A comprehensive mesothelioma treatment guide will start with a definition of the disease. A rare form of cancer because of its direct link to asbestos exposure, mesothelioma affects the thin membranes that line the organs within the body. The pleura membrane lines the lungs and chest cavity and peritoneum refers to the lining in the abdomen. The membrane surrounding the heart is called the pericardium. Mesothelioma can affect any of these linings.
Over 90% of the cases of mesothelioma can be tracked back to a point of exposure to asbestos at some time, either directly or indirectly, by the victim. Asbestos is a mineral that occurs naturally in nature. At one time it was once used in a variety of industrial products including brake linings, roof shingles, cement, insulation flooring, in Navy vessels and shipyards and even common household appliances.
Victims who used these products or worked to manufacture these products certainly have an increased risk of receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis because they may have inhaled or swallowed dust containing asbestos particles and fibers. Also, upon arriving home, with dust and fibers on their clothing, their family members may have been exposed, too.
A mesothelioma treatment guide should inform you that any person exposed to asbestos for a long time, or exposed to high levels of it, has an increased risk of mesothelioma. But even if your exposure was short lived you can still develop the disease. It has been shown that smoking and being exposed to asbestos seems to raise a person’s risk even more. Women are the minority in terms of getting this cancer. It is likely because more men would have worked in industries that used asbestos.
There is a long latency period between actual exposure and diagnosis. Typically, the disease presents up to 20 to 40 years after asbestos exposure. Many people are usually diagnosed with mesothelioma between ages 50 and 70. The mesothelioma symptoms become severe enough, alerting them and their medical professional to run more extensive diagnostic exams that uncover the cancer.
Mesothelioma symptoms for those diagnosed with cancer in the lungs or chest, pleural mesothelioma, seem to include shortness of breath, chest pains and fluid build-up between the layers of the pleura.
Peritoneal mesothelioma occurs in the abdominal lining and is associated with swelling and pain caused by fluid build-up. Other symptoms for this type of mesothelioma symptoms include unexplained weight loss, accompanied by loss of appetite and fatigue.
Treatments usually include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation or any combination of the three depending upon the stage in which the cancer is diagnosed. Some treatments are aggressive and include removing the diaphragm, pericardium, lung, or pleura with the intent of removing as much of the tumor as possible. Your overall health will determine what type of therapy would be most beneficial for your diagnosis.