Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma

The National Cancer Institute states that: Malignant mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer, is a disease in which cancer (malignant) cells are found in the sac lining the chest (the pleura), the lining of the abdominal cavity (the peritoneum) or the lining around the heart (the pericardium).

Sadly, mesothelioma is an environmentally cause diseased. That is most cases have occurred in people who have been exposed to asbestos one their jobs. They have breathed the asbestos fibers into their lungs. Other cases of mesothelioma have occurred in people exposed to asbestos in a household environment. Exposure to asbestos can be deadly, as we have discovered. As little as one or two months of exposure can result in mesothelioma 30 or 40 years later.

The National Cancer Institute has noted that People exposed in the 1940s, 50s, 60s, and 70s are now being diagnosed with mesothelioma because of the long latency period of asbestos disease.

There are common early symptoms of mesothelioma, but usually they are too general for a common person to make a proper evaluation. Sometimes a person thinks they have pneumonia. Other symptoms may include shortness of breath, chest pain, and/or persistent cough.

However, and this is important, some patients show no symptoms at all. It is always good to have regular medical check-ups including a chest x-ray. However, diagnosis of mesothelioma requires taking a sample of fluid or tissue for expert examination to determine if the cancer is present diagnosis is very important, as the treatment is dependent upon an accurate diagnosis. Talk to your doctor or contact a cancer health care clinic for a list of expert pathologists to make the diagnosis.

Like most cancers, the prognosis for this disease often depends on how early it is diagnosed and how aggressively it is treated. People diagnosed with this disease are often told the expected survival rate is only eight to twelve months. However, specialists in treating malignant mesothelioma at the leading cancer centers often have better statistics.

On expert in this particular cancer is Dr. David Sugarbaker at Brigham and Womens Center in Boston. His patients have achieved a five-year survival rate in almost 40% for selected patients. Nevertheless, here again, time is of the essence for even a partially successful treatment.

There are three traditional kinds of treatment for patients with malignant mesothelioma: surgery for taking out the cancer, chemotherapy in using drugs to kill the cancer, and radiation therapy using high-dose x-rays to kill cancer cells.

There are many fine websites to help you and your family through the stages of dealing with the disease of mesothelioma.

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