Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that forms in the lining that covers the outer surface of specific body organs. It is usually associated with asbestos exposure. Unfortunately, Mesothelioma is rarely curable, although treatment can help control symptoms.
Mesothelioma mainly affects the lining of the lungs (Pleural Mesothelioma), although it can also affect the lining of the stomach (Peritoneal Mesothelioma), heart, or testicles.
More than 2,600 people in the UK are diagnosed with the condition each year. Most cases are diagnosed in people between 60 and 80, and men are more commonly affected than women.
Signs and Symptoms of Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma symptoms develop slowly over time. They usually don’t appear until decades after asbestos exposure. Pleural & Peritoneal Mesothelioma, which affects the tissue surrounding the lungs, causes signs and symptoms that may include:
Very Common Symptoms of Mesothelioma Are:
- Heavy Chest Pain
- Heavy and Light Abdominal Pain
- Cough With Pain
- Fatigue, Heavy Tiredness
- High-Temperature Fever with Sweating (Mostly Fever at Night)
- Loss of Appetite, Weakness,
- Unexpected Weight Loss
- Swelling at Finger Tips
- Lumps of Tissue Skin Near Chest
- Swelling in Abdomen
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Difficult of Breath
- Muscles Weakness
- Body Aches
- Cough With Blood (Hemoptysis)
- Dry Cough or Wheezing
Complications Symptoms of Mesothelioma
As pleural Mesothelioma spreads into the chest, it puts pressure on the structures in that area. This can cause complications, such as:
- Chest pain
- Difficulty Swallowing
- Heavy Abdominal Pain
- Difficulty Breathing
- Pain Due to Pressure on Nerves and Spinal Cord
- An Accumulation of Fluid in the Chest (Pleural Effusion),
Early symptoms of Mesothelioma are complicated to detect as they are mild. Individuals usually ignore the symptoms or attribute them to more general conditions. During the later stages of Mesothelioma, tumor growth causes worsening symptoms. Last stage warning signs usually include pain, loss of appetite, unexpected weight loss, and fatigue.
Studies have shown early warning signs of chest or abdominal pain and fluid retention. Fluid accumulation is called pleural effusion or peritoneal effusion, depending on the location of the cancer. Fluid accumulation often presents as swelling or bloating.
Causes of Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is almost always caused by exposure to asbestos, a group of microscopic fibrous minerals widely used in construction. These tiny fibers can quickly enter the lungs, where they become trapped, causing lung damage over time.
It usually takes some time for it to become an obvious problem, with Mesothelioma developing more than 20 years after exposure to asbestos. The use of asbestos was banned entirely in 1999, so the risk of exposure today is very low. But asbestos-containing materials are still found in many older buildings.
Cancer Cell Type: Aggressive Mesothelioma cell types can increase the severity of early symptoms. Epithelioid Mesothelioma symptoms are usually less severe than Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma symptoms.
Duration of Exposure to Asbestos: Long-term asbestos exposure can cause early symptoms.
Amount of Asbestos Exposure: High levels of asbestos exposure can cause symptoms to appear sooner.
Type of Asbestos: Exposure to Crocidolite, one of the most dangerous types of asbestos, can cause symptoms to appear early.
Metastasis: Aggressive spread to multiple major organs can exacerbate early Mesothelioma symptoms.
Mesothelioma specialists can usually give patients a general understanding of what symptoms to expect at the time of diagnosis. Patients should share all signs and symptoms with their physicians to ensure they receive appropriate treatment and care.
Whether You Work With Asbestos
- Shipyard Workers
- Demolition Workers
- Brake Mechanics
- Military Personnel
- Home Workers
- Asbestos Miners
Stay Safe around Asbestos in Your Home
Older homes and buildings may contain asbestos. In many cases, removing asbestos is more dangerous than maintaining it. Breaking down asbestos can release fibers into the air, where they can be inhaled. Consult a trained professional to detect asbestos in your home. These experts can test the air in your home to determine if asbestos is a risk to your health. Do not attempt to remove asbestos from your home.
Diagnosing of Mesothelioma
Doctors often begin the diagnostic process by analyzing the patient’s symptoms. Patients should seek medical attention immediately if they recognize the common symptoms of Mesothelioma. People with a history of asbestos exposure should notify their doctor and maintain annual checkups.
If doctors are aware of previous exposure, they can proactively look for signs of asbestosis to facilitate early diagnosis. Early diagnosis often allows patients to undergo aggressive treatment options, which can improve the prognosis of Mesothelioma.
- Patient’s Complete Medical History.
- Complete Physical Exam.
- Blood Complete Tests to Identify Risk Factors.
- Perform an Imaging Scan (CT Scan – Many X-Rays Images are taken for Complete detail.
- Perform a Biopsy to Determine Malignancy.
- X-Ray of Your Chest
- Fluid Drainage – If fluid collects around the lungs or in the abdomen, a sample can be removed using a needle inserted through the skin so that the fluid can be analyzed.
- Thoracoscopy or Laparoscopy – the inside of your chest or abdomen is examined with a long, thin camera inserted through a small cut (incision) under sedation or Anesthesia. A sample of tissue (biopsy) may be removed for analysis.
Patients should receive an accurate diagnosis to determine the best treatment plan. Treatment plans will focus on disease progression,
Treatments for Mesothelioma
Once patients receive an accurate diagnosis, they can work with their medical care team to establish a treatment plan. In addition to treating the disease, treatment plans also help patients manage their symptoms.
Treatment for Mesothelioma may be referred to as curative or curative. The goal of curative treatment is to remove as much cancer as possible, while palliative care aims to reduce symptoms. In some cases, a single treatment can offer therapeutic and curative benefits.
Surgery, Chemotherapy, and Radiation therapy are three common treatments for Mesothelioma. Often, these treatments remove or shrink cancerous tumors and tissues, reducing associated symptoms.
For Example, Chemotherapy can shrink Pleural Mesothelioma tumors. This can reduce pressure on the lungs and improve cough, shortness of breath, and chest pain. Surgery can remove peritoneal Mesothelioma tumors. It can reduce pressure on abdominal organs; improve abdominal pain, intestinal obstruction, and bloating.
You will likely also have treatment for your symptoms to help you feel as comfortable as possible.
For example, regularly draining your chest can help you breathe, and strong painkillers can help relieve your pain. Sometimes a procedure is done to keep the fluid from coming back up by gluing the outside of the lung to the inside of your chest (Pleurodesis), or a tube is inserted into your chest to drain fluid regularly at home.
Common Palliative Surgeries Used to Drain Excess Fluid:
More About Mesothelioma
Unfortunately, the outlook for Mesothelioma is poor. This is because it usually does not cause any obvious symptoms until late and can progress quite rapidly once it reaches this stage.
About half (50%) of people with Mesothelioma will live at least a year after diagnosis.
About 1 in 10 (10%) people with Mesothelioma will live at least five years after diagnosis.
There are currently around 2,500 deaths from Mesothelioma in the UK each year. This number is expected to decrease in the future as asbestos was banned in 1999.
Many patients find success with alternative treatments and symptom relief. Alternative treatments may include acupuncture, touch therapy, light therapy, massage therapy, physical therapy, and pain medication.
Patients should discuss possible alternative treatments with their medical care team. Mesothelioma experts have extensive knowledge of successful case studies, emerging treatments, and the latest Mesothelioma research.
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