What is mesothelioma

what is mesothelioma
Mesothelioma (malignant mesothelioma) is an aggressive uncommon form of cancer that develops from transformed cells originating in the mesothelium*. Most cases of mesothelioma occur in the chest (pleural mesothelioma), rarely may occur in the abdomen (peritoneal mesothelioma) or other organs. It is usually caused by exposure to asbestos, especially blue asbestos. Exposure may only be brief and there may be a lag-time of 20 to 40 years. Your risk is greater if you were exposed to large amounts of it from an early age for a very long period of time. But some patients say they have no history of any heavy exposure to asbestos. On every 10 people diagnosed with mesothelioma, about 80% say they have been in previous exposure to asbestos.

While mesothelioma is most common in the lungs (~90%), it's important to differentiate between lung cancer and mesothelioma. They are two very different types of cancer and require different types of treatment.

Pleural mesothelioma is the only known pleural cancer and is caused by asbestos exposure in nearly all cases. Of patients with pleural malignant mesothelioma, about 77% have been exposed to asbestos in the past. Early diagnosis is difficult because the results from fluid analysis of the tumor effusion are not usually diagnostic.

Wide range of occupations, notably railway engineering, shipbuilding and asbestos product manufacture, are associated with an increased risk of mesothelioma.

When someone is exposed to asbestos particles in the air, that will increases the risk of developing malignant mesothelioma. Most of patients who develop malignant mesothelioma in the past work on jobs where they inhaled asbestos, or were exposed to asbestos fibers and dust in other ways. Also has been suggested that washing clothes of a family member who worked with asbestos dust or fibers increases their risk for developing malignant mesothelioma. Unlike lung cancer (1.37 million deaths worldwide), there seems to be no association between malignant mesothelioma and uses of tobacco, but smoking increases the risk of other asbestos-induced cancers. Some patients who were exposed to asbestos have collected damages for asbestos-related disease (including mesothelioma). Asbestos workers have up to a 10% lifetime risk of developing the disorder, with an average latency of 30 yr. Mesothelioma can spread locally, but also can metastasize to the hilar and mediastinal lymph nodes, pericardium, peritoneum, diaphragm, kidneys, adrenals, liver and, infrequently to the tunica vaginalis of the testis.

Mesothelioma is more common in males than in females, probably because many cases have been caused by exposure to asbestos at work. It occurs most between the ages of 60 and 79 years (average age at diagnosis is 62 years of age )

Annually it's diagnosed on approximately 2,000 to 3,000 individuals in the US** comprising around .3 percent of all cancer diagnoses , most of whom die within 2 years of the diagnosis (summary by Bott et al., 2011). Unfortunately, long-term survival is uncommon.

The most common body location for the development of mesothelioma is the pleura (the outer lining of the lungs and internal chest wall), but it can also arise in the peritoneum (the lining of the abdominal cavity), and the pericardium (heart sac), or the tunica vaginalis (a sac that surrounds the testis).

Mesothelioma exists in four stages. Depending on the stage of the disease, there are various treatments available to help patients or at the very least relieve pain and improve their comfort and quality of life.

Tumor predisposition syndrome may contribute to the development of malignant mesothelioma upon asbestos exposure and is caused by germline mutation in the BAP1 gene on chromosome 3p21.

Class action lawsuits or compensation via asbestos funds is an important issue in law practices regarding malignant mesothelioma. Finding the right mesothelioma attorney and filing a lawsuit is a serious thing for you and your family, and that will increase your chances of winning a settlement in a court of law.

*Mesothelium is a protective membrane, made up of two thin layers that forms the lining of several body cavities: peritoneum (abdominal cavity including the mesentery), the pleura (thoracic cavity), and pericardium (the sac that surrounds the heart). Also, mesothelial tissue surrounds the male internal reproductive organs and covers the internal reproductive organs of women. Mesothelium that covers the body walls is called the parietal mesothelium, while the layer that covers the internal organs is called visceral mesothelium. When cancer develops in the mesothelium it's between these layers. Mesothelioma is very difficult to diagnose in its early stages, because of the narrow space in the mesothelium.

**In the UK around 2,400 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year.


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Thank you for your visit. This website is devoted to the needs of people diagnosed with asbestos mesothelioma cancer. The information provided by us was not prepared by medical professionals and should not be taken as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. We continually research new information about mesothelioma, regularly update the Mesothelioma Attorney Directory, and update information on website. Please, take content of our website ONLY for info.
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