Mesothelioma is basically a very dangerous type of cancer which is caused because of exposure of asbestos while breathing. The particles of asbestos fibers eventually stuck in the inner linings of the heart, lungs, or abdomen.
In major cases, the affected part is generally the inner linings of the Lungs.
According to various reports and researchers, it is found that the major reason for asbestos exposure is the place of work.
Approx 90% of the affected individuals are related to asbestos-related workplaces. Or in some cases, the family members of the affected person is involved in asbestos-related works.
In the United States and Canada, the prognosis of mesothelioma is a bit difficult.
But in most of the cases, the affected individual is provided treatment according to the identified symptoms.
In this blog post, I’ll be sharing all the information related to Mesothelioma Cancer. This will include Causes, Symptoms, Treatment Options, Diagnosis, Prognosis, stages, types and various other stuff related to the deadly malignant mesothelioma.
So, without any further talks, we will now dive into the ocean of Mesothelioma.
And yeah, this may be long. But trust me you’ll definitely find it valuable and worth-reading…
What is Mesothelioma Cancer?
Mesothelioma is a very less vulnerable type of cancer which is basically caused by direct as well as indirect exposure of Asbestos.
This deadly and rare type of cancer is mostly found in the USA, Canada, and the neighboring countries.
So if you are an American or a Canadian you should stick to this article till the end.
In the United States and Canada, over 5000 cases of mesothelioma cancer are witnessed and being diagnosed. According to a report by The American Cancer Society, approximately 3000 new cases regarding mesothelioma come in records every year.
The most common identifications and symptoms of mesothelioma are light as pie.
The major symptoms include coughing, chest and abdomen pain, and presence of sticky fluid like material around the lungs.
These symptoms are very similar to that of common cold.
In case you are witnessing these symptoms and believing you have common cold, you should have a checkup ASAP. Chances of being affected to mesothelioma are high in your case.
If discovered at an earlier stage, Mesothelioma can be treated easily.
Thus, it is an advice to everyone that if it seems that you have symptoms as mentioned above, then should consult your doctor. Maybe it can save your life too.
The most common treatment options available in the USA are Chemotherapy, HIPEC, radiation therapy, and surgery.
There are various Mesothelioma Care firms which provide suitable treatment at a very low cost. Along with these, various specialists and Doctors also provide treatment facilities.
Till date, Mesothelioma Cancer didn’t have a precise remedy. The treatments only reduce the growth of the tumor to as low as zero. Still, in 2019, no definite cure of this deadly and astonishing cancer is discovered.
Common Symptoms of Mesothelioma Cancer
The most common symptoms of Mesothelioma Cancer includes the following:
- Problems While Inhaling
- Chest & Abdomen Torment
- Dry and Sly Coughing
- Severe Fever
- Effusion of fluids around the lungs
- Short Breath
These symptoms seem to be very small and tiny. But have a very diverse effect on your body if not identified at an early period.
These symptoms generally show up after around 40-50 years of the time victim is exposed to Asbestos.
This is because it takes around 30-50 years for the tumor to develop to that level. This is one of the reasons why most mesothelioma victims are in their 60s and 70s.
The average latency period of the tumors to develop to the level where it can take your life is around 20-50 years. This clears that Mesothelioma tumor takes around 50 years to develop from the very initial point to the final point.
Due to this long latency period, most of the victims are diagnosed when they have reached an advanced stage of tumor development.
So, it is high priority advice as well as a request from our side to take these symptoms as seriously as you can. Because if the symptoms are identified at an early stage, it can easily be treated and can be cured finitely. This will also lead to better life expectancy and improvement in prognosis.
Causes Of Mesothelioma Cancer
The one and only cause of mesothelioma cancer is Asbestos exposure.
Asbestos is a mineral found naturally which is used in various industrial works.
These are used in wall insulation materials, linings of brake pads and many more industrial works. Reports record an average of 80% of victims exposed to asbestos at their workplace.
Asbestos consists of small fibers which eventually breaks into further small particles and can be spread easily through the air.
When these fine particles of asbestos fibers come in contact with inner linings of the Lungs & Heart called Mesothelium, then Mesothelioma occurs.
These fibers basically attack the DNA of the infected person. DNA comprises of Genes which controls the cell’s growth and metabolism. And when asbestos fibers affect the DNA, it affects the Genes too, which further leads to the development of Cancer.
If you are in exposure to asbestos-related products or place, there are chances that you have inhaled some amount of tiny asbestos particles. Once the growth reaches an advanced level, it will show up by symptoms like cell inflammation and cellular damage.
Step-by-step Growth Of Mesothelioma through Asbestos Exposure:
- The victim swallows or breathe-in fine particles of asbestos which are spread through the air.
- Those fibers stuck in the inner linings of the Lungs and Heart, and start the growth of the tumor.
- The growth of the tumor leads to cellular damage and leads to cell inflammation.
- After 20-30 years, the tumor grows to an advanced stage and start damaging mesothelium eventually causing Mesothelioma cancer.
Who Is At Utmost Risk Of Mesothelioma Cancer?
The soldiers in the U.S. and Canadian Military are at the utmost risk of Mesothelioma.
Since 1940, Asbestos is used in the U.S. Military in an abundant amount. During the 90s, Asbestos is used as a shield to safeguard the veterans from attacks.
While doing so, it led to a large amount of asbestos exposure and eventually increased the risk of tumor development in Veterans of U.S. Military.
On the other hand, soldiers of Navy are at the next level of risk. The US Navy used the largest amount of asbestos during the mid-90s. Because of which almost 90% of the veterans who served the US Navy between 1940-1960 are affected by Mesothelioma.
2. Exposure At Work
In the United States, over 70% of the professions and jobs have exposed their workers to asbestos. A wide range of professional in almost every profession and job are found to be affected by Mesothelioma tumors because of their exposure to asbestos at their workplace.
The following professional have high chances of being exposed to asbestos at their workplace:
- Wall Installers
- Demolition Specialists
- Workers At Mills
- Power Plant Operators
- Builder Associated with Navy
- Automobile & Airplane Mechanics
3. Exposure Through Family (Secondary Exposure)
During the mid-90s, the workers at their workplaces are highly exposed to Asbestos. And in the meantime, they unknowingly used to take some amount of asbestos fibers with them to home.
Probably while working, some fibers of asbestos stuck in their clothes or may stick to their body. These fibers are then carried by the workers to their home, where is further exposed to the family members and other residents.
In this way, the family members of the workers also get exposed to asbestos. This is known as secondary exposure in which the victims himself is not directly exposed to asbestos. Rather than that, the family members are exposed directly.
Treatment Options Available For Mesothelioma Cancer
Today, the medical field is too much advanced and has reached a great height.
Nowadays, it is very rare that any disease is uncurable or didn’t have treatment options. Almost every disease has a bunch of treatment options which are enough to save the victim.
Likewise, Mesothelioma Cancer also comprises of a bunch of treatment options. Approximately 7-8 treatment options are available for mesothelioma in today’s advanced world.
The available treatment options are good enough to save the victims of mesothelioma and let them enjoy the world a little more.
But not everyone gets the treatment.
By this statement, I mean not everyone is eligible to get proper treatment.
Specialist nowadays does not treat victims just on the basis of asbestos exposure. The treatment depends upon a bunch of factors. The cell type, stage of cancer, type of cancer, as well as the age and location of the victim, matters a lot in the treatment procedure.
The most common treatment options available for mesothelioma are:
Surgery is one of the most common treatment options available for mesothelioma.
Doctors and specialists recommend surgery for all those cases in which symptoms are identified at an early stage.
Generally, victims of stage 1 and stage 2 undergo surgery as their treatment option.
Specialists recommend this because, at stage 1 and 2, the asbestos fibers haven’t spread to that level of the inner lining of the Lungs and Heart.
While in the case of stage 3 and stage 4, doctors may use surgery only in order to remove the affected tumor and increase life expectancy.
Besides being the most common treatment options, doctors recommend surgery only for patients with good health. And obviously for those having a lower stage of cancer.
Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy (HIPEC) is also the most common treatment options.
HIPEC is basically a two-mode operation through which victims of Peritoneal and Pleural mesothelioma can be treated.
The multi-modal treatment comprises of two far different operations assembled together to remove the tumors of the inner linings of mesothelium.
Initially, surgery is being used in order to remove all the possible tumors spread over the inner linings.
After that, the victim undergoes heated chemotherapy which is applied over the abdominal cavity in order to destroy all the cancer cells which are left after surgery.
This is a great combination of operations which helps in increasing the life expectancy of the victims of Peritoneal and Pleural Mesothelioma.
In the United States, more than 70% of mesothelioma victims undergo chemotherapy in order to survive mesothelioma.
Various specialists and doctors consider chemotherapy as the most effective treatment option.
Chemotherapy is used by doctors to reduce the amount of tumor in the inner linings so that it becomes quite easy to remove that particular tumor through surgery.
Doctors also implement chemotherapy in those cases where they have to shrink breath-restricting tumors.
Such tumors block the path of breathing and cause a lot of abdominal pain as well. These kinds of tumors are shrunk using chemotherapy.
4. Radiation Therapy
Another most effective and common treatment options available for mesothelioma is Radiation Therapy.
Radiation therapy can be implemented for victims of every stage. This helps in increasing the life expectancy and reducing the pain caused by the growth of tumors.
Specialist generally makes use of radiation therapy in case of uneven growth of tumors in the linings. Because of the uneven growth of the tumor, a large amount of pain is observed by the victims.
In order to reduce the pain, victims undergo radiation therapy which reduces the size of the tumor and provides comfort to the victim.
What Are The Types of Mesothelioma Cancer?
There are basically 4 types of Mesothelioma cancer.
Specialists name the different types of mesothelioma cancer on the basis of the affected area. It depends upon the location of the development of tumors.
The four types of mesothelioma cancer are namely:
- Pleural Mesothelioma
- Peritoneal mesothelioma
- Pericardial Mesothelioma
- Testicular Mesothelioma
In the United States, 98% of the mesothelioma cases comprises of pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma. The pericardial and the testicular together make it to 1% each.
All 4 types of mesothelioma have different areas of tumor development.
In the case of Pleural mesothelioma, the affected area is Lungs. While in the case of Peritoneal mesothelioma, the abdomen is the area of affection. And in the case of Pericardial and Testicular mesothelioma, heart and testes are the areas of affection respectively.
- It is the most common type of mesothelioma cancer.
- The tumors are formed on the soft inner linings of the Lungs, called Pleura.
- A wide range of treatment options like surgery, HIPEC is available.
- About 75% of the cases are diagnosed.
- Approximately 20% of mesothelioma cases comprise the peritoneal type of mesothelioma.
- Area of development of tumor is the surrounding linings of the abdomen.
- Can be treated with Multi-Modal therapy and HIPEC.
- Very common symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and weakness.
- The heart is the area of development of tumors.
- Rarest location for the development of tumors.
- Only 1% of the total cases comprises of Pericardial type of mesothelioma.
- Can be treated using Multimodal treatment methods.
- Symptoms include chest pain, problems while breathing, and fatigue.
- Very rare.
- The tumor develops on the inner linings of the testes.
- Not even 1% of the cases comprises the testicular type of mesothelioma.
- Best treated by means of surgery.
Breaking Down into Stages of Mesothelioma Cancer
One of the most important factors for Mesothelioma diagnosis is the stage of mesothelioma cancer.
The stages of mesothelioma depend upon the type of cells, which further decides the available treatment options.
There is no such effective staging system for mesothelioma because of its rareness. But instead of this, doctors use a system of numbers to determine the stages of cancer.
Taking all the criteria into consideration, mesothelioma is divided into 4 different stages. There is no such naming of these stages. Simply they are called as stage 1, stage 2, stage 3 and stage 4 respectively.
As per the names, it is clear that lower is the stage of cancer, lesser is the amount of tumor spread.
Stage 1 Mesothelioma Cancer
- A small amount of developed tumor.
- Higher survival rate.
- Can be easily treated through surgery.
- Average life expectancy is around 22+ months.
Stage 2 Mesothelioma Cancer
- Tumor starts to spread to the adjacent structures.
- Comparatively lesser survival rates
- Surgery is still an option.
- Average life expectancy is around 18+ months.
Stage 3 Mesothelioma Cancer
- Tumor reaches an advanced level and spreads across nodes.
- A very low survival rate
- Surgery along with multi-modal treatment can help
- Life expectancy around 15+ months.
Stage 4 Mesothelioma Cancer
- Tumor completely develops and reaches to all the adjacent parts.
- Chemotherapy and Immunotherapy can save the victim.
- Only God knows the rate of survival.
- Life expectancy is around 12 months.
The Bottom Line
So, that’s all about Mesothelioma Cancer from my side. I hope you found this article worth-reading and literally liked it.
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