Added by Pat Williams on January 10, 2013
The Mesothelioma Research Center website recently launched with in-depth articles about mesothelioma using the popular and easy to understand question and answer format.
“Mesothelioma is a rare cancer that is caused almost exclusively by exposure to asbestos. Many know mesothelioma as a form of lung cancer, which is correct; however, there are two other types of mesothelioma – pericardial and peritoneal. Pericardial mesothelioma affects the lining of the heart, making it very difficult to treat. Peritoneal mesothelioma affects the lining of the abdominal cavity. In fact mesothelioma affects the protective membrane surrounding the lungs, heart, and abdominal cavity.” said a spokesperson.
According to the website, the five year survival rate of lung cancer is just 15% and is among the 18 most common cancers. Unlike other cancers which often cannot be linked to specific risk factors, mesothelioma cancer is linked almost exclusively with exposure to asbestos – which itself is linked with occupational exposure (exposure at work).
People who smoke and were exposed to asbestos are considered to be at a very high risk for mesothelioma.
Obvious mesothelioma symptoms could appear anywhere from 20 to 50 years after exposure to asbestos. Diagnosis and treatment usually starts at a late stage and, as a result, the prognosis is typically poor.
Mesothelioma symptoms generally start out to be so mild that many people don’t notice or recognize them. Initial symptoms include fatigue and mild pain around the tumor site. Late stage symptoms include shortness of breath, weight loss, chronic pain near the site of the tumor, bowel obstruction and fluid buildup.
Diagnosis of mesothelioma includes a chest x-ray, scans like PET, CT, or MRI and, if mesothelioma is suspected, a biopsy is taken. A biopsy is a procedure where a tissue sample is taken to confirm the presence of malignant mesothelioma cells.
Mesothelioma treatment options include chemotherapy, radiation, immunotherapy and surgery. A newer technique commonly referred to as ‘heated chemotherapy’ – yet technically referred to as heated intraoperative intraperitoneal chemotherapy – is a newer option for treatment.
Research into mesothelioma detection and treatment is ongoing with the US federal government having spend more than US$90 billion over the past 40 years.
“President Nixon signed the National Cancer Act of 1971, starting an effort broadly known as the War on Cancer. The research has made progress in a number of areas with targeted tumor treatment at the forefront,” added the spokesperson.
“The incidence of mesothelioma in western nations ranges between 7 and 40 per 1m people – lung cancer in populations with high levels of smoking occurs in 1,000 per 1m people making mesothelioma rare by comparison. Yet approximately 3,000 people die from mesothelioma each year with men four times as likely to develop it, compared to women.”
Find out more about mesothelioma by visiting mesotheliomaresearchcenter.com
© 2013, ↑ The Australian Eye News