Mesothelioma - what is it?

Find up to date, concise information on mesothelioma and important links. This is a resource center to help victims and their families deal with asbestos related lung cancer.

In the 20th century mesothelioma has emerged as a "modern" industrial technology disease affecting people who have been exposed directly or indirectly to asbestos during their lives. Based on imbedded fragments or fibers of asbestos that have been breathed in or which have otherwise migrated into the internal organ cavity of the body, mesothelioma strikes suddenly and lethally.

While the current science remains incomplete on the mechanisms associated with the onset of mesothelioma, health researchers understand all too well that the disease locus typically is the external tissue sheathing known as the mesothelium surrounding organs such as the heart, spleen, liver, lungs or bowel.

In the wider context of health statistics relating to cancer formation in population, mesothelioma is considered by health analysts to be somewhat rare. While asbestos is a "trigger" factor, indeed a necessary pre-condition, mesothelioma does require the convergence of related health factors which include family gene history, diet, nutrition, other disease incidence, immune system robustness, use of tobacco products and a host of other health factors. Annually in the United States, about 2000 new mesothelioma cases are diagnosed, reflecting exposures dating 15 to 45 years earlier for the affected persons. Mesothelioma impacts both men and women, however due to industrial workplace demographics men dominate over disease incidence rates.

Adding to the predictive uncertainty about "who will get mesothelioma?" are data showing that many workers who occupied the identical asbestos-infected work environments fail to evidence mesothelioma, yet other workers fell victim to the Cancer. Meanwhile, family members who might have suffered "second hand asbestos" exposure due to Dad or Mom's work (where asbestos fibers remained on work clothing or on hair) have entered the medical data stream as victims of either mesothelioma or the non-cancerous asbestosis.

In order to determine whether you've developed a mesothelioma cancer, you need to understand and recognize the preliminary symptoms associating with the onset of full-blown diagnosable mesothelioma. Initial physical symptoms evidencing potential presence of mesothelioma Cancercells include shortness of breath, swelling of the abdomen, fever, uneven sleeping, muscle fatigue, coughing up blood, loss of appetite and weight loss, swelling of the face and limbs, amongst other indicators.

Diagnostic procedures used to confirm a mesothelioma cancer commence with a physical examination, where various measurements and assessments will be taken in order to establish some baseline of your health. A knowledgeable physician, through the interview process, will identify the asbestos factor as a key diagnostic reference point. Resulting diagnostic steps to verify the presence of mesothelioma may include an X-ray, thoracic surgery to directly observe internal organs. In the event that thoracic surgery is elected, then the surgeon will extract tissue samples to be taken to the lab for biopsy tests to determine the presence of mesothelioma Cancercells. Additional diagnostic procedures for mesothelioma may also include MRI screening.

Regrettably, mesothelioma moves quickly in its attack on the health and functioning of internal organs. Typically, persons diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma will have a life expectancy of no more than two years. Meanwhile, treatment therapies for mesothelioma will cost over $200,000 per year and may result in symptoms nearly as difficult as the mesothelioma disease itself. If you or family member or friend believe that you have a background asbestos exposure and are presently showing indicators of mesothelioma symptomology, then you should immediately consult your physician. For further information you can continue your research on this site. Further industry information on mesothelioma can be found at CancerInformation Service or The Mesothelioma Center.

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