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How Severe Is The Mesothelioma Disease?

Aug 7, 2008
Mesothelioma is a rare but highly aggressive form of cancer and each year, there are between two and three thousand people diagnosed. The number of new cases is expected to increase over the next ten years. There is only one known cause of the cancer, and that is exposure to asbestos.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous mineral, which was valued for its durability, fire resistance and insulating properties. It was widely used during the first three quarters of the twentieth century. There were many kinds of products manufactured during this time using asbestos fibers, including concrete, textiles and insulation.

Mesothelioma attacks the membranes that cover the lungs, abdominal cavity and internal organs of the body. There are three main types. The most common type is pleural mesothelioma. This type occurs when asbestos fibers invade the cells of the membrane covering the lungs, known as the pleura.

The second most common type of this cancer is peritoneal mesothelioma, which attacks the peritoneum, or membrane covering the abdominal organs. The rarest type of the asbestos cancer is pericardial mesothelioma, which attacks the membrane covering the heart, or the pericardium.

Treatment for this type of cancer has had little success. Because the asbestos cancer is so fast growing, it is often not diagnosed until the later stages of the disease, when the chance of patient survival is poor. Treatments include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are often given in conjunction with surgery. The chance of being cured with these treatments is slight, and surgery and radiation are often used to simply provide relief from pain and other symptoms. A fairly new type of chemotherapy, called heated chemotherapy, does show some promise for peritoneal mesothelioma.

The chemotherapy drugs are heated and infused into the peritoneum, making it easier for the cancer cells to absorb the chemicals and be killed by them. But sadly, for most people suffering from asbestos cancer, the prognosis remains poor.

Asbestos products were widely manufactured and used for the first three quarters of the twentieth century, in spite of the fact that the manufacturers knew the health risks. Mesothelioma is often not discovered for years or even decades after exposure to asbestos fibers.

Asbestos is still found in many older buildings, continuing to put many at risk for exposure. Unfortunately, cancer from asbestos will continue to be a health threat for many years into the future, but with stricter regulations, not as much as it has been in the past.
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Educate yourself further about mesothelioma from Mike Selvon articles portal. Your feedback is valued and appreciated at our asbestos removal blog where a free audio gift awaits you.
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