Malignant mesothelioma is a cancer with malignant cells that develop within the lining of the chest or abdomen of the body. The cause most associated with this form of cancer is asbestos exposure. Many victims of this exposure are unaware for decades that a deadly cancer has been forming in their bodies. Not until they experience mesothelioma symptoms that become severe enough do they seek medical attention. These severe symptoms can include shortness of breath or difficulty breathing and acute to severe pain under the rib cage.
Research has shown that exposure to asbestos has been linked to over 90% of all mesothelioma cases. The other percentages cannot prove or link asbestos exposure, but it is suspected as the culprit of the disease or asbestos-related illness.
Most people who have developed malignant mesothelioma were at risk for developing the cancer for a long period of time. These risks include either working in a job that illegally exposed them to asbestos or having direct contact with someone who did – for example family members of people who worked with or around asbestos. The microscopic fibers adhered to their clothing and then they were greeted at the door with hugs and kisses by loved ones all the while unknowingly exposing them to asbestos as well.
Symptoms of malignant mesothelioma include inability to catch one’s breath and pain under the rib cage. In many cases of pleural mesothelioma, the cancer causes fluid to develop circling the lungs or in the case of peritoneal mesothelioma, it encases the abdomen.
In order to narrow down an accurate mesothelioma diagnosis, the following tests and procedures may be used:
- Chest x-ray: This would include an x-ray of the bones and organs encased in the chest.
- CT scan (CAT scan): This exam produces a series of detailed pictures associated with the chest and abdomen all shot at different angles. A computer is connected to the x-ray machine and dye is injected to make the organs or tissues appear more accurately.
- Biopsy: Involves the abstraction of cells or tissues so they can be observed under a microscope by a pathologist to test for signs of cancer.
There are general factors associated with the prognosis and treatment options for malignant mesothelioma. Mesothelioma prognosis – which is the chance of recovery – can depend on the stage and type of cancer, the size of the tumor(s), if the tumor(s) can be removed by surgery and the patient’s general health and age. The average survival time of victims diagnosed with mesothelioma is 2 years. Make sure you spend that time being treated with the best medical care and also seeking appropriate legal representation to recoup monies you are legally entitled to due to illegal exposure to asbestos.