What Is Mesothelioma?
The most common type of mesothelioma is that which affect the pleura, which is a thin membrane between the lungs and the chest cavity. A peritoneal mesothelioma is another form of this disease, and this affects the peritoneum membrane of the abdomen. These tumours can also be found in the stomach and abdominal organs.
Like other cancers, mesotheliomas can be both malignant and benign.
Although the most common is the malignant form. It is a fast-spreading disease and the life-expectancy of sufferers is not long - usually between four months and two years, with the average survival rate being four months to one year from the onset of symptoms. However, it is not unheard of for some sufferers to have survived for a few years.
Mesothelioma is a disease that is related to exposure to asbestos...
Which was used for many years as a form of thermal insulation. Although asbestos has been a known cause of cancer since the 1920s, it is still present in many places, and was very widely used until the mid 1970s. Anyone that has or has had exposure to this fibre is at risk from this disease, whether or not the exposure was lengthy or regular. The disease has even been known to manifest in women who have washed the clothes of someone that has been exposed to asbestos.
The onset of symptoms of mesothelioma can take many years from the actual exposure to asbestos - typically 35-40 years. Hence, many people in whom the disease is developing today have not worked with or been exposed to asbestos for 35 years or more. The fact that the disease did not present itself during the time of working with this fibre does not mean in any way that the risk factor is not present.
Statistics from the National Cancer Institute show that around 3000 cases of this malignant mesothelioma are reported each year in the United States, and this figure is on the increase.
It is thought that around eight million people in the United States have been exposed to asbestos over the past half a century, and many more cases - approximately 300,000 - are expected to be reported in the next 25 years.
Mesothelioma is far more common in men than in women, and again is far more common in men between the ages of sixty and seventy than in younger men. The disease can be identified by a number of symptoms, which include: coughing, breathing difficulties, chest and abdominal pains, weight loss and lack of appetite, and fluid in the chest cavity. Treatment of the disease is dependant on a number of factors, such as the age and condition of the patient and the stage at which the cancer was detected. Like all forms of cancer, early detection of the disease maximises the chances of effective treatment.