Mesothelioma is a rare but aggressive type of cancer that is found in the lining of internal organs. There are three known types of mesothelioma including pleural mesothelioma that occurs in the lining of the lung, peritoneal mesothelioma that occurs in the lining of the abdominal cavity, and pericardial mesothelioma that affects the lining of the heart. Sometimes, the cancerous cells can damage nearby tissues and organs, and even spread to other parts of the body.
According to Mesothelioma.com, exposure to asbestos is the one recognized cause of mesothelioma. Although other factors such as smoking can make a person more susceptible to the disease. Symptoms of mesothelioma sometimes do not occur until several years after the person has been exposed to asbestos. Shortness of breath and pain in the chest may be a symptom of pleural mesothelioma. Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include weight loss, abdominal pain, bowel obstruction, anemia and fever. Symptoms of pericardial mesothelioma include chest pain accompanied by a cough, an irregular heartbeat, difficulty breathing even at rest, fatigue, or night sweats.
If a person experiences any of the mentioned symptoms and has exposure to asbestos, contact a doctor. Because mesothelioma occurs in the body’s organs, a number of tests may be done, including x-rays of the chest, abdomen or lungs, a CAT scan, or an MRI. A biopsy is then needed to confirm the cancer and is a surgery done to remove a sample of the tissue.
The choice of treatment is usually determined by which stage the cancer is in. Chemotherapy is given to patients with the intention of slowing down the growth of the mesothelioma. Chemotherapy uses anti-cancer drugs and is usually injected into a vein. Depending on the type of chemotherapy drugs used, patients may have treatments weekly, or every 2 to 3 weeks. Chemotherapy for mesothelioma is mainly given only to slow down the cancer and to control symptoms. Radiotherapy can also be used to try to slow down the growth of the cancer or to control symptoms. Patients may have radiotherapy after surgery for an early stage of mesothelioma to try to slow down the return of the cancer as much as possible. Surgery can be used to remove localized mesothelioma, or to take out as much as possible so that other treatments have a better chance of working. With an early stage of mesothelioma, surgery may be done to remove the cancer completely. If a patient has a more advanced stage, it will not cure the cancer but can slow down the spread of the disease, and help to relieve symptoms such as pain and fluid collection around the body’s organs.
– The Authority on Mesothelioma and Asbestos Cancer – Mesothelioma.com
Article Resource: Stacie Kolberg