Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that is becoming more and more common. The most common cause of this cancer is exposure to asbestos. When constantly exposed with insufficient protection, asbestos dust and fibers affect the mesothelial cells, which form the mesothelium. Mesothelium is the outer coating that protects some of the body’s most vital organs like the heart and lungs. Mesothelial cells become abnormal after long periods of constant exposure to asbestos causing an array of problems.Due to the latency period and the symptoms of this cancer, mesothelioma is very difficult to diagnose. Mesothelioma takes decades to mature and develop fully and that is why many older men who have been exposed to asbestos thirty years ago are just discovering that they have cancer.
Many of these men are currently harboring several million dollars lawsuits against companies that expose them to the dangers of asbestos without adequate protection mechanisms that are most affected by mesothelioma are the lungs. The most common type of mesothelioma that is called pleural mesothelioma affects the lining of the lungs and can cause symptoms such as coughing, breathing and swallowing, shortness of breath and fever. Another area that can be affected by mesothelioma is the abdomen. This is less common and this is known as peritoneal mesothelioma. Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include nausea and vomiting, weight loss, fever, intestinal obstruction, loss of appetite and pain in general in the stomach area. The last and the lowest common type of mesothelioma is known as pericardial mesothelioma and it affects the heart and surrounding tissue.
Symptoms of this form of cancer include palpitations, breathing difficulties and a persistent cough. Generally, the symptoms of mesothelioma are typical of many other diseases, making it very difficult to diagnose. There are treatments for mesothelioma, although these are generally unsuccessful. If the cancer is treated aggressively in its beginnings then there is a good chance of a patient survivor. However, due to the difficulty in diagnosing mesothelioma, cancer is not present until it is too late. The treatments that are used for mesothelioma include surgery, radiotherapy, palliative therapy and chemotherapy. The search for additional mesothelioma treatment is done in various cancer centers throughout the United States as well as by pharmaceutical companies.
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