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Mesothelioma Cancer | Symptoms, Prognosis, & Treatment

Asbestos has long been prized for resistance to heat and electricity and for its durability, strength, and flexibility. These properties gave it many uses in all kinds of industries, but it has since been proven that long-term exposure to its fibers posesserious health risks, including mesothelioma.

Due to its widespread use in the U.S. and throughout the world, hundreds of millions of people have been and still are exposed to harmful asbestos. Many of these people have developed mesothelioma, a type of cancer that only shows symptoms decades after the exposure occurred.

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that begins in the tissuethis is called the mesotheliumthat lines organs in the body. The most common type of this cancer is pleural mesothelioma, in which tumors form in the tissue around the lungs. Asbestos fibers that are inhaled stick in this tissue and cause damage over decades. Other types of mesothelioma attack the peritoneum in the abdominal cavity or the pericardium around the heart.

Malignant mesotheliomatakes decadessometimes up to 50 yearsto develop after exposure to asbestos, and because it is rare with symptoms similar to more common illnesses, diagnosis is often delayed.

Symptoms of pleural mesotheliomainclude shortness of breath, chest pains, and persistent dry coughing. As the disease advances to its final stage, symptoms can become more severe and typically include severe chest and lung pain, bloating, fatigue, skin rashes, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, night sweats, and fever.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be entitled to substantial compensation.Fill out our form to receive a freeFinancial Compensation Packet. Our packet is loaded with information on leading mesothelioma attorneys in your area, how to file a claim for asbestos trust funds, how to get paid in 90 days, and more.

Most mesothelioma victims are people who worked with or around asbestos. Men and women who served in themilitary, construction workers, shipyard workers, and industrial workers are among those most at risk. Anyone who lived with someone who worked with asbestos may develop mesothelioma after being exposed to fibers brought home on the workers clothing.

U.S. Navy veterans have some of the highest rates of mesothelioma in the country. American naval vessels built from the 1930s to the early 1960s contained large amounts ofasbestos. Floors, hulls, electrical systems, insulation, boilers, steam pipes, and more contained asbestos fibers in order to add tensile strength, heat resistance, and low electrical conductivity.

Other types of workplaces likely to have contained asbestos include power plants, steel plants, manufacturing facilities, oil companies, welding business, automotive shops, chemical plants, mines and processing plants, and textile mills.

Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer. Not everyone who was exposed to asbestos will develop the cancer, although exposure is the leading cause. The demographic most likely to be diagnosed is older men, those who worked decades ago in facilities with asbestos.

It can take decades to accuratelydiagnose mesothelioma. Symptoms may not be obvious for 20 to 50 years after exposure. Even then, the symptoms may initially seem mild and mimic those of pneumonia, the flu, and other common illnesses. It is important for physicians to know if patients with mesothelioma-like symptoms may have been exposed to asbestos in the past in order to make the most accurate diagnosis or to refer patients to the right specialists.

After a physical exam, diagnosis will likely involve blood tests, X-rays, and other types of imaging scans. If tumors or growths are seen in scans, the next step is to perform a biopsy. A small piece of tissue is removed to be examined under a microscope. This is usually the most conclusive way to determine if growths are cancerous. After mesothelioma is diagnosed, a specialist will stage the disease.

Mesothelioma, like other cancers, is assigned one of four stages at the time of diagnosis to describe how advanced it is:

Mesothelioma cancer currently has no cure, which means that theprognosisis not usually positive. Additionally the prognosis is often not very good because most cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed in the latter stages, when treatment options are limited.

Its important to remember, however, that each patient is different and while one person may survive a year, another person may go on to live decades. Its imperative to work with your physician on the best treatment options for you and your unique situation.

Chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, or some combinations have proven to be the most effectivemesothelioma treatmentsso far. Whenever possible, surgery is used to remove as much of the cancerous tissue as possible. Patients who are not good candidates are those whose cancer is in stage 3 or 4, who are elderly, or who are in poor physical condition or poor health.

Patients who undergo surgery are then usually given chemotherapy or radiation to try to eliminate any remaining cancer cells. Those who cannot have surgery may be given either or both of these treatments to slow the spread of the cancer and extend life.

Research into mesothelioma is ongoing, and there are some exciting emerging treatments that may help more patients in the future:

In addition to traditional medical treatments, many mesothelioma patients can benefit from a range of complementary and alternative therapies. Specific herbs and vitamins, acupuncture, yoga, meditation, and holistic healing, among others may be useful in reducing symptoms and making patients more comfortable.

Remember to fill out our from to get your free Financial Compensation Packet, with information on top asbestos and mesothelioma lawyers in your area. Keep in mind that if you havemesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be eligible for considerable compensation. For additional assistance, contact us at800-793-4540.

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Mesothelioma Cancer | Symptoms, Prognosis, & Treatment

Mesothelioma Information on Cause, Symptoms, Prognosis …

Mesothelioma has become a widely known and publicized disease despite its relative infrequency because of the fact that the only proven cause for its development is asbestos exposure specifically, inhalation or ingestion of tiny, microscopic asbestos fibers that eventually cause the development of mesothelioma. Asbestos related diseases are among the primary industrial medical afflictions of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

The disease has an unusually long period of latency. Persons exposed to asbestos may not develop symptoms of asbestos related disease for twenty to fifty years after the asbestos exposure has taken place. For that reason, the widespread use of asbestos through the 1970s is still causing new diagnoses of mesothelioma today among workers who have long been retired. Although today there are only about 3,000 new cases of the disease diagnosed in the U.S. annually, mesothelioma has taken tens of thousands of lives in this country since asbestos was introduced as an industrial material in the late 19th century.

Asbestos fibers are the primary cause of mesothelioma. They are microscopic, cannot be seen with the human eye and when they are ingested or inhaled go unnoticed. Asbestos fibers are given off by asbestos products that have deteriorated and become friable, which means that they easily crumble at which point the fibers can become airborne in dust clouds. In thousands of industrial sites and repair shops where asbestos insulation or other products were used, workers inhaled asbestos fibers on the job sometimes on a daily basis.

When asbestos fibers are inhaled or ingested, the human body cannot excrete them through any natural means such as coughing, sneezing or any other physiological function. The fibers remain within the body, eventually embedding themselves in tissue; in most cases that tissue is the mesothelium. Asbestos fibers remain in the body forever; eventually they begin to cause problems with the mesothelium tissue. They can cause abnormal cells to develop and those cells begin to reproduce uncontrollably. Often they are cancerous cells, which begin to form the diffuse tumors that characterize most cases of mesothelioma.

The primary cause of asbestos exposure has always been job related. Through World War II exposure occurred in asbestos mines and mills, in textile and pulp & paper mills, in auto assembly plants, steel mills, auto brake shops, in the shipbuilding industry, as well as a large percentage of veterans. Workers in refineries, power plants and petrochemical plants have historically been at risk because of the use of asbestos products for insulation. Construction workers using asbestos laced cement, and asbestos insulation in buildings and the installation of heating systems have historically been at high risk for asbestos exposure.

During the first three quarters of the twentieth century, family members of workers who were subject to on the job exposure were at risk of inhaling asbestos fibers from clothing worn on the job and brought home by the workers. People who lived near asbestos mills were also exposed to asbestos laden clouds of dust. People living in households with asbestos workers were found to have significantly elevated lung burdens of asbestos, often in the same range as found in individuals occupationally exposed to asbestos, such as shipyard workers.

In 1990, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration estimated that approximately 568,000 workers in production and services industries and 114,000 workers in construction industries potentially were exposed to asbestos.

The key to understanding mesothelioma is understanding the various locations that the mesothelium is found and the role that it plays. The lungs are surrounded by a portion of the mesothelium, and the chest cavity wall opposite the lungs is also covered by the mesothelium. These two layers of tissue comprise the pleura, or pleural mesothelium. Another portion of the mesothelium wraps around the heart; this tissue is known as the pericardium. The third important portion of the mesothelium covers the abdominal cavity wall; this portion of the protective tissue is called the peritoneum, or peritoneal mesothelium. The three main malignant types of mesothelioma are:

Pleural Mesothelioma develops in the lining of the lungs. It accounts for about seventy percent of all malignant mesothelioma cases. Because asbestos fibers that affect humans are most commonly inhaled the diseases they cause are most often in or around the lungs.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma develops in the abdominal cavity and often attacks the liver, kidneys and other organs. About fifteen to twenty percent of all mesothelioma cases develop in the peritoneum.

Pericardial Mesothelioma impacts the sac around the heart, is exceedingly rare occurring in about five percent of all cases. Pericardial mesothelioma can have a fatal impact on cardiovascular function because of the pressure the swollen pericardium applies on the heart.

Three medical characteristics of this disease make it particularly insidious. One is the fact that mesothelioma has a latency period that makes the disease far removed from its cause and that much more difficult to diagnose. The second problem with mesothelioma symptoms is the fact that so many of them are similar to symptoms found in far more common afflictions. Finally, because of the latency involved with the onset of mesothelioma and often with asbestosis, the disease usually impacts people entering into their senior years, when medical problems become more common. Diagnosing a rare disease such as mesothelioma under these circumstances often takes an extended period of time.

The most common symptoms for pleural mesothelioma are:

All of these symptoms can be easily associated with far more common physical problems such as pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), bronchitis, or the onset of lung cancer. If the patient has been a smoker, the diagnosing physician is going to be looking for these diseases first.

The symptoms for peritoneal mesothelioma include:

Many of these symptoms are consistent with liver disease, intestinal disorders or kidney malfunctions. The fact that mesothelioma tumors are difficult to see with medical imaging systems make early diagnosis of this disease a rarity.

The symptoms for pericardial mesothelioma include:

Heart disease is perhaps the most common serious illness among people over fifty years of disease, and several forms of cardiovascular problems result in similar symptoms. A pulmonary embolism, cardiovascular thrombosis (blocked artery) and congestive heart disease all show these characteristics and they are usually the diseases attending physicians look for first.

Because mesothelioma is cancer that develops upon a membrane, more often than not it develops as a diffuse form of cancer rather than as a singular mass, or tumor. A series of small tumors spread across the mesothelium membrane are much more difficult to identify with medical imaging equipment than a single tumor is. For that reason X-rays, CT scans and MRI exams usually arent enough for a mesothelioma diagnosis.

The most common form of the disease, pleural mesothelioma almost always causes pleural effusion, or excessive fluid accumulation, to develop as a primary symptom once the disease begins to advance. Once this condition is established the physician can draw out some of that fluid with a surgical needle to analyze the cell content in the lab. Usually a biopsy extracting a small piece of mesothelial tissue is also conducted. Analyses of these samples will generally expose the existence of malignant cells.

A similar approach is often taken with peritoneal mesothelioma, which commonly causes fluid accumulation in the abdomen. A tissue sample from the abdominal wall extracted with a laparoscope along with a fluid sample help to determine the presence of malignant cells. Analysis of kidney and liver functions and protein levels can help to eliminate other potential causes of the symptoms.

Surgery is often the choice when mesothelioma is diagnosed early enough, such as a stage I and stage II mesothelioma. In many cases with pleural mesothelioma this means a pleurectomy, a procedure where the entire pleura is removed. In cases where pleural effusion has been severe, the two surfaces of the pleura might be fused in a process called pleurodesis; generally this is a palliative treatment. Many procedures also take a piece of the lung. An extrapleural pneumonectomy removes part of the lung, part of the diaphragm, part of the pericardium and part of the parietal pleura, which is the tissue covering the chest wall.

Surgery with peritoneal mesothelioma follows a similar model, except that removing nearby organs is not always a viable option as it is with a pneumonectomy. Surgery on the pericardium often occurs on an emergency basis as mesothelioma causes the membrane to swell and put dangerous pressure on the four chambers of the heart.

The use of chemotherapy is widespread in mesothelioma treatment; in recent years it is almost always conducted in conjunction with a radiotherapy program. Most chemotherapy drugs have not proven to be terribly effective against mesothelioma; there are two that have been approved by the FDA thus far for mesothelioma treatment. Researchers are constantly searching for innovative methods to attack malignant mesothelioma cells and avoid damaging healthy cells in the mesothelium membrane. Often chemotherapy is used in tandem, especially when treating biphasic mesothelioma a form of the disease that features two types of malignant cells. Surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy together are referred to as multimodality therapy.

Recently there has been some use of radiotherapy during the surgical process itself. Rather than target cancerous cells with radioactive ions the tissue is targeted directly while the patient is on the operating table. Chemotherapy drugs have been applied in a similar fashion, to give a more powerful application of the treatment than can be provided by intravenous delivery; one such procedure called Heated Intraoperative Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy used heated medication in a peritoneal mesothelioma surgery.

Other options include immunotherapy and other experimental concepts such as gene therapy. These concepts are creative efforts at attacking cancer cells in new and innovative ways. While they remain in the seminal state, hopefully continued research and trial activity will yield results.

Clinical trials are staged for the benefit of medical research, but they are also a prerequisite for the approval of a new medication or new treatment use of an existing medication by the FDA. That process is divided into stage I, stage II and stage III procedures. It is the stage III studies that are conducted on groups of humans in order to determine the efficacy of a treatment.

There are usually several mesothelioma clinical trials are occurring at any given time, being conducted at one or several locations. It is not easy to find mesothelioma patients who are in condition to participate in a lengthy research project, so recruiting is generally conducted at several locations. Many of these trials involve the use of pemetrexed, marketed under the name Alimta. This is the only drug that has been approved by the FDA for mesothelioma treatment and it is generally used with patients who are not candidates for surgical treatment. Many clinical trials have been conducted using pemetrexed and other effective cancer chemotherapy drugs, cisplatin in particular.

But clinical trials continue not only for chemotherapy options but for new treatment concepts such as immunotherapy.

Prognosis for mesothelioma patients is usually a question of life expectancy rather than recovery. The figures vary for types of mesothelioma, for treatment modalities and, to an extent, on who you ask. Often diagnosis of this disease is a lengthy process, which means that it has advanced significantly since the symptoms first manifested. One of the issues is the nature of the cells being attacked; epithelial mesothelioma patients have an average survival rate of about one year, while those diagnosed with the more unusual sarcomatoid mesothelioma, or biphasic mesothelioma (a combination of the two cell types) is closer to six months. These are average figures; the percentage of people who live beyond one year is significant but most figures for mesothelioma and morbidity are based on limited case studies.

These figures are changing slowly as diagnoses occur more readily, as some forms of chemotherapy prove to be effective against some forms of mesothelioma, and as new treatment modalities are tried and found to help. The overall gain in average survival time is a matter of weeks or months with these clinical tests, but slow progress is being made.

There are also always exceptions to these rules. Many patients who respond well to surgery and chemotherapy live on for two years or more. One of the issues that comes into play with these poor prognosis figures is the fact that so many mesothelioma patients are elderly and have other health problems as well. Often a patient does not have the constitution to withstand major surgery, so resection is not an option.

Asbestos lawsuits comprise the largest single civil tort in the history of the nation. More suits have been filed seeking damages for health problems caused by asbestos than for any other civil legal complaint. Hundreds of thousands of American workers have been impacted by mesothelioma and asbestosis over the last half century and many more are getting sick today. The continued diagnosis of mesothelioma is expected to continue at the current rate for another five to ten years.

If you or a family member has a medical problem that you believe is related to asbestos exposure, you should be in touch with an experienced asbestos lawyers who can assist you by providing the specialized legal help that is required in asbestos and mesothelioma liability cases.

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Mesothelioma Information on Cause, Symptoms, Prognosis …

Mesothelioma – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic

Overview

Malignant mesothelioma (me-zoe-thee-lee-O-muh) is a type of cancer that occurs in the thin layer of tissue that covers the majority of your internal organs (mesothelium).

Mesothelioma is an aggressive and deadly form of cancer. Mesothelioma treatments are available, but for many people with mesothelioma, a cure is not possible.

Doctors divide mesothelioma into different types based on what part of the mesothelium is affected. Mesothelioma most often affects the tissue that surrounds the lungs (pleura). This type is called pleural mesothelioma. Other, rarer types of mesothelioma affect tissue in the abdomen (peritoneal mesothelioma), around the heart and around the testicles.

Mesothelioma doesn’t include a form of noncancerous (benign) tumor that occurs in the chest and is sometimes called benign mesothelioma or solitary fibrous tumor.

Signs and symptoms of mesothelioma vary depending on where the cancer occurs.

Pleural mesothelioma, which affects the tissue that surrounds the lungs, causes signs and symptoms that may include:

Peritoneal mesothelioma, which occurs in tissue in the abdomen, causes signs and symptoms that may include:

Signs and symptoms of other types of mesothelioma are unclear, since these forms of the disease are very rare.

Pericardial mesothelioma, which affects tissue that surrounds the heart, can cause signs and symptoms such as breathing difficulty and chest pains.

Mesothelioma of tunica vaginalis, which affects tissue surrounding the testicles, may be first detected as swelling or a mass on a testicle.

See your doctor if you have signs and symptoms that may indicate mesothelioma. Signs and symptoms of mesothelioma aren’t specific to this disease and, due to the rarity of mesothelioma, are more likely to be related to other conditions. If any persistent signs and symptoms seem unusual or bothersome, ask your doctor to evaluate them. Tell your doctor if you’ve been exposed to asbestos.

In general, cancer begins when a series of genetic mutations occur within a cell, causing the cell to grow and multiply out of control. It isn’t clear what causes the initial genetic mutations that lead to mesothelioma, though researchers have identified factors that may increase the risk. It’s likely that cancers form because of an interaction between many factors, such as inherited conditions, your environment, your health conditions and your lifestyle choices.

Asbestos is a mineral that’s found naturally in the environment. Asbestos fibers are strong and resistant to heat, making them useful in a wide variety of applications, such as in insulation, brakes, shingles, flooring and many other products.

When asbestos is broken up, such as during the mining process or when removing asbestos insulation, dust may be created. If the dust is inhaled or swallowed, the asbestos fibers will settle in the lungs or in the stomach, where they can cause irritation that may lead to mesothelioma. Exactly how this happens isn’t understood. It can take 20 to 40 years or more for mesothelioma to develop after asbestos exposure.

Most people with years of asbestos exposure never develop mesothelioma. And yet, others with very brief exposure develop the disease. This indicates that other factors may be involved in determining whether someone gets mesothelioma or doesn’t. For instance, you could inherit a predisposition to cancer or some other condition could increase your risk.

Factors that may increase the risk of mesothelioma include:

As pleural mesothelioma spreads in the chest, it puts pressure on the structures in that area. This can cause complications, such as:

Reducing your exposure to asbestos may lower your risk of mesothelioma.

Most people with mesothelioma were exposed to the asbestos fibers at work. Workers who may encounter asbestos fibers include:

Ask your employer whether you have a risk of asbestos exposure on the job.

Follow all safety precautions in your workplace, such as wearing protective equipment. You may also be required to shower and change out of your work clothes before taking a lunch break or going home. Talk to your doctor about other precautions you can take to protect yourself from asbestos exposure.

Older homes and buildings may contain asbestos. In many cases, it’s more dangerous to remove the asbestos than it is to leave it intact. Breaking up asbestos may cause fibers to become airborne, where they can be inhaled. Consult experts trained to detect asbestos in your home. These experts may test the air in your home to determine whether the asbestos is a risk to your health. Don’t attempt to remove asbestos from your home hire a qualified expert. The Environmental Protection Agency offers advice on its website for dealing with asbestos in the home.

Dec. 22, 2017

Originally posted here:

Mesothelioma – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic

Mesothelioma – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic

Overview

Malignant mesothelioma (me-zoe-thee-lee-O-muh) is a type of cancer that occurs in the thin layer of tissue that covers the majority of your internal organs (mesothelium).

Mesothelioma is an aggressive and deadly form of cancer. Mesothelioma treatments are available, but for many people with mesothelioma, a cure is not possible.

Doctors divide mesothelioma into different types based on what part of the mesothelium is affected. Mesothelioma most often affects the tissue that surrounds the lungs (pleura). This type is called pleural mesothelioma. Other, rarer types of mesothelioma affect tissue in the abdomen (peritoneal mesothelioma), around the heart and around the testicles.

Mesothelioma doesn’t include a form of noncancerous (benign) tumor that occurs in the chest and is sometimes called benign mesothelioma or solitary fibrous tumor.

Signs and symptoms of mesothelioma vary depending on where the cancer occurs.

Pleural mesothelioma, which affects the tissue that surrounds the lungs, causes signs and symptoms that may include:

Peritoneal mesothelioma, which occurs in tissue in the abdomen, causes signs and symptoms that may include:

Signs and symptoms of other types of mesothelioma are unclear, since these forms of the disease are very rare.

Pericardial mesothelioma, which affects tissue that surrounds the heart, can cause signs and symptoms such as breathing difficulty and chest pains.

Mesothelioma of tunica vaginalis, which affects tissue surrounding the testicles, may be first detected as swelling or a mass on a testicle.

See your doctor if you have signs and symptoms that may indicate mesothelioma. Signs and symptoms of mesothelioma aren’t specific to this disease and, due to the rarity of mesothelioma, are more likely to be related to other conditions. If any persistent signs and symptoms seem unusual or bothersome, ask your doctor to evaluate them. Tell your doctor if you’ve been exposed to asbestos.

In general, cancer begins when a series of genetic mutations occur within a cell, causing the cell to grow and multiply out of control. It isn’t clear what causes the initial genetic mutations that lead to mesothelioma, though researchers have identified factors that may increase the risk. It’s likely that cancers form because of an interaction between many factors, such as inherited conditions, your environment, your health conditions and your lifestyle choices.

Asbestos is a mineral that’s found naturally in the environment. Asbestos fibers are strong and resistant to heat, making them useful in a wide variety of applications, such as in insulation, brakes, shingles, flooring and many other products.

When asbestos is broken up, such as during the mining process or when removing asbestos insulation, dust may be created. If the dust is inhaled or swallowed, the asbestos fibers will settle in the lungs or in the stomach, where they can cause irritation that may lead to mesothelioma. Exactly how this happens isn’t understood. It can take 20 to 40 years or more for mesothelioma to develop after asbestos exposure.

Most people with years of asbestos exposure never develop mesothelioma. And yet, others with very brief exposure develop the disease. This indicates that other factors may be involved in determining whether someone gets mesothelioma or doesn’t. For instance, you could inherit a predisposition to cancer or some other condition could increase your risk.

Factors that may increase the risk of mesothelioma include:

As pleural mesothelioma spreads in the chest, it puts pressure on the structures in that area. This can cause complications, such as:

Reducing your exposure to asbestos may lower your risk of mesothelioma.

Most people with mesothelioma were exposed to the asbestos fibers at work. Workers who may encounter asbestos fibers include:

Ask your employer whether you have a risk of asbestos exposure on the job.

Follow all safety precautions in your workplace, such as wearing protective equipment. You may also be required to shower and change out of your work clothes before taking a lunch break or going home. Talk to your doctor about other precautions you can take to protect yourself from asbestos exposure.

Older homes and buildings may contain asbestos. In many cases, it’s more dangerous to remove the asbestos than it is to leave it intact. Breaking up asbestos may cause fibers to become airborne, where they can be inhaled. Consult experts trained to detect asbestos in your home. These experts may test the air in your home to determine whether the asbestos is a risk to your health. Don’t attempt to remove asbestos from your home hire a qualified expert. The Environmental Protection Agency offers advice on its website for dealing with asbestos in the home.

Dec. 22, 2017

The rest is here:

Mesothelioma – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic

Mesothelioma – Wikipedia

Cancer associated with asbestos

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that develops from the thin layer of tissue that covers many of the internal organs (known as the mesothelium).[9] The most common area affected is the lining of the lungs and chest wall.[1][3] Less commonly the lining of the abdomen and rarely the sac surrounding the heart,[10] or the sac surrounding the testis may be affected.[1][11] Signs and symptoms of mesothelioma may include shortness of breath due to fluid around the lung, a swollen abdomen, chest wall pain, cough, feeling tired, and weight loss.[1] These symptoms typically come on slowly.[2]

More than 80% of mesothelioma cases are caused by exposure to asbestos.[3] The greater the exposure the greater the risk.[3] As of 2013 about 125 million people have been exposed to asbestos at work.[12] High rates of disease occur in people who mine asbestos, produce products from asbestos, work with asbestos products, live with asbestos workers, or work in buildings containing asbestos.[3] Asbestos exposure and the onset of cancer are generally separated by about 40 years.[3] Washing the clothing of someone who worked with asbestos also increases the risk.[12] Other risk factors include genetics and infection with the simian virus 40.[3] The diagnosis may be suspected based on chest X-ray and CT scan findings, and is confirmed by either examining fluid produced by the cancer or by a tissue biopsy of the cancer.[2]

Prevention centers around reducing exposure to asbestos.[4] Treatment often includes surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.[5] A procedure known as pleurodesis, which involves using substances such as talc to scar together the pleura, may be used to prevent more fluid from building up around the lungs.[5] Chemotherapy often includes the medications cisplatin and pemetrexed.[2] The percentage of people that survive five years following diagnosis is on average 8% in the United States.[6]

In 2015 about 60,800 people had mesothelioma and 32,000 died from the disease.[7][8] Rates of mesothelioma vary in different areas of the world.[3] Rates are higher in Australia, the United Kingdom, and lower in Japan.[3] It occurs in about 3,000 people per year in the United States.[13] It occurs more often in males than females.[3] Rates of disease have increased since the 1950s.[3] Diagnosis typically occurs after the age of 65 and most deaths occur around 70 years old.[3] The disease was rare before the commercial use of asbestos.[3]

Symptoms or signs of mesothelioma may not appear until 20 to 50 years (or more) after exposure to asbestos. Shortness of breath, cough, and pain in the chest due to an accumulation of fluid in the pleural space (pleural effusion) are often symptoms of pleural mesothelioma.[14]

Mesothelioma that affects the pleura can cause these signs and symptoms:[14]

In severe cases, the person may have many tumor masses. The individual may develop a pneumothorax, or collapse of the lung. The disease may metastasize, or spread to other parts of the body.

The most common symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma are abdominal swelling and pain due to ascites (a buildup of fluid in the abdominal cavity). Other features may include weight loss, fever, night sweats, poor appetite, vomiting, constipation, and umbilical hernia.[15] If the cancer has spread beyond the mesothelium to other parts of the body, symptoms may include pain, trouble swallowing, or swelling of the neck or face.[citation needed]These symptoms may be caused by mesothelioma or by other, less serious conditions.

Tumors that affect the abdominal cavity often do not cause symptoms until they are at a late stage. Symptoms include:[citation needed]

Pericardial mesothelioma is not well characterized, but observed cases have included cardiac symptoms, specifically constrictive pericarditis, heart failure, pulmonary embolism, and cardiac tamponade. They have also included nonspecific symptoms, including substernal chest pain, orthopnea (shortness of breath when lying flat), and cough. These symptoms are caused by the tumor encasing or infiltrating the heart.[10]

In severe cases of the disease, the following signs and symptoms may be present:[citation needed]

If a mesothelioma forms metastases, these most commonly involve the liver, adrenal gland, kidney, or other lung.[16]

Working with asbestos is the most common risk factor for mesothelioma.[17] However, mesothelioma has been reported in some individuals without any known exposure to asbestos. Tentative evidence also raises concern about carbon-fibre nanotubes.[18][19]

The incidence of mesothelioma has been found to be higher in populations living near naturally occurring asbestos. People can be exposed to naturally occurring asbestos in areas where mining or road construction is occurring, or when the asbestos-containing rock is naturally weathered. Another common route of exposure is through asbestos-containing soil, which is used to whitewash, plaster, and roof houses in Greece.[12] In central Cappadocia, Turkey, mesothelioma was causing 50% of all deaths in three small villagesTuzky, Karain, and Sarhdr. Initially, this was attributed to erionite. Environmental exposure to asbestos has caused mesothelioma in places other than Turkey, including Corsica, Greece, Cyprus, China, and California.[12][20][21] In the northern Greek mountain town of Metsovo, this exposure had resulted in mesothelioma incidence around 300 times more than expected in asbestos-free populations, and was associated with very frequent pleural calcification known as “Metsovo Lung”.[22][23]

The documented presence of asbestos fibers in water supplies and food products has fostered concerns about the possible impact of long-term and, as yet, unknown exposure of the general population to these fibers.[citation needed]

Exposure to talc is also a risk factor for mesothelioma; exposure can affect those who live near talc mines, work in talc mines, or work in talc mills.[24]

In the United States, asbestos is considered the major cause of malignant mesothelioma[25] and has been considered “indisputably”[26] associated with the development of mesothelioma. Indeed, the relationship between asbestos and mesothelioma is so strong that many consider mesothelioma a signal or sentinel tumor.[27][28][29][30] A history of asbestos exposure exists in most cases.

Pericardial mesothelioma may not be associated with asbestos exposure.[10]

Asbestos was known in antiquity, but it was not mined and widely used commercially until the late 19th century. Its use greatly increased during World War II. Since the early 1940s, millions of American workers have been exposed to asbestos dust. Initially, the risks associated with asbestos exposure were not publicly known. However, an increased risk of developing mesothelioma was later found among naval personnel (e.g., Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard), shipyard workers, people who work in asbestos mines and mills, producers of asbestos products, workers in the heating and construction industries, and other tradespeople. Today, the official position of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the U.S. EPA is that protections and “permissible exposure limits” required by U.S. regulations, while adequate to prevent most asbestos-related non-malignant disease, are not adequate to prevent or protect against asbestos-related cancers such as mesothelioma.[31] Likewise, the British Government’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) states formally that any threshold for exposure to asbestos must be at a very low level and it is widely agreed that if any such threshold does exist at all, then it cannot currently be quantified. For practical purposes, therefore, HSE assumes that no such “safe” threshold exists. Others have noted as well that there is no evidence of a threshold level below which there is no risk of mesothelioma.[32] There appears to be a linear, dose-response relationship, with increasing dose producing increasing risk of disease.[33] Nevertheless, mesothelioma may be related to brief, low level or indirect exposures to asbestos.[26] The dose necessary for effect appears to be lower for asbestos-induced mesothelioma than for pulmonary asbestosis or lung cancer.[26] Again, there is no known safe level of exposure to asbestos as it relates to increased risk of mesothelioma.

The time from first exposure to onset of the disease, is between 25 and 70 years.[34] It is virtually never less than fifteen years and peaks at 3040 years.[26][35] The duration of exposure to asbestos causing mesothelioma can be short. For example, cases of mesothelioma have been documented with only 13 months of exposure.[36][37]

Exposure to asbestos fibers has been recognized as an occupational health hazard since the early 20th century. Numerous epidemiological studies have associated occupational exposure to asbestos with the development of pleural plaques, diffuse pleural thickening, asbestosis, carcinoma of the lung and larynx, gastrointestinal tumors, and diffuse malignant mesothelioma of the pleura and peritoneum. Asbestos has been widely used in many industrial products, including cement, brake linings, gaskets, roof shingles, flooring products, textiles, and insulation.[38]

Commercial asbestos mining at Wittenoom, Western Australia, took place from 1937 to 1966. The first case of mesothelioma in the town occurred in 1960. The second case was in 1969, and new cases began to appear more frequently thereafter. The lag time between initial exposure to asbestos and the development of mesothelioma varied from 12 years 9 months up to 58 years.[39] A cohort study of miners employed at the mine reported that 85 deaths attributable to mesothelioma had occurred by 1985. By 1994, 539 reported deaths due to mesothelioma had been reported in Western Australia.[citation needed]

Occupational exposure to asbestos in the United States mainly occurs when people are maintaining buildings that already have asbestos. Approximately 1.3 million US workers are exposed to asbestos annually; in 2002, an estimated 44,000 miners were potentially exposed to asbestos.[24]

Family members and others living with asbestos workers have an increased risk of developing mesothelioma, and possibly other asbestos-related diseases.[11][40][41] This risk may be the result of exposure to asbestos dust brought home on the clothing and hair of asbestos workers via washing a worker’s clothes or coming into contact with asbestos-contaminated work clothing.[12][24] To reduce the chance of exposing family members to asbestos fibres, asbestos workers are usually required to shower and change their clothing before leaving the workplace.[citation needed]

Many building materials used in both public and domestic premises prior to the banning of asbestos may contain asbestos. Those performing renovation works or DIY activities may expose themselves to asbestos dust. In the UK, use of chrysotile asbestos was banned at the end of 1999. Brown and blue asbestos were banned in the UK around 1985. Buildings built or renovated prior to these dates may contain asbestos materials.[citation needed]

In a recent research carried on white American population in 2012, it was found that people with a germline mutation in their BAP1 gene are at higher risk of developing mesothelioma and uveal melanoma.[42]

Erionite is a zeolite mineral with similar properties to asbestos and is known to cause mesothelioma.[11] Detailed epidemiological investigation has shown that erionite causes mesothelioma mostly in families with a genetic predisposition.[12][20][21] Erionite is found in deposits in the Western United States, where it is used in gravel for road surfacing, and in Turkey, where it is used to construct homes. In Turkey, the United States, and Mexico, erionite has been associated with mesothelioma and has thus been designated a “known human carcinogen” by the US National Toxicology Program.[21]

In rare cases, mesothelioma has also been associated with irradiation of the chest or abdomen, intrapleural thorium dioxide (thorotrast) as a contrast medium, and inhalation of other fibrous silicates, such as erionite or talc.[11][24] Some studies suggest that simian virus 40 (SV40) may act as a cofactor in the development of mesothelioma.[24] This has been confirmed in animal studies,[43][44] but studies in humans are inconclusive.[43][45][46]

The mesothelium consists of a single layer of flattened to cuboidal cells forming the epithelial lining of the serous cavities of the body including the peritoneal, pericardial and pleural cavities. Deposition of asbestos fibers in the parenchyma of the lung may result in the penetration of the visceral pleura from where the fiber can then be carried to the pleural surface, thus leading to the development of malignant mesothelial plaques. The processes leading to the development of peritoneal mesothelioma remain unresolved, although it has been proposed that asbestos fibers from the lung are transported to the abdomen and associated organs via the lymphatic system. Additionally, asbestos fibers may be deposited in the gut after ingestion of sputum contaminated with asbestos fibers.[citation needed]

Pleural contamination with asbestos or other mineral fibers has been shown to cause cancer. Long thin asbestos fibers (blue asbestos, amphibole fibers) are more potent carcinogens than “feathery fibers” (chrysotile or white asbestos fibers).[26] However, there is now evidence that smaller particles may be more dangerous than the larger fibers. They remain suspended in the air where they can be inhaled, and may penetrate more easily and deeper into the lungs. “We probably will find out a lot more about the health aspects of asbestos from [the World Trade Center attack], unfortunately,” said Dr. Alan Fein, chief of pulmonary and critical-care medicine at North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System.[47]

Mesothelioma development in rats has been demonstrated following intra-pleural inoculation of phosphorylated chrysotile fibers. It has been suggested that in humans, transport of fibers to the pleura is critical to the pathogenesis of mesothelioma. This is supported by the observed recruitment of significant numbers of macrophages and other cells of the immune system to localized lesions of accumulated asbestos fibers in the pleural and peritoneal cavities of rats. These lesions continued to attract and accumulate macrophages as the disease progressed, and cellular changes within the lesion culminated in a morphologically malignant tumor.[citation needed]

Experimental evidence suggests that asbestos acts as a complete carcinogen with the development of mesothelioma occurring in sequential stages of initiation and promotion. The molecular mechanisms underlying the malignant transformation of normal mesothelial cells by asbestos fibers remain unclear despite the demonstration of its oncogenic capabilities (see next-but-one paragraph). However, complete in vitro transformation of normal human mesothelial cells to a malignant phenotype following exposure to asbestos fibers has not yet been achieved. In general, asbestos fibers are thought to act through direct physical interactions with the cells of the mesothelium in conjunction with indirect effects following interaction with inflammatory cells such as macrophages.[citation needed]

Analysis of the interactions between asbestos fibers and DNA has shown that phagocytosed fibers are able to make contact with chromosomes, often adhering to the chromatin fibers or becoming entangled within the chromosome. This contact between the asbestos fiber and the chromosomes or structural proteins of the spindle apparatus can induce complex abnormalities. The most common abnormality is monosomy of chromosome 22. Other frequent abnormalities include structural rearrangement of 1p, 3p, 9p and 6q chromosome arms.[citation needed]

Common gene abnormalities in mesothelioma cell lines include deletion of the tumor suppressor genes:[citation needed]

Asbestos has also been shown to mediate the entry of foreign DNA into target cells. Incorporation of this foreign DNA may lead to mutations and oncogenesis by several possible mechanisms:

Several genes are commonly mutated in mesothelioma, and may be prognostic factors. These include epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and C-Met, receptor tyrosine kinases which are overexpressed in many mesotheliomas. Some association has been found with EGFR and epithelioid histology but no clear association has been found between EGFR overexpression and overall survival. Expression of AXL receptor tyrosine kinase is a negative prognostic factor. Expression of PDGFRB is a positive prognostic factor.[49] In general, mesothelioma is characterized by loss of function in tumor suppressor genes, rather than by an overexpression or gain of function in oncogenes.[50]

As an environmentally triggered malignancy, mesothelioma tumors have been found to be polyclonal in origin, by performing a X-inactivation based assay on epitheloid and biphasic tumors obtained from female patients.[51] These results suggest that an environmental factor, most likely asbestos exposure, may damage and transform a group of cells in the tissue, resulting in a population of tumor cells that are, albeit only slightly, genetically different.[citation needed]

Asbestos fibers have been shown to alter the function and secretory properties of macrophages, ultimately creating conditions which favour the development of mesothelioma. Following asbestos phagocytosis, macrophages generate increased amounts of hydroxyl radicals, which are normal by-products of cellular anaerobic metabolism. However, these free radicals are also known clastogenic (chromosome-breaking) and membrane-active agents thought to promote asbestos carcinogenicity. These oxidants can participate in the oncogenic process by directly and indirectly interacting with DNA, modifying membrane-associated cellular events, including oncogene activation and perturbation of cellular antioxidant defences.[citation needed]

Asbestos also may possess immunosuppressive properties. For example, chrysotile fibres have been shown to depress the in vitro proliferation of phytohemagglutinin-stimulated peripheral blood lymphocytes, suppress natural killer cell lysis and significantly reduce lymphokine-activated killer cell viability and recovery. Furthermore, genetic alterations in asbestos-activated macrophages may result in the release of potent mesothelial cell mitogens such as platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) and transforming growth factor- (TGF-) which in turn, may induce the chronic stimulation and proliferation of mesothelial cells after injury by asbestos fibres.[citation needed]

Diagnosis of mesothelioma can be suspected with imaging but is confirmed with biopsy. It must be clinically and histologically differentiated from other pleural and pulmonary malignancies, including reactive pleural disease, primary lung carcinoma, pleural metastases of other cancers, and other primary pleural cancers.[11]Primary pericardial mesothelioma is often diagnosed after it has metastasized to lymph nodes or the lungs.[10]

Diagnosing mesothelioma is often difficult because the symptoms are similar to those of a number of other conditions. Diagnosis begins with a review of the patient’s medical history. A history of exposure to asbestos may increase clinical suspicion for mesothelioma. A physical examination is performed, followed by chest X-ray and often lung function tests. The X-ray may reveal pleural thickening commonly seen after asbestos exposure and increases suspicion of mesothelioma.[14] A CT (or CAT) scan or an MRI is usually performed. If a large amount of fluid is present, abnormal cells may be detected by cytopathology if this fluid is aspirated with a syringe.[10] For pleural fluid, this is done by thoracentesis or tube thoracostomy (chest tube); for ascites, with paracentesis or ascitic drain; and for pericardial effusion with pericardiocentesis. While absence of malignant cells on cytology does not completely exclude mesothelioma, it makes it much more unlikely, especially if an alternative diagnosis can be made (e.g. tuberculosis, heart failure).[citation needed] However, with primary pericardial mesothelioma, pericardial fluid may not contain malignant cells and a tissue biopsy is more useful in diagnosis.[10] Using conventional cytology diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma is difficult, but immunohistochemistry has greatly enhanced the accuracy of cytology.[citation needed]

Generally, a biopsy is needed to confirm a diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma. A doctor removes a sample of tissue for examination under a microscope by a pathologist. A biopsy may be done in different ways, depending on where the abnormal area is located. If the cancer is in the chest, the doctor may perform a thoracoscopy. In this procedure, the doctor makes a small cut through the chest wall and puts a thin, lighted tube called a thoracoscope into the chest between two ribs. Thoracoscopy allows the doctor to look inside the chest and obtain tissue samples. Alternatively, the chest surgeon might directly open the chest (thoracotomy). If the cancer is in the abdomen, the doctor may perform a laparoscopy. To obtain tissue for examination, the doctor makes a small incision in the abdomen and inserts a special instrument into the abdominal cavity. If these procedures do not yield enough tissue, an open surgical procedure may be necessary.[citation needed]

Immunohistochemical studies play an important role for the pathologist in differentiating malignant mesothelioma from neoplastic mimics, such as breast or lung cancer that has metastasized to the pleura. There are numerous tests and panels available, but no single test is perfect for distinguishing mesothelioma from carcinoma or even benign versus malignant. The positive markers indicate that mesothelioma is present; if other markers are positive it may indicate another type of cancer, such as breast or lung adenocarcinoma. Calretinin is a particularly important marker in distinguishing mesothelioma from metastatic breast or lung cancer.[11]

There are three main histological subtypes of malignant mesothelioma: epithelioid, sarcomatous, and biphasic. Epithelioid and biphasic mesothelioma make up approximately 75-95% of mesotheliomas and have been well characterized histologically, whereas sarcomatous mesothelioma has not been studied extensively. Most mesotheliomas express high levels of cytokeratin 5 regardless of subtype.[11]

Epithelioid mesothelioma is characterized by high levels of calretinin.[11]

Sarcomatous mesothelioma does not express high levels of calretinin.[11]

Other morphological subtypes have been described:

Staging of mesothelioma is based on the recommendation by the International Mesothelioma Interest Group.[52] TNM classification of the primary tumor, lymph node involvement, and distant metastasis is performed. Mesothelioma is staged IaIV (one-A to four) based on the TNM status.[52][53]

Mesothelioma can be prevented in most cases by preventing exposure to asbestos. The US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health maintains a recommended exposure limit of 0.1 asbestos fiber per cubic centimeter.[24]

There is no universally agreed protocol for screening people who have been exposed to asbestos. Screening tests might diagnose mesothelioma earlier than conventional methods thus improving the survival prospects for patients. The serum osteopontin level might be useful in screening asbestos-exposed people for mesothelioma. The level of soluble mesothelin-related protein is elevated in the serum of about 75% of patients at diagnosis and it has been suggested that it may be useful for screening.[54] Doctors have begun testing the Mesomark assay which measures levels of soluble mesothelin-related proteins (SMRPs) released by mesothelioma cells.[55]

Mesothelioma is generally resistant to radiation and chemotherapy treatment. Long-term survival and cures are exceedingly rare.[11] Treatment of malignant mesothelioma at earlier stages has a better prognosis. Clinical behavior of the malignancy is affected by several factors including the continuous mesothelial surface of the pleural cavity which favors local metastasis via exfoliated cells, invasion to underlying tissue and other organs within the pleural cavity, and the extremely long latency period between asbestos exposure and development of the disease. The histological subtype and the patient’s age and health status also help predict prognosis. The epithelioid histology responds better to treatment and has a survival advantage over sarcomatoid histology.[56]

Surgery, by itself, has proved disappointing. In one large series, the median survival with surgery (including extrapleural pneumonectomy) was only 11.7 months.[57] However, research indicates varied success when used in combination with radiation and chemotherapy (Duke, 2008), or with one of the latter. A pleurectomy/decortication is the most common surgery, in which the lining of the chest is removed. Less common is an extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP), in which the lung, lining of the inside of the chest, the hemi-diaphragm and the pericardium are removed.[citation needed] In localized pericardial mesothelioma, pericardectomy can be curative; when the tumor has metastasized, pericardectomy is a palliative care option. The entire tumor is not often able to be removed.[10]

For patients with localized disease, and who can tolerate a radical surgery, radiation can be given post-operatively as a consolidative treatment. The entire hemithorax is treated with radiation therapy, often given simultaneously with chemotherapy. Delivering radiation and chemotherapy after a radical surgery has led to extended life expectancy in selected patient populations. It can also induce severe side-effects, including fatal pneumonitis.[58] As part of a curative approach to mesothelioma, radiotherapy is commonly applied to the sites of chest drain insertion, in order to prevent growth of the tumor along the track in the chest wall.[citation needed]

Although mesothelioma is generally resistant to curative treatment with radiotherapy alone, palliative treatment regimens are sometimes used to relieve symptoms arising from tumor growth, such as obstruction of a major blood vessel. Radiation therapy, when given alone with curative intent, has never been shown to improve survival from mesothelioma. The necessary radiation dose to treat mesothelioma that has not been surgically removed would be beyond human tolerance.[citation needed] Radiotherapy is of some use in pericardial mesothelioma.[10]

Chemotherapy is the only treatment for mesothelioma that has been proven to improve survival in randomised and controlled trials. The landmark study published in 2003 by Vogelzang and colleagues compared cisplatin chemotherapy alone with a combination of cisplatin and pemetrexed (brand name Alimta) chemotherapy in patients who had not received chemotherapy for malignant pleural mesothelioma previously and were not candidates for more aggressive “curative” surgery.[59] This trial was the first to report a survival advantage from chemotherapy in malignant pleural mesothelioma, showing a statistically significant improvement in median survival from 10 months in the patients treated with cisplatin alone to 13.3 months in the group of patients treated with cisplatin in the combination with pemetrexed and who also received supplementation with folate and vitamin B12. Vitamin supplementation was given to most patients in the trial and pemetrexed related side effects were significantly less in patients receiving pemetrexed when they also received daily oral folate 500mcg and intramuscular vitamin B12 1000mcg every 9 weeks compared with patients receiving pemetrexed without vitamin supplementation. The objective response rate increased from 20% in the cisplatin group to 46% in the combination pemetrexed group. Some side effects such as nausea and vomiting, stomatitis, and diarrhoea were more common in the combination pemetrexed group but only affected a minority of patients and overall the combination of pemetrexed and cisplatin was well tolerated when patients received vitamin supplementation; both quality of life and lung function tests improved in the combination pemetrexed group. In February 2004, the United States Food and Drug Administration approved pemetrexed for treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma. However, there are still unanswered questions about the optimal use of chemotherapy, including when to start treatment, and the optimal number of cycles to give.[citation needed] Cisplatin and pemetrexed together give patients a median survival of 12.1 months.[11]

Cisplatin in combination with raltitrexed has shown an improvement in survival similar to that reported for pemetrexed in combination with cisplatin, but raltitrexed is no longer commercially available for this indication. For patients unable to tolerate pemetrexed, cisplatin in combination with gemcitabine or vinorelbine is an alternative, or vinorelbine on its own, although a survival benefit has not been shown for these drugs. For patients in whom cisplatin cannot be used, carboplatin can be substituted but non-randomised data have shown lower response rates and high rates of haematological toxicity for carboplatin-based combinations, albeit with similar survival figures to patients receiving cisplatin.[60]

In January 2009, the United States FDA approved using conventional therapies such as surgery in combination with radiation and or chemotherapy on stage I or II Mesothelioma after research conducted by a nationwide study by Duke University concluded an almost 50 point increase in remission rates.[citation needed]

In pericardial mesothelioma, chemotherapy – typically adriamycin and/or cisplatin – is primarily used to shrink the tumor and is not curative.[10]

Treatment regimens involving immunotherapy have yielded variable results. For example, intrapleural inoculation of Bacillus Calmette-Gurin (BCG) in an attempt to boost the immune response, was found to be of no benefit to the patient (while it may benefit patients with bladder cancer). Mesothelioma cells proved susceptible to in vitro lysis by LAK cells following activation by interleukin-2 (IL-2), but patients undergoing this particular therapy experienced major side effects. Indeed, this trial was suspended in view of the unacceptably high levels of IL-2 toxicity and the severity of side effects such as fever and cachexia. Nonetheless, other trials involving interferon alpha have proved more encouraging with 20% of patients experiencing a greater than 50% reduction in tumor mass combined with minimal side effects.[citation needed]

This technique is used in conjunction with surgery,[61] including in patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma.[62] The surgeon removes as much of the tumor as possible followed by the direct administration of a chemotherapy agent, heated to between 40 and 48C, in the abdomen. The fluid is perfused for 60 to 120 minutes and then drained. High concentrations of selected drugs are then administered into the abdominal and pelvic surfaces. Heating the chemotherapy treatment increases the penetration of the drugs into tissues. Also, heating itself damages the malignant cells more than the normal cells.[citation needed]

All of the standard approaches to treating solid tumorsradiation, chemotherapy, and surgeryhave been investigated in patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma. Although surgery, by itself, is not very effective, surgery combined with adjuvant chemotherapy and radiation (trimodality therapy) has produced significant survival extension (314 years) among patients with favorable prognostic factors.[63] However, other large series of examining multimodality treatment have only demonstrated modest improvement in survival (median survival 14.5 months and only 29.6% surviving 2 years).[57] Reducing the bulk of the tumor with cytoreductive surgery is key to extending survival. Two surgeries have been developed: extrapleural pneumonectomy and pleurectomy/decortication. The indications for performing these operations are unique. The choice of operation namely depends on the size of the patient’s tumor. This is an important consideration because tumor volume has been identified as a prognostic factor in mesothelioma.[64] Pleurectomy/decortication spares the underlying lung and is performed in patients with early stage disease when the intention is to remove all gross visible tumor (macroscopic complete resection), not simply palliation.[65] Extrapleural pneumonectomy is a more extensive operation that involves resection of the parietal and visceral pleurae, underlying lung, ipsilateral (same side) diaphragm, and ipsilateral pericardium. This operation is indicated for a subset of patients with more advanced tumors, who can tolerate a pneumonectomy.[66]

Mesothelioma often has a poor prognosis. Typical survival despite surgery is between 12 and 21 months depending on the stage of disease at diagnosis with about 7.5% of people surviving for 5 years.[67]

Women, young people, people with low-stage cancers, and people with epithelioid cancers have better prognoses.[11] Negative prognostic factors include sarcomatoid or biphasic histology, high platelet counts (above 400,000), age over 50 years, white blood cell counts above 15.5, low glucose levels in the pleural fluid, low albumin levels, and high fibrinogen levels. Several markers are under investigation as prognostic factors, including nuclear grade, and serum c-reactive protein. Long-term survival is rare.[49]

Pericardial mesothelioma has a 10-month median survival time.[10]

In peritoneal mesothelioma, high expression of WT-1 protein indicates a worse prognosis.[11]

Although reported incidence rates have increased in the past 20 years, mesothelioma is still a relatively rare cancer. The incidence rate varies from one country to another, from a low rate of less than 1 per 1,000,000 in Tunisia and Morocco, to the highest rate in Britain, Australia and Belgium: 30 per 1,000,000 per year.[68] For comparison, populations with high levels of smoking can have a lung cancer incidence of over 1,000 per 1,000,000. Incidence of malignant mesothelioma currently ranges from about 7 to 40 per 1,000,000 in industrialized Western nations, depending on the amount of asbestos exposure of the populations during the past several decades.[69] Worldwide incidence is estimated at 1-6 per 1,000,000.[11] Incidence of mesothelioma lags behind that of asbestosis due to the longer time it takes to develop; due to the cessation of asbestos use in developed countries, mesothelioma incidence is expected to decrease.[24] Incidence is expected to continue increasing in developing countries due to continuing use of asbestos.[11] Mesothelioma occurs more often in men than in women and risk increases with age, but this disease can appear in either men or women at any age. Approximately one fifth to one third of all mesotheliomas are peritoneal.[citation needed] Less than 5% of mesotheliomas are pericardial. The prevalence of pericardial mesothelioma is less than 0.002%; it is more common in men than women. It typically occurs in a person’s 50s-70s.[10][70]

Between 1940 and 1979, approximately 27.5 million people were occupationally exposed to asbestos in the United States.[71] Between 1973 and 1984, the incidence of pleural mesothelioma among Caucasian males increased 300%. From 1980 to the late 1990s, the death rate from mesothelioma in the USA increased from 2,000 per year to 3,000, with men four times more likely to acquire it than women.[citation needed] More than 80% of mesotheliomas are caused by asbestos exposure.[11]

The incidence of peritoneal mesothelioma is 0.53.0 per million per year in men, and 0.22.0 per million per year in women.[72]

Mesothelioma accounts for less than 1% of all cancers diagnosed in the UK, (around 2,600 people were diagnosed with the disease in 2011), and it is the seventeenth most common cause of cancer death (around 2,400 people died in 2012).[73]

The connection between asbestos exposure and mesothelioma was discovered in the 1970s. In the United States, asbestos manufacture stopped in 2002. Asbestos exposure thus shifted from workers in asbestos textile mills, friction product manufacturing, cement pipe fabrication, and insulation manufacture and installation to maintenance workers in asbestos-containing buildings.[24]

Mesothelioma, though rare, has had a number of notable patients:

Although life expectancy with this disease is typically limited, there are notable survivors. In July 1982, Stephen Jay Gould, a well-regarded paleontologist, was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma. After his diagnosis, Gould wrote “The Median Isn’t the Message”,[80] in which he argued that statistics such as median survival are useful abstractions, not destiny. Gould lived for another 20 years, eventually succumbing to cancer not linked to his mesothelioma.

Some people who were exposed to asbestos have collected damages for an asbestos-related disease, including mesothelioma. Compensation via asbestos funds or class action lawsuits is an important issue in law practices regarding mesothelioma.[citation needed]

The first lawsuits against asbestos manufacturers were in 1929. Since then, many lawsuits have been filed against asbestos manufacturers and employers, for neglecting to implement safety measures after the links between asbestos, asbestosis, and mesothelioma became known (some reports seem to place this as early as 1898). The liability resulting from the sheer number of lawsuits and people affected has reached billions of dollars.[81] The amounts and method of allocating compensation have been the source of many court cases, reaching up to the United States Supreme Court, and government attempts at resolution of existing and future cases. However, to date, the US Congress has not stepped in and there are no federal laws governing asbestos compensation.[82]In 2013, the “Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act of 2013” passed the US House of representatives and was sent to the US Senate, where it was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.[83] As the Senate did not vote on it before the end of the 113th Congress, it died in committee. It was revived in the 114th Congress, where it has not yet been brought before the House for a vote.[84]

The first lawsuit against asbestos manufacturers was brought in 1929. The parties settled that lawsuit, and as part of the agreement, the attorneys agreed not to pursue further cases. In 1960, an article published by Wagner et al. was seminal in establishing mesothelioma as a disease arising from exposure to asbestos.[85] The article referred to over 30 case studies of people who had suffered from mesothelioma in South Africa. Some exposures were transient and some were mine workers. Prior to the use of advanced microscopy techniques, malignant mesothelioma was often diagnosed as a variant form of lung cancer.[86] In 1962 McNulty reported the first diagnosed case of malignant mesothelioma in an Australian asbestos worker.[87] The worker had worked in the mill at the asbestos mine in Wittenoom from 1948 to 1950.[citation needed]

In the town of Wittenoom, asbestos-containing mine waste was used to cover schoolyards and playgrounds. In 1965 an article in the British Journal of Industrial Medicine established that people who lived in the neighbourhoods of asbestos factories and mines, but did not work in them, had contracted mesothelioma.[citation needed]

Despite proof that the dust associated with asbestos mining and milling causes asbestos-related disease, mining began at Wittenoom in 1943 and continued until 1966. In 1974 the first public warnings of the dangers of blue asbestos were published in a cover story called “Is this Killer in Your Home?” in Australia’s Bulletin magazine. In 1978 the Western Australian Government decided to phase out the town of Wittenoom, following the publication of a Health Dept. booklet, “The Health Hazard at Wittenoom”, containing the results of air sampling and an appraisal of worldwide medical information.[citation needed]

By 1979 the first writs for negligence related to Wittenoom were issued against CSR and its subsidiary ABA, and the Asbestos Diseases Society was formed to represent the Wittenoom victims.[citation needed]

In Leeds, England the Armley asbestos disaster involved several court cases against Turner & Newall where local residents who contracted mesothelioma claimed compensation because of the asbestos pollution from the company’s factory. One notable case was that of June Hancock, who contracted the disease in 1993 and died in 1997.[88]

The WT-1 protein is overexpressed in mesothelioma and is being researched as a potential target for drugs.[11]

There are two high-confidence miRNAs that can potentially serve as biomarkers of asbestos exposure and malignant mesothelioma. Validation studies are needed to assess their relevance.[89]

Mesothelioma at Curlie (based on DMOZ)

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Mesothelioma – Wikipedia

Mesothelioma | 2018 Statistics, Symptoms, Treatment Options

Most often, mesothelioma is treated with a multimodal plan, or combination, of conventional cancer treatment methods including surgery and chemotherapy. Treatment will either focus on extending life expectancy or, at a late stage, focus on palliative care to relieve side effects. Research and clinical trials have found new hope for a potential cure with emerging treatments, like immunotherapy, to combat the disease and improve life expectancy.

After receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis, the most important step is finding a mesothelioma doctor who specializes in asbestos-related diseases. They will be the best person to determine the most effective treatment options for your individual case, and will also be aware of the latest treatment advancements or clinical trials available. Creating a custom treatment plan with a mesothelioma doctor is the most effective way to improve prognosis.

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Mesothelioma | 2018 Statistics, Symptoms, Treatment Options

Mesothelioma: How Has Paul Kraus Survived For Over 20 Years?

Looking for mesothelioma information? The following section provides extensive information about mesothelioma, including symptoms, treatment, and more. Click on an item in the menu below to jump to that topic:

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that develops from cells of the mesothelium, the lining that covers many internal organs. There are approximately 2,000 cases of mesothelioma diagnosed in the United States each year. Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos, a naturally-occurring carcinogen that was put into thousands of industrial and consumer products even after many companies knew that it was dangerous.

Although rare, mesothelioma cancer is not a death sentence. The worlds longest-living mesothelioma survivor wrote a free book to provide helpful insight, resources, and share his survival experiences.

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer, known as the asbestos caused cancer, that develops from cells of the mesothelium, the lining that covers many of the internal organs of the body.

The main purpose of the mesothelium is to produce a lubricating fluid between tissues and organs. This fluid provides a slippery and protective surface to allow movement.

For example, it allows the lungs to expand and contract smoothly inside the body each time you take a breath. When the cells of the mesothelium turn cancerous they become mesothelioma thats where the name comes from.

Mesothelioma is a rare disease and there are only approximately 2,000 cases diagnosed in the United States every year. There are many more cases diagnosed throughout the world, especially in Australia and the U.K. where large amounts of asbestos was used.

Number of cases per year in other countries:

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There are four types of malignant mesothelioma: Pleural, peritoneal, pericardial and testicular. Pleural mesothelioma affects the outer lining of the lungs and chest wall and represents about 75% of all cases. Peritoneal mesothelioma affects the abdomen and represents about 23%. Incidences of cases in the lining of the testis and the heart represent about 1% each.

Pleural mesothelioma affects the lining of the lungs

When then pleural lining around the lungs and chest wall are involved in this cancer it is called pleural mesothelioma. There are actually two layers of tissue that comprise the pleural lining. The outer layer, the parietal pleura, lines the entire inside of the chest cavity. The inner layer is called the visceral pleura and it covers the lungs.

Mesothelioma usually affects both layers of the pleura. Often it forms in one layer of the pleura and invades the other layer. The cancer may form many small tumors throughout this tissue.

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The Peritoneal Cavity surrounds the liver, stomach, intestines and reproductive organs.

When the peritoneum, the protective membrane that surrounds the abdomen is involved in this cancer it is called peritoneal mesothelioma. Just like pleural mesothelioma, there are two layers of tissues involved with the peritoneum, the parietal layer covers the abdominal cavity, while the visceral layer surrounds the stomach, liver and other organs.

The cancer often forms many small tumors throughout the tissue. One doctor has described it as if someone took a pepper shaker and scattered the pepper over the tissue.

Learn More About Peritoneal Mesothelioma

In addition to the different types of locations within the body, there are also different cell types. These types are all considered mesothelioma, but they can affect the patients prognosis.

The three mesothelioma cell types are: epithelioid, sarcomatoid and biphasic.

Epithelioid mesothelioma cells are the most common type of mesothelioma cell and has the best prognosis of the three cell types. Notice the dark purple, elongated egg shaped cells amongst the healthy pink colored tissue.

Sarcomatoid mesothelioma cells are the rarest of the three cell types and tends to be more aggressive than epitheloid cells. Notice the dark purple nodules amongst the healthy light purple colored tissue.

Biphasic mesothelioma cells are mixtures of both cell types (epithelioid and sacromatoid) and usually has a prognosis that reflects the dominant cell type.

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Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos and it is therefore considered the asbestos caused cancer.

Asbestos has been in use since ancient times, but after the Industrial Revolution its use became widespread and was used all over the world in thousands of industrial and consumer products even after many companies knew that it was dangerous. Construction materials, automotive parts and household products such as hair dryers and oven mitts contained asbestos in the past.

Today, asbestos has been outlawed in most places around the world, however, asbestos has not been outlawed in the United States and is still found in millions of homes and public buildings, such as schools, offices and parking garages.

Learn More About Causes

Asbestos under the microscope looks like hundreds of tiny swords

Asbestos is actually a naturally occurring mineral found throughout the world. It was called the magic mineral because it is resistant to heat and corrosion. Also, it is a fiber so it can be woven into other materials.

Asbestos is composed of millions of sharp microscopic fibers. These fibers are so small that the body has difficulty filtering them out. This means that if you around airborne asbestos you may inhale it or ingest it. This is known as asbestos exposure.

The actual process as to how asbestos causes mesothelioma is still being investigated. Most scientists believe that when the small sharp fibers are ingested or inhaled they cause cell damage which can cause chronic inflammation.

This inflammation can then set the stage for disease after many years or even decades. Some scientists believe that a persons immune system may actually help prevent the cancer, even if that person is exposed to asbestos.

Find Out More On Asbestos

Since asbestos causes this rare disease, how to people get exposed to asbestos? While asbestos was in thousands of products, workers in some professions had more exposure to this carcinogen than others.

Examples of occupations that exposed workers to asbestos includes: Navy veterans, construction trades such as electricians, mechanics, and plumbers, people working in power houses and power plants, firefighters, and refinery workers. Individuals in these professions often had a multitude of asbestos containing products on their various job sites.

Most asbestos containing products were removed voluntarily by the late 1970s. However, because there is no comprehensive ban on asbestos in the U.S. and because of the long latency period, people are still being diagnosed with mesothelioma today.

Learn More About Occupational Asbestos Exposure

Old Advertisement for Asbestos Sheets

The history of asbestos in the United States and other industrialized countries is a sad story of corporate greed. Companies that produced asbestos containing products saw their workers becoming sick with lung scarring, asbestosis, and cancer nearly 100 years ago.

Some companies even brought in researchers and scientists to better understand the health impact of asbestos. Once it was shown that their magic mineral was toxic to human beings, the industry faced a dilemma.

Should they protect workers, warn consumers, notify public health officials, and most importantly, phase out this dangerous mineral? Their answer was no.

Instead industry did just the opposite. They warned no one, kept their knowledge about asbestos secret and continued to use it for decades! Only by the 1960s did independent researchers like Dr. Irving Selikoff of Mt. Sinai School of Medicinebegin to connect asbestos exposure to disease.

By then hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children were already exposed to this deadly mineral. The EPA would ban asbestos in 1989. However, the asbestos industry would sue the EPA and win.

In 1991 the ban was lifted. Even today, there is no comprehensive asbestos ban in the United States. Sad but true.

(Asbestos Medical and Legal Aspects by Barry Castleman)

Asbestos fibers cling to the clothing of workers and can be transferred to others, such as children or spouses.

People exposed directly to asbestos are called primary exposed. Sometimes the person who is primary exposed will transfer asbestos fibers from their clothes to the clothes of another person. The person who gets this transfer of asbestos exposure is said to have secondary exposure.

One example of secondary exposure is called the deadly hug. Sadly, the deadly hug happens when an adult comes home from work with asbestos on their clothes and hugs their son or daughter, unknowingly transferring the dangerous fibers to their child. There have been many cases of adults being diagnosed with mesothelioma whose only exposure to asbestos came from their time as a child.

Read About Secondary Exposure

There is a long latency period for mesothelioma which is the time from asbestos exposure to diagnosis of the cancer. This period can range anywhere from 20 to 50 years. There are different theories as to why there is such a long latency period and why most people exposed to asbestos do not get mesothelioma.

One theory suggests that there may be other variables that play a role. For example, some doctors believe that the condition or competency of a persons immune system could determine whether asbestos in their body leads to cancer.

Other possibilities include a persons genes and diet.

When doctors suspect a patient has mesothelioma they will initiate a work-upin order to make a diagnosis. This work-up may include imaging scans, biopsies, pathology exams, blood tests and staging.

Diagnosing Mesothelioma

Various types of scans may be used to determine if there are signs of tumors or other abnormalities. These scans may include X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, or PET scans.

More on Imaging

If scans reveal what doctors believe may be a cancer then a biopsy may be suggested. A biopsy is a procedure where doctors remove a small piece of the suspected tumor tissue from the patients body.

More on Biopsies

Blood tests and biomarkers may sometimes be used to determine if mesothelioma is present in the body. While these tests are helpful they are not considered as important as the biopsy which is considered the gold standard.

More on Biomarkers

The biopsy material will then be given to a pathologist. A pathologist will use special stains and other tests to determine if there is cancer and identify exactly what type of cancer was removed from the patient.

More on Pathology Exams

If mesothelioma is diagnosed, doctors may stage the disease. Over the years a variety of staging systems have been used. The one used most frequently today groups the disease into localized (only in the mesothelium) or advanced (spread outside the mesothelium).

More on Staging

The prognosis of mesothelioma or any other cancer depends on a number of variables. Those variables include:

More on Prognosis

A doctor specializing in mesothelioma can properly diagnose you and determine the best course of treatment. Find a mesothelioma specialist or doctor near you.

The treatments for mesothelioma can be divided into three paths: Conventional Therapies, Clinical Trials, and Alternative Modalities.

Conventional therapies include chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery. The standard chemo drugs used are Alimta (pemetrexed) and cisplatin (or carboplatin). They are often prescribed for the various types of mesothelioma, regardless of location. Both chemo and radiation therapy are known as cytotoxic or cell killing therapies. They work indiscriminately, killing both healthy and cancer cells. This is the reason that they can have severe side effects.

Learn About Treatment

The standard of care in many hospitals is to treat peritoneal mesothelioma with surgery and HIPEC. HIPEC stands for hyperthermic intraperitoneal perioperative chemotherapy which basically means flushing the surgical area with heated chemotherapy during the surgical procedure. The obvious advantage of this approach is that it enables doctors to put the chemo in exactly the place it needs to be.

Of all the conventional treatments available, surgery is generally considered the most effective. For pleural mesothelioma, there are various types of surgical procedures, including lung sparring surgery (also called pleurectomy/decorticiaton or PD) and extrapleural pneumonectomy (also called EPP).

Pleurectomy/decortication surgery is a two-part surgery that removes the lining surrounding one lung (pleurectomy), then removes any visible cancer seen growing inside the chest cavity (decortication). The advantage of P/D or lung sparring surgery is exactly what the name implies a lung is not removed.

An extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP) is a much more invasive surgery than PD. An EPP involves removing a lung, the diaphragm, portions of the chest lining and heart lining, and nearby lymph nodes.

Numerous studies have been performed comparing the prognosis with a pleurectomy/decortications surgery versus an extrapleural pneumonectomy. While there is no consensus on the subject, the latest reports suggest that PD may be a better choice for many patients because survival is generally equivalent to EPP and PD is less invasive and therefore easier to tolerate.

There are also other surgical procedures used to treat pleural effusion. Pleural effusion is the buildup of excess fluid in the pleural space between the visceral and parietal linings of the lungs. Examples of these procedures include pleurodesis and thoracentesis.

More on Surgery

Clinical trials are treatments that are still being tested. These treatments may include chemotherapy or other more innovative approaches based on immune therapy, gene therapy or other biological approaches. One example of new treatments being tried in mesothelioma involve the use of monoclonal antibodies. Monoclonal antibodies are essentially an immune system therapy that tries to use antibodies to target cancer cells. The National Cancer Institute indexes clinical trials offered throughout the country.

Discover Clinical Trials

Alternative modalities include a large number of approaches such as intravenous vitamin therapy, herbs and Traditional Chinese Medicine, cannabis oil, dietary approaches, and mind-body medicine. It is important to note that while none of these modalities are FDA approved, there are a number of long-term mesothelioma survivors who have used them, including Paul Kraus.

Read About Alternative Treatments

Mesothelioma is not the only disease caused by asbestos. Asbestosis which is essentially scarred lung tissue, pleural plaques and some lung cancers can also be caused by asbestos. There may also be compensation available to victims of these diseases as well. Treatments vary by condition.

Learn About Other Asbestos Diseases

Factors such as multi-drug resistance, therapy related side effects, and disease recurrence after therapy have all been implicated as problems that prevent successful treatment of malignant mesothelioma. However, recent scientific evidence suggests that some common dietary phytochemicals, such as curcumin and quercetin, may have the ability to regulate microRNAs associated with malignant mesothelioma and possibly inhibit the cancer by regulating the expression of various genes which are known to be aberrant in malignant mesothelioma.

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Mesothelioma: How Has Paul Kraus Survived For Over 20 Years?

What is Mesothelioma? Learn About Causes, Survival Rates …

What is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive disease that is known to develop over a period of 20 to 40 years. In many cases, the disease is not diagnosed until the end stage, when it is more difficult to treat. There is no cure for mesothelioma, but advanced medical treatments have allowed patients to live longer with the disease. Up to 3,000 people a year are diagnosed with mesothelioma.

Malignant mesothelioma is cancer that forms in the mesothelium, or the thin layer of cells that surround major organs. Mesothelioma is almost always caused by exposure to asbestos. There are three common locations for mesothelioma to form:

In general, the average life expectancy for mesothelioma patients is between 12 to 21 months. Some 40 percent of patients survive about a year after a diagnosis and about 20 percent live more than two years following a diagnosis. While rare, there are some patients who live longer than five years with the disease.

The patients age at diagnosis, general health and access to treatment specialists are among the many factors that go into determining a mesothelioma patients life expectancy. Other factors that play a key role are the location of the disease (pleural mesothelioma patients have better survival rates than other disease locations), cell types involved (epithelial cells respond better to treatment than other types) and stage (earlier stage disease is more responsive to treatment). Experts warn that life expectation estimations vary greatly by patient and individual circumstances.

The primary cause of any form of mesothelioma is exposure to the thin, fibrous mineral called asbestos. When asbestos fibers are inhaled, they travel through the lungs to reach the pleura, where they cause inflammation and scarring to form pleural mesothelioma. In cases of peritoneal and pericardial mesothelioma, researchers suspect asbestos fibers are ingested, travel through the lymph system or are absorbed through the skin to irritate surrounding cells. In all cases, the irritations damage cell DNA, causing cells to grow rapidly and abnormally and forming tumors.

Small studies have indicated some people are genetically predisposed to developing mesothelioma because they are more susceptible to the dangers of asbestos. Researchers are also reviewing a link between mesothelioma and Simian virus 40 (SV40), a DNA virus that contaminated early polio vaccines. There has been no definitive link between the virus and mesothelioma.

Physicians determine the stage of disease by performing numerous tests including X-rays, CT (CAT) scans, MRIs, PET scans and biopsies. It is important to determine where the cancer started and if it has spread from the point of origin for a correct disease staging. An accurate assessment of disease stage is crucial to successful treatment options.

Most physicians use a universally accepted tumor grading system to stage the disease. This allows physicians to communicate about a single patient to devise the best treatment plan. The TNM system looks at the size and growth of tumors (T), the involvement of lymph nodes (N) and the metastasis, or spread, of the disease (M). From there, the cancer is staged, with stages I and II as the early disease process and stages III and IV as the more advanced disease. Most cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed in the later stages, making treatment difficult.

About 55 percent of mid- to late-stage mesothelioma patients live six months after a diagnosis, some 40 percent survive the first year after a diagnosis and about 9 percent survive five years or longer. An overall survival rate is dependent on a number of factors including state and location of the disease, the patients age and general health and the access to treatment specialists. Long-term survivors credit lifestyle changes, alternative medicine and treatment from mesothelioma specialists as contributing factors to their success.

A recent study that looked at 20 years of survivor information, from 1992 to 2012, found pleural and peritoneal survivorship was on the rise. The study found recent advances in treatment, including hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) and cytoreductive surgery, appear to have increased survival rates in peritoneal mesothelioma patients. The studys author suggested genetics, various treatment modalities and gene environment interactions might also play a part in patient longevity.

The optimal treatment approach for most mesothelioma patients is multimodal therapy which is surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. This approach, if successful, eliminates diseased tissue and allows for palliative care. Your treatment plan will depend on your diagnosis, disease stage and overall health.

For decades, all branches of the military required asbestos be used to protect service members from heat, fire and chemical threats. It was widely used in barracks, offices, vehicles and vessels. Over a period of 50 years, some 5 million veterans were exposed to asbestos in shipbuilding operations alone. About 30 percent of mesothelioma patients are U.S. military veterans. Occupations that include carpentry, construction, roofing, auto mechanics and milling are at risk for exposure to dangerous levels of asbestos.

It is estimated that more than 300 asbestos products were used on military installations and in military applications between the early 1930s and the late 1970s. More recently, soldiers serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East may be been exposed from airborne asbestos. Companies that produced these products concealed the dangers of mesothelioma to put profits ahead of the safety and well being of our troops.

Gender, age, severity of symptoms, level of asbestos exposure, stage of disease and disease cell type play a significant role in the overall prognosis for mesothelioma patients. In addition, external factors including diet, age, stress level and general health play a role. The average pleural mesothelioma patient with late-stage disease survives about 12 months after a diagnosis, but those treated with surgery and radiation may extend their prognoses by some 28 months. Peritoneal mesothelioma patients who are treated with heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) outlive their prognoses by 24 months to 7 years.

Many patients are able to improve their prognosis by seeking treatment options from a qualified mesothelioma specialist. Doctors who are practiced and trained in mesothelioma disease treatment approaches have specialized skills, education and access to crucial information that can make positive changes on long-term health.

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What is Mesothelioma? Learn About Causes, Survival Rates …

Mesothelioma Cancer | We Get You the Fast Help You Need

Approximately 3,000 people are diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma in the United States every year. In most cases, these victims exposure took place on the job and the cause of the illness can be traced to an unsafe workplace.

For example, in the past, an overwhelming amount of job sites across the nation used asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) in buildings, equipment, products, machinery, insulation, electrical wiring, and more.

Workers were exposed to ACMs each time they went to work, inhaling tiny, odorless asbestos fibers. Once the fibers become lodged in the body, its literally impossible to expel all of. Over time, the workers began developing asbestos-related illnesses, such as mesothelioma, asbestosis, and asbestos-related lung cancer.

With changing regulations and mitigation, exposure to asbestos is on the decline, but people continue to be diagnosed. This is because the disease has what is known as a long latency period. This means that the amount of time that can pass between the time of exposure to asbestos and the time that symptoms begin to appear can be as long as fifty years.

It is an unfortunate reality, but medical science has made great strides in understanding how this deadly disease progresses and various ways to prolong and improve the lives of those who have been diagnosed with the condition. Currently, however, there is still no cure for asbestos illnesses.

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Mesothelioma Cancer | We Get You the Fast Help You Need

Mesothelioma Life Expectancy | How Long Do Patients Live?

How Can I Improve My Mesothelioma Life Expectancy?

Being proactive about your health is a great first step toward improving your mesothelioma life expectancy after a diagnosis.

In addition to seeking traditional mesothelioma treatments immediately, there are a few steps you can take to improve your mesothelioma life expectancy.

The first step you should take is to seek legal advice so you can begin pursuing the compensation you deserve to afford the treatment you need.

Contact us today to learn about your options for mesothelioma compensation.

Other options to explore as you work to improve your mesothelioma life expectancy include:

Malignant mesothelioma, caused by exposure to airborne asbestos fibers, is an incurable cancer involving the lining of the lung, abdomen, or heart.

The latency period, the time between asbestos exposure and diagnosis, can be decades long. For many patients diagnosed 15 to 60 years after their initial exposure to asbestos, the disease is already in an advanced phase when they begin to suffer symptoms of shortness of breath and chest pain.

At this late stage of diagnosis, the average survival time is less than a year.

Although there are many factors doctors look at to determine a patients prognosis and mesothelioma life expectancy, doctors, patients, and cancer advocates are now emphasizing the importance of early detection.They all agree that in order to increase the effectiveness of treatment options leading to an increased survival time, early detection is critical. In fact, the American Cancer Society states that if you cant prevent cancer, the next best thing you can do to protect your health is to detect it early.

According to the American Thoracic Society, malignant mesothelioma is a fatal disease with median survival time of less than 12 months from first signs of illness of death.

However, some studies have shown that among patients where it is diagnosed early and treated aggressively, about half can expect a mesothelioma life expectancy of two years, and one-fifth will have a mesothelioma life expectancy of five years.

As a comparison, for patients whose mesothelioma is advanced, only five percent can expect to live another five years.

Early diagnosis of the cancer often means that the cancer will be localized, with the cancer cells found only at the body site where the cancer originated.

The localized cancer would be identified as Stage 1 and can involve a surgically removable tumor. Once the cancer cells have spread beyond that original location, the mesothelioma is considered advanced and surgery is often no longer an option.

The importance of early diagnosis of this cancer cannot be overemphasized. Treating a limited area of cancer is easier, and includes more treatment options, than trying to treat cancer that has spread, or metastasized, to several sites or throughout the body.

Mesothelioma is typically diagnosed within three to six months of the first visit to a doctor with complaints about breathing problems or chest and abdominal pain.

Anyone who has worked around asbestos is urged to see a physician for screening for malignant cancer. Screening methods are advancing, and various blood tests now exist that may identify mesothelioma.

The blood tests focus on a protein in the blood that is released into the blood stream by cells. One test checks for a protein known as SMRP, or soluble mesothelin-related peptide.

The biomarker measures the amount of SMRP in a persons blood. Abnormally high levels may indicate the presence of mesothelioma.

Early diagnosis can improve life expectancy.

However, the following factors for a mesothelioma diagnosis are all important when assessing life expectancy:

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic add quality of life prior to a diagnosis to the list of increased survival. The researchers found that patients who deemed their quality of life highest among other lung cancer patients lived significantly longer.

The American Cancer Society encourages cancer survivors to focus on healthy behaviors including exercise, diet, and not smoking to limit the risk of mesothelioma recurrence and for improved quality of life.

The younger the better. Many studies report that younger, fit patients have a higher mesothelioma life expectancy than their older counterparts when diagnosed with cancer.

Younger patients are generally healthier overall, which points to encouraging Americans to live a healthy lifestyle in order to combat mesothelioma.

The primary types of mesothelioma are pleural, involving the lung, and peritoneal, involving the abdomen.

Pleural mesothelioma patients typically have a shorter mesothelioma life expectancy than peritoneal patients. According to statistics, 80 percent of the mesothelioma cases are pleural, with close to 20 percent peritoneal cases.

Pericardial, which occurs in the lining around the heart, is extremely rare, representing less than one percent of all mesothelioma cases.

There are three types of cells that appear in mesothelioma: epithelioid, sarcomatoid, and biphasic.

Epithelial cells

These cells protect and surround organs. When they are invaded by mesothelioma, they form tumors that can be removed with surgery or treated with radiation, chemotherapy, or a combination of the three.

Mesothelioma cases often include a malignant epithelial tumor. There are 20 kinds of epithelial mesothelioma cells. Some are associated with a specific type of mesothelioma. Others are found in all forms of the disease.

Sarcomatoid cells

Are made up of cancerous cells that can include epithelial cells. Sarcomatoid cells are hard to tell apart from healthy tissues. They spread quickly and are the most difficult to treat.

There are three kinds of sarcomatoid cells associated with mesothelioma: transitional, lymphohistiocytosis, and desmoplastic. They are found in all three types of mesothelioma.

Biphasic cells

Are the second most-common found in mesothelioma patients. These cells are most often present in pleural patients.

They may include elements of epithelial cells and sarcomatoid cells; for this reason, treatment and patient survival time frames will vary. Treatment is also based on the stage, size and location of the tumor.

Unlike many other predominantly pulmonary-related cancers, cigarette smoking has no known causative effect on pleural mesothelioma incidence.

However, statistics show that smoking accounts for 90 percent of lung cancer cases and 85 percent of head and neck cancers. Smoking cessation is one of the primary ways to prevent lung disease.

The effectiveness of treatment for mesothelioma patients can be complicated if patients continue to smoke.

Patients with few to no additional health complications may have a longer survival than those with other health issues such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

Patients with other chronic conditions must carefully monitor their health and medications to prevent complications from arising. When they are then diagnosed with mesothelioma, it is important that the medical team and patients work closely together to monitor drug interactions and proper nutrition.

The American Cancer Society reports the following median survival time of patients with pleural mesothelioma who were treated with surgery to cure the cancer.

The numbers include the relative five-year survival rate and median survival. The ACS adds that survival times tend to be longer for patients treated with surgery.

Patients who are not eligible for surgery often have cancer that has metastasized.

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Mesothelioma Life Expectancy | How Long Do Patients Live?

Mesothelioma – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic

Overview

Malignant mesothelioma (me-zoe-thee-lee-O-muh) is a type of cancer that occurs in the thin layer of tissue that covers the majority of your internal organs (mesothelium).

Mesothelioma is an aggressive and deadly form of cancer. Mesothelioma treatments are available, but for many people with mesothelioma, a cure is not possible.

Doctors divide mesothelioma into different types based on what part of the mesothelium is affected. Mesothelioma most often affects the tissue that surrounds the lungs (pleura). This type is called pleural mesothelioma. Other, rarer types of mesothelioma affect tissue in the abdomen (peritoneal mesothelioma), around the heart and around the testicles.

Mesothelioma doesn’t include a form of noncancerous (benign) tumor that occurs in the chest and is sometimes called benign mesothelioma or solitary fibrous tumor.

Signs and symptoms of mesothelioma vary depending on where the cancer occurs.

Pleural mesothelioma, which affects the tissue that surrounds the lungs, causes signs and symptoms that may include:

Peritoneal mesothelioma, which occurs in tissue in the abdomen, causes signs and symptoms that may include:

Signs and symptoms of other types of mesothelioma are unclear, since these forms of the disease are very rare.

Pericardial mesothelioma, which affects tissue that surrounds the heart, can cause signs and symptoms such as breathing difficulty and chest pains.

Mesothelioma of tunica vaginalis, which affects tissue surrounding the testicles, may be first detected as swelling or a mass on a testicle.

See your doctor if you have signs and symptoms that may indicate mesothelioma. Signs and symptoms of mesothelioma aren’t specific to this disease and, due to the rarity of mesothelioma, are more likely to be related to other conditions. If any persistent signs and symptoms seem unusual or bothersome, ask your doctor to evaluate them. Tell your doctor if you’ve been exposed to asbestos.

In general, cancer begins when a series of genetic mutations occur within a cell, causing the cell to grow and multiply out of control. It isn’t clear what causes the initial genetic mutations that lead to mesothelioma, though researchers have identified factors that may increase the risk. It’s likely that cancers form because of an interaction between many factors, such as inherited conditions, your environment, your health conditions and your lifestyle choices.

Asbestos is a mineral that’s found naturally in the environment. Asbestos fibers are strong and resistant to heat, making them useful in a wide variety of applications, such as in insulation, brakes, shingles, flooring and many other products.

When asbestos is broken up, such as during the mining process or when removing asbestos insulation, dust may be created. If the dust is inhaled or swallowed, the asbestos fibers will settle in the lungs or in the stomach, where they can cause irritation that may lead to mesothelioma. Exactly how this happens isn’t understood. It can take 20 to 40 years or more for mesothelioma to develop after asbestos exposure.

Most people with years of asbestos exposure never develop mesothelioma. And yet, others with very brief exposure develop the disease. This indicates that other factors may be involved in determining whether someone gets mesothelioma or doesn’t. For instance, you could inherit a predisposition to cancer or some other condition could increase your risk.

Factors that may increase the risk of mesothelioma include:

As pleural mesothelioma spreads in the chest, it puts pressure on the structures in that area. This can cause complications, such as:

Reducing your exposure to asbestos may lower your risk of mesothelioma.

Most people with mesothelioma were exposed to the asbestos fibers at work. Workers who may encounter asbestos fibers include:

Ask your employer whether you have a risk of asbestos exposure on the job.

Follow all safety precautions in your workplace, such as wearing protective equipment. You may also be required to shower and change out of your work clothes before taking a lunch break or going home. Talk to your doctor about other precautions you can take to protect yourself from asbestos exposure.

Older homes and buildings may contain asbestos. In many cases, it’s more dangerous to remove the asbestos than it is to leave it intact. Breaking up asbestos may cause fibers to become airborne, where they can be inhaled. Consult experts trained to detect asbestos in your home. These experts may test the air in your home to determine whether the asbestos is a risk to your health. Don’t attempt to remove asbestos from your home hire a qualified expert. The Environmental Protection Agency offers advice on its website for dealing with asbestos in the home.

Dec. 22, 2017

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Mesothelioma – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic

Mesothelioma | 2018 Statistics, Symptoms, Treatment Options

Most often, mesothelioma is treated with a multimodal plan, or combination, of conventional cancer treatment methods including surgery and chemotherapy. Treatment will either focus on extending life expectancy or, at a late stage, focus on palliative care to relieve side effects. Research and clinical trials have found new hope for a potential cure with emerging treatments, like immunotherapy, to combat the disease and improve life expectancy.

After receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis, the most important step is finding a mesothelioma doctor who specializes in asbestos-related diseases. They will be the best person to determine the most effective treatment options for your individual case, and will also be aware of the latest treatment advancements or clinical trials available. Creating a custom treatment plan with a mesothelioma doctor is the most effective way to improve prognosis.

Learn More About Mesothelioma Treatments

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Mesothelioma | 2018 Statistics, Symptoms, Treatment Options

Mesothelioma – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic

Overview

Malignant mesothelioma (me-zoe-thee-lee-O-muh) is a type of cancer that occurs in the thin layer of tissue that covers the majority of your internal organs (mesothelium).

Mesothelioma is an aggressive and deadly form of cancer. Mesothelioma treatments are available, but for many people with mesothelioma, a cure is not possible.

Doctors divide mesothelioma into different types based on what part of the mesothelium is affected. Mesothelioma most often affects the tissue that surrounds the lungs (pleura). This type is called pleural mesothelioma. Other, rarer types of mesothelioma affect tissue in the abdomen (peritoneal mesothelioma), around the heart and around the testicles.

Mesothelioma doesn’t include a form of noncancerous (benign) tumor that occurs in the chest and is sometimes called benign mesothelioma or solitary fibrous tumor.

Signs and symptoms of mesothelioma vary depending on where the cancer occurs.

Pleural mesothelioma, which affects the tissue that surrounds the lungs, causes signs and symptoms that may include:

Peritoneal mesothelioma, which occurs in tissue in the abdomen, causes signs and symptoms that may include:

Signs and symptoms of other types of mesothelioma are unclear, since these forms of the disease are very rare.

Pericardial mesothelioma, which affects tissue that surrounds the heart, can cause signs and symptoms such as breathing difficulty and chest pains.

Mesothelioma of tunica vaginalis, which affects tissue surrounding the testicles, may be first detected as swelling or a mass on a testicle.

See your doctor if you have signs and symptoms that may indicate mesothelioma. Signs and symptoms of mesothelioma aren’t specific to this disease and, due to the rarity of mesothelioma, are more likely to be related to other conditions. If any persistent signs and symptoms seem unusual or bothersome, ask your doctor to evaluate them. Tell your doctor if you’ve been exposed to asbestos.

In general, cancer begins when a series of genetic mutations occur within a cell, causing the cell to grow and multiply out of control. It isn’t clear what causes the initial genetic mutations that lead to mesothelioma, though researchers have identified factors that may increase the risk. It’s likely that cancers form because of an interaction between many factors, such as inherited conditions, your environment, your health conditions and your lifestyle choices.

Asbestos is a mineral that’s found naturally in the environment. Asbestos fibers are strong and resistant to heat, making them useful in a wide variety of applications, such as in insulation, brakes, shingles, flooring and many other products.

When asbestos is broken up, such as during the mining process or when removing asbestos insulation, dust may be created. If the dust is inhaled or swallowed, the asbestos fibers will settle in the lungs or in the stomach, where they can cause irritation that may lead to mesothelioma. Exactly how this happens isn’t understood. It can take 20 to 40 years or more for mesothelioma to develop after asbestos exposure.

Most people with years of asbestos exposure never develop mesothelioma. And yet, others with very brief exposure develop the disease. This indicates that other factors may be involved in determining whether someone gets mesothelioma or doesn’t. For instance, you could inherit a predisposition to cancer or some other condition could increase your risk.

Factors that may increase the risk of mesothelioma include:

As pleural mesothelioma spreads in the chest, it puts pressure on the structures in that area. This can cause complications, such as:

Reducing your exposure to asbestos may lower your risk of mesothelioma.

Most people with mesothelioma were exposed to the asbestos fibers at work. Workers who may encounter asbestos fibers include:

Ask your employer whether you have a risk of asbestos exposure on the job.

Follow all safety precautions in your workplace, such as wearing protective equipment. You may also be required to shower and change out of your work clothes before taking a lunch break or going home. Talk to your doctor about other precautions you can take to protect yourself from asbestos exposure.

Older homes and buildings may contain asbestos. In many cases, it’s more dangerous to remove the asbestos than it is to leave it intact. Breaking up asbestos may cause fibers to become airborne, where they can be inhaled. Consult experts trained to detect asbestos in your home. These experts may test the air in your home to determine whether the asbestos is a risk to your health. Don’t attempt to remove asbestos from your home hire a qualified expert. The Environmental Protection Agency offers advice on its website for dealing with asbestos in the home.

Dec. 22, 2017

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Mesothelioma – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic

Mesothelioma | 2018 Statistics, Symptoms, Treatment Options

Most often, mesothelioma is treated with a multimodal plan, or combination, of conventional cancer treatment methods including surgery and chemotherapy. Treatment will either focus on extending life expectancy or, at a late stage, focus on palliative care to relieve side effects. Research and clinical trials have found new hope for a potential cure with emerging treatments, like immunotherapy, to combat the disease and improve life expectancy.

After receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis, the most important step is finding a mesothelioma doctor who specializes in asbestos-related diseases. They will be the best person to determine the most effective treatment options for your individual case, and will also be aware of the latest treatment advancements or clinical trials available. Creating a custom treatment plan with a mesothelioma doctor is the most effective way to improve prognosis.

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Mesothelioma | 2018 Statistics, Symptoms, Treatment Options

Mesothelioma – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic

Overview

Malignant mesothelioma (me-zoe-thee-lee-O-muh) is a type of cancer that occurs in the thin layer of tissue that covers the majority of your internal organs (mesothelium).

Mesothelioma is an aggressive and deadly form of cancer. Mesothelioma treatments are available, but for many people with mesothelioma, a cure is not possible.

Doctors divide mesothelioma into different types based on what part of the mesothelium is affected. Mesothelioma most often affects the tissue that surrounds the lungs (pleura). This type is called pleural mesothelioma. Other, rarer types of mesothelioma affect tissue in the abdomen (peritoneal mesothelioma), around the heart and around the testicles.

Mesothelioma doesn’t include a form of noncancerous (benign) tumor that occurs in the chest and is sometimes called benign mesothelioma or solitary fibrous tumor.

Signs and symptoms of mesothelioma vary depending on where the cancer occurs.

Pleural mesothelioma, which affects the tissue that surrounds the lungs, causes signs and symptoms that may include:

Peritoneal mesothelioma, which occurs in tissue in the abdomen, causes signs and symptoms that may include:

Signs and symptoms of other types of mesothelioma are unclear, since these forms of the disease are very rare.

Pericardial mesothelioma, which affects tissue that surrounds the heart, can cause signs and symptoms such as breathing difficulty and chest pains.

Mesothelioma of tunica vaginalis, which affects tissue surrounding the testicles, may be first detected as swelling or a mass on a testicle.

See your doctor if you have signs and symptoms that may indicate mesothelioma. Signs and symptoms of mesothelioma aren’t specific to this disease and, due to the rarity of mesothelioma, are more likely to be related to other conditions. If any persistent signs and symptoms seem unusual or bothersome, ask your doctor to evaluate them. Tell your doctor if you’ve been exposed to asbestos.

In general, cancer begins when a series of genetic mutations occur within a cell, causing the cell to grow and multiply out of control. It isn’t clear what causes the initial genetic mutations that lead to mesothelioma, though researchers have identified factors that may increase the risk. It’s likely that cancers form because of an interaction between many factors, such as inherited conditions, your environment, your health conditions and your lifestyle choices.

Asbestos is a mineral that’s found naturally in the environment. Asbestos fibers are strong and resistant to heat, making them useful in a wide variety of applications, such as in insulation, brakes, shingles, flooring and many other products.

When asbestos is broken up, such as during the mining process or when removing asbestos insulation, dust may be created. If the dust is inhaled or swallowed, the asbestos fibers will settle in the lungs or in the stomach, where they can cause irritation that may lead to mesothelioma. Exactly how this happens isn’t understood. It can take 20 to 40 years or more for mesothelioma to develop after asbestos exposure.

Most people with years of asbestos exposure never develop mesothelioma. And yet, others with very brief exposure develop the disease. This indicates that other factors may be involved in determining whether someone gets mesothelioma or doesn’t. For instance, you could inherit a predisposition to cancer or some other condition could increase your risk.

Factors that may increase the risk of mesothelioma include:

As pleural mesothelioma spreads in the chest, it puts pressure on the structures in that area. This can cause complications, such as:

Reducing your exposure to asbestos may lower your risk of mesothelioma.

Most people with mesothelioma were exposed to the asbestos fibers at work. Workers who may encounter asbestos fibers include:

Ask your employer whether you have a risk of asbestos exposure on the job.

Follow all safety precautions in your workplace, such as wearing protective equipment. You may also be required to shower and change out of your work clothes before taking a lunch break or going home. Talk to your doctor about other precautions you can take to protect yourself from asbestos exposure.

Older homes and buildings may contain asbestos. In many cases, it’s more dangerous to remove the asbestos than it is to leave it intact. Breaking up asbestos may cause fibers to become airborne, where they can be inhaled. Consult experts trained to detect asbestos in your home. These experts may test the air in your home to determine whether the asbestos is a risk to your health. Don’t attempt to remove asbestos from your home hire a qualified expert. The Environmental Protection Agency offers advice on its website for dealing with asbestos in the home.

Dec. 22, 2017

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Mesothelioma – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic

Mesothelioma | definition of mesothelioma by Medical dictionary

DefinitionMesothelioma is an uncommon disease that causes malignant cancer cells to form within the lining of the chest, abdomen, or around the heart. Its primary cause is believed to be exposure to asbestos.Description

Malignant mesothelioma is also known as asbestos cancer or simply “meso.” Mesothelioma causes cancerous cells to develop in the body’s mesothelium, where they can spread to and damage vital organs and tissue. These malignant cells can also metastasize to other regions of the body. Mesothelioma is very difficult to diagnose and responds poorly to most treatment modalities, accounting for a poor prognosis.

The disease derives its name from the mesothelium, a sac-like membrane that protects most of the body’s internal organs. It is divided into two distinct protective layers of cells: the visceral (the layer directly surrounding the organ) and the parietal (a sac around the body cavity). By releasing a lubricating fluid, the mesothelium allows the organs to move more freely within the body cavity; for example, the contraction and expansion of the lungs. The mesothelium is also referred to according to where it is located in the body: pleura (chest), peritoneum (abdomen), and pericardium (heart).

Peritoneal mesothelioma is the second most common form of the disease, accounting for less than 30% of all cases. Malignant cells form in the peritoneum, affecting the abdomen, bowel, liver, and spleen. Similar to pleural mesothelioma, the disease also causes a build up of excess fluid in the abdominal cavity. Normal bodily functions, such as digestion, can be hindered by the obstruction of organ movement.

Very rare forms of mesothelioma occur in the pericardium, as well as the mesothelium of the male and female reproductive organs. Cystic mesothelioma of the peritoneum, another rare form of the disease, occurs predominantly in women and is more benign in nature.

Malignant mesothelioma takes the form of one of three cell-types: epithelioid (50% to 70% of cases), sarcomatous (7% to 20% of cases), and biphasic/mixed (20% to 35% of cases). Of these cell-types, epithelioid mesothelioma carries the most favorable prognosis, followed by biphasic, and finally sarcomatous (very aggressive).

Mesothelioma remains relatively uncommon in the United States, with approximately 2,500 new cases reported annually. The incidence rates are much higher in Western Europe (over 5,000 cases reported annually). These numbers are expended to climb dramatically over the next 20 years. Older males (median age 60 at diagnosis) are three to five times more likely to develop mesothelioma than women. This is most like do to male predominance in those professions with an increased risk of asbestos exposure.

Approximately 80% of all mesothelioma patients have a history of asbestos exposure. The majority of these patients were employed in an industry that involved the use of asbestos in some fashion. In addition to occupational exposure, household exposure of family members is not uncommon. An exposed individual can carry the asbestos particles on their clothing, skin, and in their hair when they return home, resulting in paraoccupational exposure. Even brief exposure to asbestos, as little as one to two months, can result in long-term consequences. Although the dangers of asbestos have been known for decades, the long latency period of mesothelioma (30 to 40 years) means that majority of patients were already exposed as far back as the 1950s. It is estimated that up to eight million Americans have already been exposed. Several industries, in particular, show a higher incidence of asbestos exposure:

Patients suffering from peritoneal mesothelioma most commonly exhibit signs of pain and/or swelling in the abdomen from fluid retention or tumor growth. Weight loss, nausea, bowel obstruction, anemia, fever, and swelling in the legs and/or feet are also known symptoms.

Once a confirmation of malignant mesothelioma has been established, the doctor will conduct further tests to determine the extent to which the primary disease has spread. This diagnostic process is known as “staging.” Malignant pleural mesothelioma of can be broken into four stages:

Recurrent malignant mesothelioma may also occur, where the cancer returns in its original location or elsewhere in the body even after treatment.

Surgery, the most common treatment, involves the removal of the tumor. In the early stages of mesothelioma, this only involves removal of a section of the mesothelium and surrounding tissue, but may require removing part of the diaphragm as well. For more advanced stages of the disease, removing the entire lung may be the only option, which is known as pneumonectomy.

Radiation therapy, also known as radiotherapy, destroys and shrinks the cancer cells through various types of radiation. Both external (such as a machine) and internal (such as radioisotopes) radiation therapies can be utilized effectively to treat malignant mesothelioma.

Pain and other symptoms caused by fluid build-up around the chest and/or abdomen can be treated by drain excess fluid through a needle or tube. These procedures are known as thoracentesis (chest) and paracentesis (abdomen). Drugs, radiotherapy, and surgery can also relieve or prevent further fluid accumulation.

The stage and location, what cell-type is involved, as well as the patient’s age and histology factor greatly on life expectancy. Unfortunately, even with aggressive treatment, the prognosis for mesothelioma patients is poor. Pleural mesothelioma offers a median survival time of approximately 16 to 17 months after initial symptoms. Prognosis for peritoneal mesothelioma is poorer and has a median survival time of only ten months after initial symptoms. Unfortunately, the more advanced stages of mesothelioma may offer as little as four or five month’s survival time.

The survival time for patients with localized mesothelioma can be extended several months with aggressive therapy, with roughly 20% of patients surviving past the five-year mark. Therapy programs recently developed at leading cancer centers have extended this survival time even further. Dr. Sugarbaker, of the Brigham and Women’s Center in Boston, has achieved a median of 40% survival rate at five years with his treatment regimen for pleural mesothelioma, as reported in the Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery. Other programs are also exhibiting favorable results. However, despite such successes, no cure for mesothelioma currently exists.

Jaurand, Marie-Claude, and Jean Bignon (eds). The Mesothelial Cell and Mesothelioma. New York: Marcel Dekker, 1994.

Robinson, Bruce, and A. Philippe Chahinian (eds). Mesothelioma. London: Martin Dunitz, 2002.

Pistolesi, Massimo, and James Rusthoven. “Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma.” Chest 126 (October, 2004): 1318-1329

Sugarbaker, David, et al. “Resection Margins, Extrapleural Nodal Status, and Cell Type Determine Postoperative Long-Term Survival in Trimodality Therapy of Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma.” Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery 117 (January, 1999): 54-65

van Ruth, Serge, Paul Baas, and Frans Zoetmulder. “Surgical Treatment of Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma.” Chest 123 (February, 2003): 551-561

Mesothelioma Research Foundation of America. 5716 Corsa Ave., Suite 203, Westlake Village, CA 91362. (800) 281-9804. http://www.mesothelioma-rfa.org.

The Mesothelioma Center. 1030 Fifth Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15219. (412) 471-3980. http://mesotheliomacenter.org.

“Malignant Mesothelioma.” National Cancer Institute http://www.nci.nih.gov/cancertopics/types/malignantmesothelioma/.

“Mesothelioma.” Mesothelioma Information http://www.mesoinfo.com.

“Mesothelioma.” Mesothelioma Web http://www.mesotheliomaweb.org.

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Mesothelioma | definition of mesothelioma by Medical dictionary

Malignant Mesothelioma Cancer | Prognosis, Treatment & Legal Help

What is asbestosis disease?

Asbestosis disease is a chronic lung condition that is caused by inhaling asbestos fibers.

The asbestos fibers lodge in tiny sacs in the lungs, known as alveoli. Symptoms of asbestosis include shortness of breath, tightness and pain in the chest, chronic cough, loss of appetite, weight loss, and clubbing of fingers and toes.

Treatment can include use of an oxygen tube or mask, pulmonary rehabilitation exercises, or a lung transplant in extreme cases.

Are asbestosis and mesothelioma the same?

No. Although both of these diseases, along with lung cancer, are associated with exposure to asbestos, they are not the same.

Asbestosis is a chronic lung disease, not a cancer. It is caused by inhalation of asbestos fibers, which can get stuck in the small sacs in the lungs. Having asbestosis can increase a patients chances for developing asbestos-related lung cancer.

Malignant mesothelioma is a cancer. It affects the mesothelium tissue, which lines the lungs and chest wall, as well as the abdominal cavity, heart, and testicles. Malignant mesothelioma is caused by the inhalation or ingestion of asbestos fibers, which lodge in the mesothelium tissue.

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Malignant Mesothelioma Cancer | Prognosis, Treatment & Legal Help

Mesothelioma Causes, Symptoms, Treatment & Prognosis

Mesothelioma facts

What is mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer (malignancy) that most frequently arises from the cells lining the sacs of the chest (the pleura) or the abdomen (the peritoneum). Pleural mesothelioma is the most common form, often becoming apparent with symptoms in the chest area such as chest pain, cough, and/or shortness of breath. Shortness of breath often occurs due to a large pleural effusion (fluid in the thoracic cavity). Peritoneal mesothelioma is much less common. This can affect the organs in the abdomen, and its symptoms are related to this area of the body, that is, abdominal swelling, nausea, vomiting, and bowel obstruction. The rarest form of mesothelioma is pericardial mesothelioma, which involves the sac surrounding the heart.

There are two major cell types of mesothelioma, epithelial and sarcomatoid. Sometimes both of these cell types can be present, also referred to as biphasic. The sarcomatoid type is rarer and occurs in only about 15% of cases; it portends a poorer prognosis. In very rare cases, mesothelioma can originate from benign, non-malignant cells. Surgery cures this so-called benign mesothelioma.

There are many causes of chest pain. A serious form of chest pain is angina, which is a symptom of heart disease and results from inadequate oxygen supply to the heart muscle. Angina can be caused by coronary artery disease or spasm of the coronary arteries. Chest pain can also be due to a heart attack (coronary occlusion), aortic aneurysm dissection, myocarditis, esophageal spasm, esophagitis, rib injury or disease, anxiety, and other important diseases. Do not try to ignore chest pain and “work (or play) through it.” Chest pain is a warning to seek medical attention.

What are mesothelioma symptoms?

Most people present with complaints of shortness of breath. They also can have complaints of chest pain and cough. Patients may also be asymptomatic, with the disease discovered by physical exam or an abnormal chest X-ray.

As the disease progresses, shortness of breath increases, and weight loss, decreased appetite, and night sweats can develop. Local invasion by the tumor can result in changing of voice, loss of function of the diaphragm, and symptoms specific to the area and involvement of adjacent structures.

What causes mesothelioma?

Most people with malignant mesothelioma have worked on jobs where they breathed asbestos. Usually, this involves men over 40 years of age. Others have been exposed to asbestos in a household environment, often without knowing it. The number of new cases of mesothelioma has been relatively stable since 1983, the same time that the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) instituted restrictions on asbestos. In Europe, the number of new cases of mesothelioma continues to rise.

How much asbestos exposure does it take to get mesothelioma?

An exposure of as little as one or two months can result in mesothelioma 30 or 40 years later and in some cases, as much as 70 years later.

How long does it take after asbestos exposure for mesothelioma to show up?

People exposed in the 1940s, ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s are now being diagnosed with mesothelioma because of the long latency period of asbestos disease.

How do health care professionals diagnose mesothelioma?

Pathological examination from a biopsy diagnoses mesothelioma. A health care professional removes tissue. Then a pathologist places it under a microscope and makes a definitive diagnosis and issues a pathology report. This is the end of a process that usually begins with symptoms that send most people to the doctor: a fluid buildup around the lungs (pleural effusions), shortness of breath, pain in the chest, or pain or swelling in the abdomen. The doctor may order an X-ray or CT scan of the chest or abdomen. If further examination is warranted, the following tests may be done:

What is the prognosis for mesothelioma?

Like most cancers, the prognosis for this disease often depends on how early it is diagnosed and how aggressively it is treated. Unfortunately, oftentimes health care professionals find mesothelioma at a stage in which a cure is unobtainable. Many will succumb to the disease within one year of diagnosis.

Treatment options are determined by the stage of mesothelioma (the extent to which the tumor has spread in the body). There are three staging systems currently in use, and each one measures somewhat different variables.

The oldest staging system and the one most often used is the Butchart system, based mainly on the extent of primary tumor mass and divides mesotheliomas into four stages.

The more recent TNM system considers variables of tumor in mass and spread, lymph node involvement, and metastasis.

TNM system: variables of T (tumor), N (lymph nodes), and M (metastasis)

The Brigham system is the latest system and stages mesothelioma according to resectability (the ability to remove the tumor surgically) and lymph node involvement.

What is the treatment for mesothelioma?

There are three traditional kinds of treatment for patients with malignant mesothelioma. Often physicians combine two or more of these in the course of treatment:

Surgery: There are several types of surgery used in treating mesothelioma.

Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation may come from a machine outside the body (external radiation therapy) or from putting materials that produce radiation (radioisotopes) through thin plastic tubes in the area where the cancer cells are (internal radiation therapy).

If fluid has collected in the chest or abdomen, your doctor may drain the fluid out of your body by putting in a needle into the chest or abdomen and using gentle suction to remove the fluid. If a doctor removes fluid from the chest, this is called thoracentesis. If a physician removes fluid from the abdomen, this is called paracentesis. Your doctor may also put drugs through a tube into the chest to prevent more fluid from accumulating.

Health care professionals administer adjuvant radiation in a manner to avoid exposure of the opposite lung to radiation and its potential side effects.

Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to kill cancer cells. Health care professionals administer chemotherapy by pill, or it may be put into the body by a needle in the vein or muscle. Often, a platinum-based chemotherapy (cisplatin or carboplatin) drug is given along with a second agent, pemetrexed. The side effects can be quite toxic, therefore they are used in people who are physically well enough to tolerate these side effects.

Chemotherapeutic agents can be administered either systemically (through the bloodstream) or intrapleurally (in the pleural cavity). When it is administered intrapleurally, the treatment is localized at the site of the tumor. These drugs are generally very toxic and you should discuss their use very carefully with your physician.

Is there any promising research or are there promising drugs for mesothelioma?

Medical researchers are testing new approaches to treat malignant mesothelioma. They often combine traditional treatments or include something entirely new. They include:

Research is being conducted at various cancer centers all over the United States.

A recent study involving L-NDDP produced two cases of remission in mesothelioma patients. Another study found that a drug known as lovastatin might hold promise for mesothelioma patients.

To learn more about mesothelioma clinical studies and journal medical journal articles, visit the Mesothelioma Web (http://www.mesotheliomaweb.org).

What other kinds of information is available for people with mesothelioma?

There are numerous cancer web sites, some specific to mesothelioma. Because they are often difficult to locate, we have listed some relevant medical web sites that have information about mesothelioma.

American Institute for Cancer Research(http://www.aicr.org)

American Thoracic Society(http://www.thoracic.org/)

Canadian Cancer Society(http://www.bc.cancer.ca)

Mesothelioma Web(http://www.mesotheliomaweb.org)

Medically Reviewed on 7/5/2018

References

Mujoomdar, A.A., and D.J. Sugarbaker. “Hyperthermic Chemoperfusion for the Treatment of Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma.” Semin Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 20.4 Winter 2008: 298-304.

Ried, Michael, et al. “Cytoreductive surgery and hyperthermic intrathoracic chemotherapy perfusion for malignant pleural tumours: perioperative management and clinical experience.” Eur J Cardio-thoracic Surgery 43.4 April 2013: 801-807.

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Mesothelioma Causes, Symptoms, Treatment & Prognosis

Mesothelioma Cancer | We Get You the Fast Help You Need

Approximately 3,000 people are diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma in the United States every year. In most cases, these victims exposure took place on the job and the cause of the illness can be traced to an unsafe workplace.

For example, in the past, an overwhelming amount of job sites across the nation used asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) in buildings, equipment, products, machinery, insulation, electrical wiring, and more.

Workers were exposed to ACMs each time they went to work, inhaling tiny, odorless asbestos fibers. Once the fibers become lodged in the body, its literally impossible to expel all of. Over time, the workers began developing asbestos-related illnesses, such as mesothelioma, asbestosis, and asbestos-related lung cancer.

With changing regulations and mitigation, exposure to asbestos is on the decline, but people continue to be diagnosed. This is because the disease has what is known as a long latency period. This means that the amount of time that can pass between the time of exposure to asbestos and the time that symptoms begin to appear can be as long as fifty years.

It is an unfortunate reality, but medical science has made great strides in understanding how this deadly disease progresses and various ways to prolong and improve the lives of those who have been diagnosed with the condition. Currently, however, there is still no cure for asbestos illnesses.

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Mesothelioma Cancer | We Get You the Fast Help You Need

Mesothelioma | Overview, Top Treatments & Survival Tips

Selecting a Top Doctor is Critical

Selecting a mesothelioma specialist is one of the most important decisions a patient can make. Specialists are doctors who are experienced and knowledgeable about treating a specific disease. General oncologists do not have much experience in treating mesothelioma because only 2,000 to 3,000 cases are diagnosed in the U.S. each year.

A specialist can give patients a more accurate diagnosis which can expand treatment options and improve their prognosis. Treatment prescribed by a specialist can significantly extend a patient’s life. Not every specialist treats every type of mesothelioma. Depending on the stage, type, location, severity and more, certain specialists are a better fit than others.

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