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Experiencing Mesothelioma Symptoms and Seeking Treatment

Oct 10, 2007
Mesothelioma is a specific type of lung cancer that is caused by exposure to a material called asbestos. This material was banned from use in new constructions in the United States about two decades ago, however many people who were exposed before that time are still at risk for contracting Mesothelioma, and more people can still become exposed should the asbestos existent in older buildings become exposed.

Asbestos is dangerous because when it is disturbed, it releases microscopic fibers into the air, which can then be breathed in by anyone passing by the area. These fibers travel to the lungs where they lodge in the lung tissues. Once inhaled, the fibers of the asbestos cannot be removed, but will remain there indefinitely. Over time, it is possible for cancerous growth to appear around these fibers, causing the lung cancer known as Mesothelioma.

This cancer can take years or even decades to manifest, making it hard for people to recall that they have been exposed or potentially exposed to asbestos. That means that when the symptoms begin to manifest, they are often mistaken for other diseases or discounted altogether. Unfortunately, the early stages of Mesothelioma are very vague and easy to ignore. If you have been exposed to asbestos, even only briefly, you should go for regular checks to ensure that if you develop Mesothelioma it is caught early. Otherwise you might not know that you are sick until it is too late to do much about it.

The symptoms of Mesothelioma are often vague and easy to dismiss or attribute to other things, making it hard to diagnose even if you know that you have been exposed. When you experience any of the symptoms of Mesothelioma, take no chances. Instead, get to your doctor right away to have your lungs checked for the irregularities that signal this rare and dangerous form of lung cancer.

The symptoms of Mesothelioma include coughing, pain in the chest and/or your abdomen, difficulty or pain when breathing (or shortness of breath), fluid in the chest, and difficulty sleeping. These symptoms can be mistaken for other diseases, like pneumonia, so make sure that your doctor knows if you have had any exposure, however brief, to asbestos in your past. Even an exposure that happened 40 years ago can return to haunt you years later.

The shortness of breath that often ends up brining people in to the doctor, often mistaken for pneumonia or other breathing conditions at first, is caused by the cancerous tumors, which can make it difficult for the lungs to expand smoothly and properly. This causes discomfort and even pain as the tumors begin to spread to the chest walls.

The buildup of fluid in the lungs caused by Mesothelioma is what makes it difficult to sleep, and while you might think that you have pneumonia for sure at this point, it is vital that you ask about Mesothelioma to avoid a misdiagnosis that could cost you time and treatment options. The longer that the cancer remains untreated, the more it affects your body and causes problems like fatigue and weakness. Your body may also have a new problem absorbing nutrients, which can cause dangerous weight loss that can make you harder to treat as you grow more frail and/or sickly. As symptoms become more advanced and the cancer continues to spread, your pain may progress to your face and throat, and might cause difficulty swallowing or swelling in your face area.

There are actual several different ways that Mesothelioma can manifest, each of which can be diagnosed with a number of tests including X-rays, MRI scans, and CT scans to trace the abnormalities of your lungs. You will likely be taken for a full blood count and you will be tested for the levels of certain specific proteins as well, to help make the proper diagnosis. Once it seems likely that you do indeed have Mesothelioma, you will likely be taken in for a biopsy to determine what kind, and to confirm that this is indeed your problem.

As scary as it can be to receive a diagnosis of Mesothlioma, it can be much scarier to not receive the diagnosis on time. It is important to contact your doctor when things are not quite right with your lungs, even if it seems like a minor problem at the time, especially if you suspect or know that you have been exposed to asbestos in the past. It is your life, and you should take no chances with it.
About the Author
Nick Johnson is lead counsel with Johnson Law Group. Johnson represents plaintiffs in many states and focuses on injury cases involving Fen-Phen and PPH, Paxil, Mesothelioma and Nursing Home Abuse. Call Nick Johnson at 1-888-311-5522 or visit http://www.johnsonlawgroup.com
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