Tuesday, June 14, 2005

What are the symptoms of mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma may not show any sign until 30 or 40 years. It is very difficult to find out in early stages.

Possible signs of malignant mesothelioma include shortness of breath and pain under the rib cage.
Sometimes the cancer causes fluid to collect around the lung or in the abdomen. These symptoms may be caused by the fluid or malignant mesothelioma. Other conditions may cause the same symptoms. A doctor should be consulted if any of the following problems occur:
• Trouble breathing.
• Pain under the rib cage.
• Pain or swelling in the abdomen.
• Lumps in the abdomen.
• Weight loss for no known reason

How asbestos creates mesothelioma?

Malignant mesothelioma is caused by asbestos exposure.
Many people with malignant mesothelioma have worked or lived in places where they inhaled or swallowed asbestos. Other risk factors for malignant mesothelioma include the following:
• Living with a person who works near asbestos.
• Being exposed to a certain virus.
After being exposed to asbestos, it usually takes a long time for malignant mesothelioma to occur. There is a latency period of 20 to 50 years or more between initial exposure and development of the disease with the average being between 35 and 40 years. Rare instances have been documented when the interval was less than 20 years.

The incidence of mesothelioma rises with the intensity and duration of exposure to asbestos. However, there are numerous cases of mesothelioma among people with very little occupational exposure or even household exposure. There are cases of people getting mesothelioma 30 or 40 years after a summer job working construction, and cases of housewives or children being exposed from work clothing. Many people being diagnosed with mesothelioma now were exposed in the Navy many years ago, often unknowingly.

What causes the mesothelioma?

Asbestos is the major cause of mesothelioma.

70 to 80 percent of the mesothelioma patients are exposed to asbestos, either in work or in the living environment.

However, in the remaining mesothelioma cases, some patients were not exposed to asbestos in the past.

Hence working with asbestos, like construction, manufacturing of asbestos, other industries where the employees are exposed to asbestos is considered the main cause for mesothelioma.

What is Malignant mesothelioma?

Malignant mesothelioma is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells are found in the pleura (the thin layer of tissue that lines the chest cavity and covers the lungs) or the peritoneum (the thin layer of tissue that lines the abdomen and covers most of the organs in the abdomen). This summary is about malignant mesothelioma of the pleura.

What is mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma (cancer of the mesothelium) is a disease in which cells of the mesothelium become abnormal and divide without control or order. They can invade and damage nearby tissues and organs. Cancer cells can also metastasize (spread) from their original site to other parts of the body. Most cases of mesothelioma begin in the pleura or peritoneum.

What is the mesothelium?

The mesothelium is a membrane that covers and protects most of the internal organs of the body. It is composed of two layers of cells: One layer immediately surrounds the organ; the other forms a sac around it. The mesothelium produces a lubricating fluid that is released between these layers, allowing moving organs (such as the beating heart and the expanding and contracting lungs) to glide easily against adjacent structures.