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An Overview of Mesothelioma Cancer

Aug 17, 2007
Cancer takes on many forms and results from many causes. Some cancers are preventable. Some forms of cancer have a good prognosis. The type of cancer that is the focus of this article is called Mesothelioma and it is preventable. If someone develops mesothelioma, typically the prognosis is poor and families need to seek help from a mesothelioma lawyer.

Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos and the legacy of mesothelioma is a disturbing one. Thousands of people unduly suffer from the effects of asbestos exposure and many more have wrongly died. The hazardous effects of asbestos became know in the 1920s but corporations, who were using asbestos, did not tell their employees of the danger nor did they use alternative materials.

Thousands of persons were unnecessarily exposed to asbestos and as a result many developed mesothelioma in their later years. If you, or anyone you know, have mesothelioma contact a mesothelioma lawyer to help you receive compensation if you were wrongly exposed to asbestos.

If you know someone who died from mesothelioma, it is important that their family contact a mesothelioma lawyer who can recommend whether a mesothelioma lawsuit may result in compensatory benefits.

Mesothelioma attacks what are called mosothelial cells of an organ. The most common organ cells affected by mesothelioma are those in the lungs, heart or abdomen. Pleural mesothelioma is the most predominant type of mesothelioma and it presents as an extremely virulent variety of lung cancer. Pleural mesothelioma is separated into two explicit categories. The first type is called diffuse and malignant (cancerous) and the second type is known as benign (not cancerous).

Malignant mesothelioma is a life-threatening rare condition accounting for almost 75% of all the mesothelioma cases. Malignant mesothelioma must be treated aggressively as it is a malignant type of cancer.

Not only for this reason but, also because more often than not, by the time it is has been diagnosed, the disease has moved into an advanced stage of cancer. The diagnosis of mesothelioma can only be made definitively by taking a biopsy and conducting a pathological analysis.

As the pleural mesothelioma tumor spreads over the pleura, (a thin membrane that covers the outside of the lungs) it produces thickening of this membrane. As the thickening progresses, a restraining type of girdle effect takes place.

As the pleural membrane becomes thicker and more restrictive, the lungs become more restrained and start to diminish and become smaller. The ultimate result of this progression is that the lung(s) are less capable of performing their functions.

One of the first signs someone will begin to experience is shortness of breathe. This will initially be noticeable when they put forth energy or effort in actions such as light exercise, making a bed, and yard work etc.

As the pleural mesothelioma grows and the lung(s) become less functional, the difficulty in breathing expands to occurring when the patient is involved in activities requiring even less exertion than light exercise. Eventually the pleural mesothelioma patient will experience shortness of breath even when lying down, sitting in a chair, and/or resting.

The tumor is constricting the lungs as it moves inward and as it expands outward, to affect nearby tissue of the chest cavity and ribs, it more than likely will create an excessive level of pain.

The second type of mesothelioma mentioned above is referred to as peritoneal. The tumor associated with form of mesothelioma affects the peritoneum membrane that lines several abdominal organs. Peritoneal mesothelioma is not as rare as pleural mesothelioma but it presents more aggressively and as a results in a reduced life expectancy.

As with all cancers, peritoneal mesothelioma can be benign or malignant. Peritoneal mesothelioma takes years to develop and it is generally discovered by sheer chance and prior to symptoms beginning.
Typically the symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include: abdominal pain, a generalized weakness, poor appetite with eventual lose of weight, nausea and vomiting, and swelling of the abdomen.

The symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma progress slowly and as time passes they become more and more severe. As with pleural mesothelioma, there is no cure and the prognosis is affected by the tumor size and stage, the type of tumor cell, and the response to treatment.

Treatment options for both types include: chemotherapy, radiation, surgical intervention, and intra-operative photodynamic therapy; which is the latest drug and light treatment used in the early stages of mesothelioma. If you feel you have been irresponsibly exposed to asbestos, call a mesothelioma attorney today.
About the Author
Tim Dillard is a marketing executive who has worked with some of the largest law firms in America. Dillard is currently the president of Dillard Local Branding (http://www.dlbllc.com), a Houston-based web design, Internet marketing and search engine marketing firm.
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