Mesotheliomatreatment.net has been created to provide answers and support for people diagnosed with mesothelioma, as well as their families and loved ones. Mesothelioma is a rare, aggressive cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos. While there is currently no cure for mesothelioma, over the past two decades, physicians, scientists and researchers have begun to discover new treatments for this disease that has long been considered a mystery.
With innovative machinery, and researchers on a quest for discovery, diagnosis can hopefully be made in its earlier stages, leading to a better prognosis. Every year, there are as many as 3,000 people diagnosed with mesothelioma. Moreover, men are four times more likely than women to be diagnosed with mesothelioma, and with the exception of benign mesothelioma all forms of the disease are terminal. However, with new, extensive forms of treatment, vast resources, and general information now available to the public, patients coping with the disease are more confident and optimistic than ever.
This terminal cancer is often caused by exposure to asbestos which can be inhaled or otherwise ingested. The fibers then become lodged in the lungs, leading to inflammation and possible infection. Asbestos is a naturally occurring but dangerous fiber that was often used by a large number of industries throughout the twentieth century.
While the dangers of asbestos were well known among manufacturers and companies, it was not public knowledge for the average blue collar worker. These men and women worked day in and out in hazardous conditions and were not even aware of the nearly invisible carcinogen surrounding them. Furthermore, the fibers easily stuck to clothing and hair leading workers to bring the dangerous mineral into their homes subsequently becoming a possible threat to their families.
The dangers of asbestos became better known in the seventies, leading to a decline in its use. Unfortunately, it is still found in many buildings, especially those built before the 1980s.
Understanding the types of mesothelioma can get very confusing. With types, there may be subtypes and additionally, subtypes of the subtypes. Mainly, there are five different types of mesothelioma. One of them is benign (non-cancerous), but the following four are terminal diseases.
Pleural Mesothelioma: This is the most common form of the disease, affecting 75% of the people who are diagnosed with the
disease. It forms in the pleura, the lining of the lungs, which protects the organ.
Peritoneal Mesothelioma: 20% of people diagnosed with mesothelioma suffer from this variant. Rather than in the lungs, this forms in the lining of the abdomen. This lining is known as the peritoneal membrane.
Pericardial Mesothelioma: Affecting about five percent of people, this cancer develops inside the lining of the heart, which is known as the pericardium.
Testicular Mesothelioma: This type of mesothelioma is located in the tunica vaginalis, the membrane surrounding the testicles. This is an extremely rare form of the disease accounting for only 0.7% of all cases between 1973 and 1999.
Due to its long latency period, mesothelioma may not show any signs of occurrence until two to five decades after a patient’s initial exposure to asbestos. The symptoms of mesothelioma are often easy to confuse with symptoms of similar, but less life threatening diseases.
Some of the most common symptoms are related to breathing. These include chest pain, a chronic cough, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. For some patients, lumps may also develop under the skin and chest. Patients may also feel abdominal pain and nausea; they may lose weight, and may have bowel issues, feel heart palpitations, and suffer from night sweats.
Once a patient is diagnosed with mesothelioma, an oncologist can go ahead and plan an appropriate path of treatment for the individual. Since every person and their cancer is unique, a tailored form of treatment is necessary to ensure the best prognosis.
There are a number of different types of treatment available for this disease. Among the curative options that are available are surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. Many patients who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma are given a combination of the three, in what is called a multimodal approach. By combining more than one of these rigorous treatments, it is possible to approach a solution to the cancer from various angles. This innovative approach has been shown to improve the life expectancy of the patient
In addition to these options, there are also some more experimental procedures. Among these options are photodynamic therapy, gene therapy, immunotherapy, hormonal therapy, anti-angiogenesis therapy and ozone therapy. Unfortunately, these options are still in the experimental phase, with little knowledge as to their effectiveness. For this reason they are typically only available to patients as part of a clinical trial.
Some of the more recent clinical trials conducted on gene therapy, photodynamic therapy and immunotherapy have shown results that are positive enough to suggest that further research is promising. Patients who agree to take part in a clinical trial are not only exposing themselves to treatments that may be beneficial; they are also providing researchers with the information that they need to develop new treatments and possibly cures for people who are suffering from mesothelioma in the present and future.
Furthermore, many patients seek complimentary methods of treatment. These are not necessarily used in place of more conventional options such as chemotherapy and surgery, but rather as a compliment to the treatments. While they have not been proven to cure the mesothelioma, many people note feelings of reduced stress or pain after a complimentary procedure such as yoga or acupuncture.
One industry that largely used asbestos in their sector was the United States Armed Forces. The military used asbestos in the production of many types of ships, buildings, and vehicles, resulting in hundreds of thousands of soldiers and workers being exposed to this toxic fiber. Asbestos reached its climax during World War II and today, as a result, many U.S. veterans are suffering from mesothelioma.
Studies show that more than thirty percent of people who suffer from mesothelioma are veterans. Since the disease carries with it such a great latency period of up to 5 decades, those who served in the Armed Forces half a century ago may just now be experiencing symptoms indicative of the disease.