Do you know that malignant mesothelioma majorly occurs in people who worked around asbestos – typically, many years earlier?
Mesothelioma is a fatal disease that leads to approximately 250 0 deaths per year in the US. Also, almost 3000 people are diagnosed with this disease each year in the US. The symptoms of this disease are evident upon screening only during late detection. Hence, the death toll.
However, to remove any misconceptions and provide you with updated information, we will discuss all the important facts and details about mesothelioma in this article.
What is Mesothelioma?
A rare form of cancer developed in the mesothelium – a thin tissue layer on organs responsible for creating a special fluid that enables the organs to move.
According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, about 75% of malignant mesothelioma starts in the chest. This disease has three variants; epithelioid type, sarcomatoid type, and mixed, or biphasic, type.
Cancer cells found in the thin layer of tissue lining the chest cavity and covering the lungs are called pleura. Additionally, the thin layer of tissue lining the abdomen and covering most of the organs in the abdomen is called the peritoneum.
While the disease is least likely to occur in the lining around the heart, called the pericardium and lining of the testicles known as tunica vaginalis, it is cancer that can easily spread in the majority of your internal organs.
Signs and symptoms of Malignant Mesothelioma:
The American Cancer Society reports that most of the early symptoms of mesothelioma are similar to ones, likely to be caused by other health problems. Therefore, people often turn a blind eye or misinterpret them for common, minor ailments.
Pleural mesothelioma, which occurs in the pleural tissues surrounding the lungs, causes signs and symptoms that may include:
- Pain in chest
- Throbbing cough
- Shortness of breath
- Abnormal lumps of tissue under the skin on your chest
- Unusual weight loss
Similarly, peritoneal mesothelioma, which occurs in the abdominal tissue, causes signs and symptoms that may include pain in the abdomen, swelling of the abdomen, nausea, and unusual weight loss. The signs and symptoms of malignant mesothelioma mainly depend on the cancer-affected areas.
Most patients with mesothelioma show symptoms for at least a few months before being diagnosed. A variant of mesothelioma (pericardial mesothelioma) that damages the tissue around the heart causes symptoms such as breathing difficulty and chest-related pains.
Treatment for Mesothelioma:
While a patient may be unaware of the best treatment option, choosing from various treatment recommendations and options depends on various factors, including the type and stage of cancer, the side effects, and the patient’s preferences according to his overall health.
The most frequently offered treatment for mesothelioma involves a combination of chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation therapy. Most of these treatment options can efficiently help relieve symptoms and provide a healthy life to mesothelioma patients.
However, the present-day mesothelioma treatment recommendations are majorly driven by The American Society of Clinical Oncology. Healthcare professionals diligently follow the given clinical practice guidelines when treating diseases triggered by harmful materials such as asbestos.
Treatment Options for Mesothelioma Patients
Before selecting the best treatment option for mesothelioma, the healthcare professional considers a few things. The location of the tumor and the extent to which cancer has spread significantly impact the treatment. A patient’s treatment can differ based on these factors.
- Palliative Procedures for Malignant Mesothelioma
- Immunotherapy for Malignant Mesothelioma
- Targeted Therapy for Malignant Mesothelioma
- Chemotherapy for Malignant Mesothelioma
- Radiation Therapy for Malignant Mesothelioma
Surgery for Malignant Mesothelioma
Over 2,000 cases are reported in the US annually. Unfortunately, this disease has no permanent cure. However, as the research continues, the treatment options are improving.
Mesothelioma Survival Rate
The survival rate for mesothelioma is typically 4–18 months after diagnosis, but some patients have lived up to ten years. Currently, the five-year survival rate for the disease is only 10 percent.
Also, it’s crucial to note that this number stands higher than it was ten years ago and much higher than 20–30 years ago.
Mesothelioma Life Expectancy
For those diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, their life expectancy depends on several factors: the disease’s location and type, its stage at diagnosis, general health of the patient, and treatment options. Patients diagnosed earlier usually have a more favorable and healthy prognosis than those diagnosed with later-stage disease.
The risk of suffering from mesothelioma increases with age. Fatal cancer may occur in young people and even children, although rare in people under 45. Therefore, it is essential to be fully aware of its causes, symptoms, and treatments.
It is also crucial to avoid places and situations that may lead to asbestos exposure or mesothelioma at any stage of life. However, don’t mistake every symptom with mesothelioma. If you have been having one or more of the above-listed symptoms, consult with your doctor and seek medical assistance at the earliest.
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