothelioma

The rarity of pericardial mesothelioma has made it difficult for specialists to determine a specific set of common symptoms. The following symptoms often indicate a cardiac condition, but further tests are required to confirm a diagnosis of pericardial mesothelioma.

Drug Study for Abdominal Mesothelioma

Researchers recently published the results of a study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology detailing a potentially new treatment for patients of abdominal mesothelioma that will likely improve the condition for patients.

The study found that when patients suffering from abdominal mesothelioma were given a combination of two drugs, Alimta (pemetrexed) and Gemzar (gemcitabine), their condition improved. The following are the results of the study:

* Response rate among patients was 15 percent.

* The control rate of the disease for patients while on the medication was 50 percent.

* The median time to disease progression was 10.4 months.

* The median survival time was 26.8 months.

* The mesothelioma study involved 20 patients suffering from the condition.

Each patient also received various vitamins including folic acid, vitamin B12 and dexamethasone. The study was conducted by researchers involved in a multi-center U.S. trial. Researchers expect to continue studying the drug's effects on abdominal mesothelioma patients to determine if the treatment can be improved.

What is Abdominal Mesothelioma?

Abdominal mesothelioma is an extremely rare form of mesothelioma cancer. Commonly described as peritoneal mesothelioma, the cancer affects the abdominal lining, which is also known as the peritoneum. Within the abdominal cavity is the serous membrane, which is also known as the parietal peritoneum, and this membrane continues on to the visceral peritoneum that lines the organs. With abdominal mesothelioma, the visceral and parietal peritoneum linings are affected with the development of cancerous cells.

Most often, abdominal cancer occurs when an individual first develops pleural mesothelioma, which is when the lining of the lung develops cancerous cells after inhalation of asbestos. Pleural mesothelioma can then spread to the peritoneal cavity and cause peritoneal mesothelioma, which accounts for less than one-third of all mesothelioma diagnoses.

How is Peritoneal Mesothelioma Contracted?

Abdominal, or peritoneal, mesothelioma is caused through the inhalation of asbestos fibers or asbestos dust. Asbestos is a material that is derived from vermiculite, a mineral that was mined heavily in the United States and around the world in the 20th century. Asbestos was most commonly used as an insulation within the construction industry because it was flame resistant and was developed at inexpensive prices.

There are many common symptoms of mesothelioma, including:

* shortness of breath.

* inability to breath.

* fatigue.

* wheezing or severe cough.

However, many of these symptoms are generalized to overall cases of mesothelioma. Specific symptoms exist for those diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma. These symptoms are as follows:

* weight loss.

* abdominal swelling, which can be caused by ascites or the buildup of fluid in the abdominal cavity.

* bowel obstruction.

* fever.

* anemia.

* blood clotting.

* trouble swallowing.

* swelling of neck and face.

Abdominal Mesothelioma Treatment

Abdominal mesothelioma treatments commonly consist of surgical procedures to remove the infected cancerous areas. Often, the main surgery involved with peritoneal mesothelioma is known as cytoreductive surgery. This surgery is usually accompanied with perioperative intraperitoneal chemotherapy, and together the median survival rate for patients has been shown to increase slightly, although, treatment is dependent on a specific case-by-case basis.

Obtaining Peritoneal Mesothelioma Legal Help

Individuals who have been diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma or any similar form of mesothelioma cancer are advised to locate an experienced mesothelioma attorney. Because mesothelioma is considered a highly preventable disease, individual victims who contract the illness were likely exposed to asbestos fibers or asbestos dust without knowledge of the danger of exposure levels. These individuals may be able to receive monetary compensation for the extremely costly medical bills associated with abdominal mesothelioma.

It is especially important for an individual to seek legal counsel for their mesothelioma lawsuit if they were an employee within the metal, mining, maritime, construction and welding industries.

the chest x-ray is suggestive of malignant mesothelioma, it is likely that further investigations will be ordered, especially if compensation may be

Mesothelioma is a medical term refers to the development of cancer cells in the mesothelial tissue due to inhalation of asbestos fibers. This is a severe form of cancer that can be caused uniquely by asbestos fibers. Depending on the organ affected and its severity, mesothelioma is classified in:

- Pleural Mesothelioma , which affect the pleural cavity , thin layer of tissue covering the lungs

- Peritoneal Mesothelioma , affecting the peritoneum, tissue that lines the abdominal and pelvic cavities;

- Benign Mesothelioma , the less severe of mesothelioma characterized by occurrence of noncancerous tumor cells in the pleura.

Although severe, mesothelioma is still a rare type of cancer. About one person in a million is affected. In 2004, it was estimated that around 15 individuals to 1,000,000 were victim of the disease in the United States. No one knows for sure the percentage of this year, 2008, since the number is increasing. However, about 200,000 individuals die each year from cancers causing by carcinogenic workplaces, including job sites containing asbestos fibers, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Are the causes of mesothelioma are well known?

Yes. Whether it is pleural, peritoneal, or benign mesothelioma, it is caused by exposure to asbestos, an airborne mineral made of microscopic bundles of fibers according to US Environmental Protection Agency. Once enters your lungs, asbestos damage silently the tissue affected. The damaging effects can continue for years without any obvious medical signs. Usually, you start seeing or feeling symptoms 20 to 30 years after you were exposed to the pathogenic fiber.

Where asbestosis can be found?

In rare cases, you can be affected indirectly by asbestos contamination through your friends or family members who brought the fiber to the house from work in their clothes, hair or on their skin. However, the inhalation is, most of the times, the result of direct contact to the fiber in workplaces. Companies that are susceptible to have asbestos include:

* Extraction units: mines for instance

* Industries that manufacture asbestos products: textiles, friction products, insulation, certain building materials, etc.

* Places where asbestos is used as protection against heat

* Certain industries that specialize in shipbuilding, steel, foundry, glass manufacturing, etc.

* Construction industry, during renovation or demolition, or particularly during removal of asbestos, according to U.S. Department of Labor

What are the symptoms of mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is often considered a silent killer because it is completely asymptomatic at early stage. When they finally emerge, symptoms are not specific and are similar to other respiratory diseases and digestive tract infection, which makes the diagnosis difficult.

The most common symptoms of mesothelioma include abdominal pain and swelling, nausea or vomiting, intestinal obstruction and unreasonable weight loss. As the disease progresses, you may have other medical symptoms such as pleural effusion (accumulation of excess fluid in your pleural cavity).

Is there any treatment or vaccine against mesothelioma?

So far, there is no preventive vaccine against mesothelioma. However, there are therapies your physician may consider to treat your mesothelioma to help you cope with the disease. Earlier you have the treatment, better chance you have to be recovered. If you suspect you or a family member was exposed to asbestos, it is vital that you see a health care provider for early diagnosis; do not wait for symptoms.

Conventionally, mesothelioma is treated by surgery, chemotherapy or/and radiotherapy. Because mesothelioma is a life-threatening illness, you should thoroughly discuss each option with your physician before deciding a treatment. Make sure you have information about risk factors of the surgery; potential side effects of the chemotherapy and radiotherapy. You can also ask question about the prognosis; although mesothelioma prognosis is often heart breaking.

In case the diagnosis reveals you have mesothelioma, can you be compensated?

Yes. It is illegal in the United States to use asbestos in any industry. “The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) set a maximum exposure limit and include provisions for engineering controls and respirators, protective clothing, exposure monitoring, hygiene facilities and practices, warning signs, labeling, recordkeeping, and medical exams.” If due negligence, these requirement are not met in a company, and you become a victim of mesothelioma, you need to contact a lawyer for compensation.

Selecting a lawyer to represent your case should not be a negligible decision. You need an experienced mesothelioma attorney, one who has a record in helping asbestos cancer victims, who can help you get the financial compensation you disserve.

However, your health is worth more than silver and gold. The wise thing to do is avoid exposure or inhalation of asbestos.

Mesothelioma Diagnosis

If the chest x-ray is suggestive of malignant mesothelioma, it is likely that further investigations will be ordered, especially if compensation may be sought.

These investigations may include additional imaging studies, blood tests, bone scans, and lung-function tests, as well as more invasive procedures such as thoracentesis, thoracoscopy, pleuroscopy or a lung biopsy. This is a typical mesothelioma diagnosis

Mesothelioma diagnosis can be done through chest x-ray. The typical abnormalities seen on chest x-ray in patients with malignant mesohtelioma are pleural effusion (a collection of fluid in the space between the 2 layers of the pleura), or it is called pleural thickening.

Unlike lung cancer, there is no association between mesothelioma and smoking Malignancies involving mesothelial cells in these spread cavities are known as malignant mesothelioma, which may be localized or diffuse. Mesothelioma is the word used to describe a cancerous tumor that involves the mesothelial cells of an organ, often the lungs, heart, or abdominal organs.

Mesothelioma diagnosis in this disease, malignant cells develop in the mesothelium, a protective lining that covers transcendently of the spread's internal organs. Greatest malignant mesothelioma set up complex karyotypes, with extensive aneuploidy and rearrangement of tons chromosomes.

Symptoms of mesothelioma may not appear until 20 to 50 years after exposure to asbestos. Mesothelioma diagnosis is often difficult, because the symptoms are similar to those of a number of other conditions. A history of exposure to asbestos may increase clinical suspicion for mesothelioma.

A physical examination is performed, followed by chest X-ray and often lung function tests. The X-ray may reveal pleural thickening commonly seen after asbestos exposure if mesothelioma diagnosis is done.

If the cancer has length beyond the mesothelium to other parts of the size, symptoms may include pain, trouble swallowing, or swelling of the neck or engage.
Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include weight loss and cachexia, abdominal swelling and suffering due to ascites (a buildup of fluid in the abdominal cavity).

Exposure to airborne asbestos particles increases one's risk of developing malignant mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma has a peak incidence 35-45 years after asbestos exposure. Malignant mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer in which malignant cells are found in the sac lining the chest or abdomen. Most people with malignant mesothelioma have on worked on jobs where they breathed asbestos.

It can also occur in children; however, these cases are not thought to be associated with asbestos exposure.

Most people who develop mesothelioma get worked on jobs where they inhaled asbestos particles, or have been exposed to asbestos dust and fiber in other ways, such as by washing the clothes of a family member who worked with asbestos, or by home renovation using asbestos cement products.

Treatment options a mesothelioma diagnosis for the management of malignant mesothelioma includes surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and multimodality treatment. Surgery in victims with disease confined to the pleural space is reasonable.

Extrapleural pneumonectomy is a more extensive procedure and has a higher mortality rate. Recently, the mortality rate has been lowered to 3.8%. It involves dissection of the parietal pleura; division of the pulmonary vessels; and en bloc resection of the lung, pleura, pericardium, and diaphragm followed by reconstruction. It provides the greatest local control because it removes the entire pleural sac along with the lung parenchyma.

The 2 surgical procedures used are pleurectomy with decortication and extrapleural pneumonectomy.
Surgical resection has been relied upon because radiation and chemotherapy get hold of been ineffective unequivocal treatments. There are now a number of cancer treatment options open to mesothelioma patients. Extrapleural pneumonectomy for selected victims with very early stage disease may expand recurrence-free survival, but the impact it has on overall survival is unknown at this time.

Mesothelioma diagnosis can be intimidating and can scare a lot of people, but mesothelioma diagnosis may give you a fighting chance if can be diagnose early. So do yourself a favor if you think that what you are suffering from and had worked in an asbestos related workplace.

The purpose of such investigations in mesothelioma diagnosis is to confirm and to determine the type of mesothelioma, to 'stage' the disease (measure how severe it is), and so to assess whether the disease is operable.

Diagnosed With Mesothelioma

Have you been diagnosed with Mesothelioma? Mesothelioma can be a very scary thing, because in fact many of the patients with Mesothelioma end up dying within a year. If you have gotten a Mesothelioma diagnosis for yourself or for a loved one, you should rest assured that there is a way to get compensation for the pain you are going through. It is very easy to get a Mesothelioma attorney through the Johnson Law Group in Louisiana, and you will be able to find a Mesothelioma lawyer that understands what you are going through.

Your Mesothelioma diagnosis might mean the end of many things that you love to do, but there is a way that your family and you can be, in some small way, put at ease by a Mesothelioma settlement that will benefit you and benefit your family. In many of the Mesothelioma lawsuit cases in Louisiana, there are good results, and with Johnson Law Group you can be sure that you have these as well.

Understanding Mesothelioma

If you have had a Mesothelioma diagnosis, you probably know that most of the Mesothelioma is caused by Asbestos. Asbestos is a highly dangerous chemical that was used for many years in building materials and also in fireproofing of buildings. Even after the chemical was found to be very hazardous to a person's health, it was pulled very slowly from some places. There are many companies and businesses that continued to use the Asbestos long after it was deemed unsafe, and even illegal.

This is why there are so many Mesothelioma cases and why there are so many Mesothelioma lawyers and lawsuits. The fact is that even though Mesothelioma is a terrible form of Cancer, there are people to blame. Even if your Mesothelioma symptoms occurred years after you worked for a certain company ,chances are very good that somewhere in this company or somewhere along the line, someone knew that they shouldn't be using asbestos and someone knew that it was going to hurt people.

In order to get a Mesothelioma lawsuit properly started with Johnson Law Group in Louisiana, you have to know what you are doing. This is when Johnson Law Group can come in very handy for you , because they will take all of the pressures and worries of the Mesothelioma lawsuit out of your hands. You have more important things to think about, dealing with your Mesothelioma symptoms and trying to take care of your family. The good news is that Johnson Law Group can get you compensation ,and they can get your family some comfort.

Because Mesothelioma comes mostly from Asbestos, it isn't just the people who worked with these chemicals that are being hurt. Many times in Mesothelioma cases in Louisiana, it is families that are affected. The spouses who washed the Asbestos filled clothing are found to have Mesothelioma. One of the biggest groups of people suffering from Mesothelioma are rescue workers from 9/11, and their families as well. This means that there are man people who need help with Mesothelioma lawsuits in Louisiana, and Johnson Law Group can give them the help that they need to get their lives back on track.

If you have lost someone due to Mesothelioma, you should know that a Mesothelioma is a good possibility for you as well. With Johnson Law Group, you can get compensation to help with final arrangements for your loved one, and to help you to put the pieces of your life back together once they are gone. The Mesothelioma lawyers are going to be able to help you do this, and they are going to be able to make sure that your children and your families are safe from the Mesothelioma symptoms as well.

The bottom line with Mesothelioma lawsuits in Louisiana is that there is always someone, somewhere, who knew something was wrong. This means that there is always going to be someone at fault that you can point to with a Mesothelioma lawsuit. You need to know that if you have been a victim of Mesothelioma, there is help out there waiting for you.

If you have lost someone due to this terrible condition, there are also ways that you can get some money. Money isn't going to make the Mesothelioma go away, but it will help with doctors bills and arrangements that need to be made. Someone is at fault, and you are not to blame. With Johnson Law Group and their associates in Louisiana, you are going to be able to find help where you need it ,and get the answers that you need.

Detailed Information on Mesothelioma

Malignant mesothelioma, also known as mesothelioma cancer is a deadly cancer that affects the lining of the lung (pleura), the lining of the abdominal cavity (peritoneum), and the lining of the heart (pericardium). The most familiar type of mesothelioma is pleural mesothelioma, while pericardial mesothelioma and peritoneal mesothelioma are less frequent. Most people who develop mesothelioma have worked on jobs where they inhaled asbestos particles. The main cause of mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos, although other factors such as smoking may result in additional complications.

Smoking modern cigarettes does not seem to enlarge the risk of mesothelioma. Simian virus 40 (SV40) may act as a cofactor in the development of mesothelioma. There are five common types of mesothelioma. Four of are malignant cancers, and one is a benign condition. Pleural Mesothelioma type of mesothelioma develops in the lining of the lungs, known as the pleura. It is the most common form of malignant mesothelioma. Peritoneal Mesothelioma form of mesothelioma develops in the lining of the abdominal cavity. Pericardial Mesothelioma form of mesothelioma develops in the lining of the heart, known as the pericardium.

Testicular Mesothelioma is the infrequent type of malignant mesothelioma; to date, there have been less than 100 proof cases. Testicular mesothelioma develops in the tunica vaginalis of the testicles. Benign Mesothelioma benign form of mesothelioma most commonly develops in the pleura. This is the only form of mesothelioma for which full cure and recovery is a probable outcome, though it may be a precursor of future asbestos-related problems. Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include weight loss and abdominal pain and swelling due to a buildup of fluid in the abdomen.

Other symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma may comprise bowel obstruction, blood clotting irregularities, anemia, and fever. Treatment for mesothelioma depends on the sites of the cancer, the phase of the disease, and the patient's age and normal health. Surgery is a common treatment for mesothelioma. For cancer of the pleura (pleural mesothelioma), a lung may be removed in an operation called a pneumonectomy. Sometimes part of the diaphragm, the muscle below the lungs that helps with breathing, is also removed. Radiotherapy may be used as part of treatment to try to cure mesothelioma.

Contacting A Mesothelioma Lawyer

Many people who are diagnosed with Mesothelioma have no idea what it is and have never heard of it before. Mesothelioma is cancer that is caused by asbestos exposure and to date, there are no other findings that suggest this cancer to be caused by any other source. Most of the victims of Mesothelioma were workers who worked with asbestos who were not warned of the dangers of working with this toxic product.

People who are diagnosed with Mesothelioma should contact a Rhode Island Mesothelioma lawyer to help them with a Mesothelioma lawsuit that can get compensation for them to help with the medical and financial bills that are a result of the diagnosis.

The cause of Mesothelioma is the inhalation or swallowing of asbestos fibers that become lodged in the body. These asbestos fibers are indestructible and the body's immune system can not get rid of them or break them down. Mesothelioma is a progressive cancer that takes the lives of people who are diagnosed with in within one to two years. Mesothelioma attacks the immune system as well as the area in which the cancer has set in.

Most cases of Mesothelioma is in the pleura, the lining that surrounds the lungs, however Mesothelioma can also attack the lining of the heart or abdominal cavity. While Mesothelioma is relatively rare, 3,000 new cases are reported each year in the US.

Mesothelioma can be caused by any level of asbestos exposure, even infrequent exposure or para-occupational exposure. Para-occupational exposure is secondary exposure and is usually found in the families of people who worked with asbestos materials. The fibers easily cling to hair, skin, clothing and shoes and can become dislodged in the home, creating secondary exposure.

The vast majority of Mesothelioma cancer cases can be traced back to exposure to asbestos in the work place. 20 years ago, products that contained asbestos and asbestos materials were in high demand and used frequently in construction and manufacturing. At that time it was known that asbestos exposure could lead to progressive health disorders such as Mesothelioma.

In World War II, asbestos was used quite frequently in the manufacturing of ships for the war effort in naval ship yards throughout the country. Asbestos was used for building construction and the manufacturing of automobiles as well during this time. Until recently, asbestos products and processes that utilize asbestos were unregulated, although the high risk factors associated with asbestos exposure were known and few safety precautions were offered by companies, and these companies continued to freely use the product.

Most of the companies that used asbestos products or processes failed to provide safety precautions or education for their workers regarding the high risk of working with the product. Their ignorance and complacency however has left them on the hook for financial compensation for workers with Mesothelioma and other asbestos related diseases.

If you or someone you love has contracted Mesothelioma cancer, your best bet is to contact a Rhode Island Mesothelioma lawyer to find out if you have a Mesothelioma lawsuit case to build. The chief problem with Mesothelioma lawsuits is the length of time between exposure to asbestos and diagnosis of Mesothelioma - which is usually approximately 20 years. This makes it quite difficult for Rhode Island Mesothelioma to find the company responsible for your exposure as well as for doctors to properly diagnose the disease.

Mesothelioma symptoms include:
- fluid in the chest,
- chest pains,
- difficulty breathing, and
- coughing.

The nature of Mesothelioma symptoms is easily mistaken for other conditions because they are so similar to other maladies, which in turn often delays the diagnosis of Mesothelioma cancer. Conventional cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy have little to no effect on Mesothelioma cancer's progression.

Most Mesothelioma victims can help to pinpoint the company or company's responsible for their asbestos exposure. Most of the companies knew the dangers of asbestos exposure and failed to take precautions or measures to protect their workers. Mesothelioma is devastating to people and families emotionally, physically and financially.

A Rhode Island Mesothelioma attorney can help you file a Mesothelioma lawsuit for yourself or a loved one against the company responsible for the exposure. A good Mesothelioma lawyer can easily track down the responsible party and fight to gain financial compensation. While finances are no replacement for a life lost to Mesothelioma, it can help with the financial burden the disease brings with it including funeral expenses, lost wages, medical costs and pain and suffering.

Chemotherapy Treatment

Mesothelioma treatment options almost always include chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is recommended by mesothelioma doctors to attempt to stunt or destroy the mesothelioma cells.

Most patients who undergo mesothelioma treatments do so in order to prolong life, or to make life as symptom free as possible while there is still time. Most mesothelioma doctors have the unfortunate duty to prepare their patients for the high likelihood of death.

Asbestos lawyers have joined forces with mesothelioma doctors in providing the best care possible, mesothelioma doctors providing care for the patient's health while the asbestos lawyers provide care for the patient's financial future.

Mesothelioma attorneys are working tirelessly on behalf of mesothelioma victims to provide families with whatever closure may be possible in regards to their financial health.

Mesothelioma treatment options often include a visit with a mesothelioma attorney, as a victim of mesothelioma understands all to well the dire effects of leaving their family without enough funds to pay for mesothelioma treatment.

Unfortunately, most mesothelioma treatment options are very expensive and they are long term. Without the assistance of a highly qualified asbestos lawyer, many mesothelioma victims would have no recourse, and no way to pay for the exorbitant costs associated with mesothelioma treatment.

Mesothelioma doctors understand the long fight, and the toll it can take on the body as well as the spirit, Mesothelioma doctors have testified in countless lawsuits on behalf of asbestos lawyers in an attempt to assist patients fight for their rights.

While mesothelioma treatments are slowly inhibiting the victim from being able to enjoy the life they have left, big business is slowly killing the rights of mesothelioma victims all over the country. The government has added to this problem by passing horrendous laws which protect businesses from asbestos lawyers and lawsuits.

Mesothelioma attorneys are there to assist victims of this treacherous cancer with finding monetary assistance to pay for the mesothelioma treatment. Mesothelioma doctors are interested in providing the best quality of life possible for their patients.

Together, they provide the best possible mesothelioma treatment team to allow the victims of mesothelioma to take care of their needs and spend time with their families. Mesothelioma doctors are working on finding cures in conjunction with researchers, although the nature of the disease makes finding a cure in the near future very difficult.

Mesothelioma doctors are wary of promising too much, as most cases of this type of cancer are not detected early enough to remove the cancer. Most mesothelioma treatment options include chemotherapy, physical therapy, and radiation therapy in an effort to destroy the cancer cells and keep patient strength up, with the minority of mesothelioma treatment options including surgical procedures that will allow the patient more comfort, and in some cases, a little more time.

Asbestos lawyers know all too well that it is not uncommon for mesothelioma treatments to take a huge toll on their clients, and there are times when they need to speak on behalf of their clients without their presence. A good mesothelioma attorney will be able to represent their client well in their absence and present a case that will secure a financial future for their family.

Mesothelioma doctors understand the great financial stress that mesothelioma treatments can place on families, even those with insurance. Mesothelioma doctors almost always recommend that their patients meet with an asbestos lawyer to hopefully provide the best outcome possible for the patients and their families.

Mesothelioma treatments whether it is chemotherapy and radiation therapies, or surgical procedures to help patients breathe easier, are a patient's only hope of comfort and the unfortunate long shot at a cure. Mesothelioma doctors are not giving up on finding that cure.

Once mesothelioma treatments have begun, and a mesothelioma doctor and an asbestos lawyer have begun assembling the best treatment and representation options available, then it is time for the patient to dig deep and fight for their own survival.

Family support, medical support, and legal support provide the best overall chances for a positive outcome after being diagnosed with mesothelioma. There is no absolute substitute for overall health, and everyone recognizes the severe unfair nature of mesothelioma, but aside from fighting for a patient's right via a good mesothelioma attorney, victims of mesothelioma always fair better when they deal with emotional backlash and then get down to the business of living as fully as possible and creating the best health for their body as possible.

There is no doubt that the sooner mesothelioma treatments begin, the better the chances become for the victim of mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma Cancer An Overview

Cancer takes on many forms and results from many causes. Some cancers are preventable. Some forms of cancer have a good prognosis. The type of cancer that is the focus of this article is called Mesothelioma and it is preventable. If someone develops mesothelioma, typically the prognosis is poor and families need to seek help from a mesothelioma lawyer.

Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos and the legacy of mesothelioma is a disturbing one. Thousands of people unduly suffer from the effects of asbestos exposure and many more have wrongly died. The hazardous effects of asbestos became know in the 1920s but corporations, who were using asbestos, did not tell their employees of the danger nor did they use alternative materials.

Thousands of persons were unnecessarily exposed to asbestos and as a result many developed mesothelioma in their later years. If you, or anyone you know, have mesothelioma contact a mesothelioma lawyer to help you receive compensation if you were wrongly exposed to asbestos.

If you know someone who died from mesothelioma, it is important that their family contact a mesothelioma lawyer who can recommend whether a mesothelioma lawsuit may result in compensatory benefits.

Mesothelioma attacks what are called mosothelial cells of an organ. The most common organ cells affected by mesothelioma are those in the lungs, heart or abdomen. Pleural mesothelioma is the most predominant type of mesothelioma and it presents as an extremely virulent variety of lung cancer. Pleural mesothelioma is separated into two explicit categories. The first type is called diffuse and malignant (cancerous) and the second type is known as benign (not cancerous).

Malignant mesothelioma is a life-threatening rare condition accounting for almost 75% of all the mesothelioma cases. Malignant mesothelioma must be treated aggressively as it is a malignant type of cancer.

Not only for this reason but, also because more often than not, by the time it is has been diagnosed, the disease has moved into an advanced stage of cancer. The diagnosis of mesothelioma can only be made definitively by taking a biopsy and conducting a pathological analysis.

As the pleural mesothelioma tumor spreads over the pleura, (a thin membrane that covers the outside of the lungs) it produces thickening of this membrane. As the thickening progresses, a restraining type of girdle effect takes place.

As the pleural membrane becomes thicker and more restrictive, the lungs become more restrained and start to diminish and become smaller. The ultimate result of this progression is that the lung(s) are less capable of performing their functions.

One of the first signs someone will begin to experience is shortness of breathe. This will initially be noticeable when they put forth energy or effort in actions such as light exercise, making a bed, and yard work etc.

As the pleural mesothelioma grows and the lung(s) become less functional, the difficulty in breathing expands to occurring when the patient is involved in activities requiring even less exertion than light exercise. Eventually the pleural mesothelioma patient will experience shortness of breath even when lying down, sitting in a chair, and/or resting.

The tumor is constricting the lungs as it moves inward and as it expands outward, to affect nearby tissue of the chest cavity and ribs, it more than likely will create an excessive level of pain.

The second type of mesothelioma mentioned above is referred to as peritoneal. The tumor associated with form of mesothelioma affects the peritoneum membrane that lines several abdominal organs. Peritoneal mesothelioma is not as rare as pleural mesothelioma but it presents more aggressively and as a results in a reduced life expectancy.

As with all cancers, peritoneal mesothelioma can be benign or malignant. Peritoneal mesothelioma takes years to develop and it is generally discovered by sheer chance and prior to symptoms beginning.
Typically the symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include: abdominal pain, a generalized weakness, poor appetite with eventual lose of weight, nausea and vomiting, and swelling of the abdomen.

The symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma progress slowly and as time passes they become more and more severe. As with pleural mesothelioma, there is no cure and the prognosis is affected by the tumor size and stage, the type of tumor cell, and the response to treatment.

Treatment options for both types include: chemotherapy, radiation, surgical intervention, and intra-operative photodynamic therapy; which is the latest drug and light treatment used in the early stages of mesothelioma. If you feel you have been irresponsibly exposed to asbestos, call a mesothelioma attorney today.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Mesothelioma

What is mesothelioma?

Malignant mesothelioma is the most serious of all asbestos-related diseases. Although uncommon, mesothelioma is no longer considered rare. Mesothelioma is a cancer that is particulary difficult for doctors to diagnose and one that does not respond well to therapy.

The chest cavity, abdominal cavity, and the cavity around the heart are surrounded by a a layer of specialized mesothelial cells. Most other internal organs are also covered by these cells. The tissue formed by these cells is called mesothelium.

A special protective lubricating fluid that allows organs to move around is produced by the mesothelium. This protective fluid helps the lungs to move without resistance inside the chest cavity while breathing. The medical name for the mesothelium of the chest is the pleura and the medical name for the mesothelium of the abdomen is the peritoneum. The mesothelium of the "sac-like" space around the heart is called the pericardium.

A malignant (cancerous) tumor of the mesothelium is called a malignant mesothelioma. As most mesothelial tumors are cancerous, malignant mesothelioma is often simply called mesothelioma. Tumors of the mesothelium can also be benign (noncancerous) but benign mesotheliomas are much more rare.

Mesothelioma was recognized as a tumor of the pleura, peritoneum and pericardium in the late 1700's. However it was not until much later, in 1960, that this particular type of tumor was described in more detail and even more importantly, its association with asbestos exposure was recognized. The first report linking mesothelioma to asbestos exposure was written by J.C.Wagner, and described 32 cases of workers in the "Asbestos Hills" in South Africa. Since than the relationship between mesothelioma and asbestos exposure has been confirmed in studies around the world.

The incidence of mesothelioma in the United States remains very low, with 14 cases occurring per million people per year. Despite these numbers the noticed threefold increase in mesothelioma in males between 1970 and 1984, is directly associated with environmental and occupational exposure to asbestos, mostly in areas of asbestos product plants and shipbuilding facilities.

Although the disease is much more commonly seen in 60-year old men, it has been described in women and early childhood as well. The cause of the disease is not so well understood in these latter two groups, but there is some evidence of possible asbestos exposure for some of these cases as well.

Malignant mesotheliomas are divided into three main types. About 50% to 70% of mesotheliomas are the epithelioid type. This type has the best prognosis (outlook for survival). The other two types are the sarcomatoid type (7%-20%), and the mixed/biphasic type (20%-35%). Treatment options for all three types are the same.

About three-fourths of mesotheliomas start in the chest cavity. They are known as pleural mesothelioma. Another 10% to 20% begin in the abdomen. These are called peritoneal mesothelioma. Pericardial mesothelioma, starts in the cavity around the heart, and is very rare. The covering layer of the testicles is actually an outpouching of peritoneum into the scrotum. Mesotheliomas that affect this covering of the testicles are quite rare.

Glossary of Terms

asbestos: combination of several minerals that separate into long, threadlike fibers. Because they do not burn, do not conduct heat or electricity, and are very resistant to chemicals, these minerals are often used for making fireproof materials, electrical insulation, roofing, filters, etc. benign: doing no harm, good

incidence: the frequency with which an event occurs (usually in a group at risk) pericardium: a thin membrane surrounding the heart and the roots of the great blood vessels.

peritoneum: a thin membrane that covers the abdominal cavity and partially covers some of the abdominal organs.

pleura: a thin membrane that covers the lungs (visceral pleura) and lines the chest cavity (parietal pleura) malignant: harmful, dangerous (a malignant tumor is a cancer).

median: middle number in a series of numbers (for example: median survival of 10 months means that for that specific group of patients the survival varied from probably 2 months to 30 months).

mesoderm: the middle layer of cells in an embryo, from which the muscular, skeletal, vascular, connective etc. tissues develop.

mesothelioma: a tumor of the mesothelium, that can be benign (localized) or malignant (diffusely spread), and that is most commonly caused by the ingestion of asbestos particles.

mesothelium: the thin layer of mesodermal epithelial cells that forms the pleura, peritoneum, pericardium.

metastases: the spread of tumor cells from one part of the body to another unrelated part of the body by the way of the bloodstream or lymphatics.

prognosis: prediction of the probable course of the disease in an individual. Prognostic factors are factors associated with prognosis.

TNM staging: assigning a stage to the tumor based on size, local versus disseminated growth, lymph node involvement and presence or absence of distant metastases.

tumor:
a mass of tissue, a growth independent of its surrounding structures and having no physiological function/ a neoplasm. A tumor can be benign or malignant.

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