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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that is almost always caused by previous exposure to asbestos. In this disease, malignant cells develop in the mesothelium, a protective lining that covers most of the body's internal organs. Its most common site is the pleura (outer lining of the lungs and internal chest wall), but it may also occur in the peritoneum (the lining of the abdominal cavity), the heart,[1] the pericardium (a sac that surrounds the heart) or tunica vaginalis.
Most people who develop mesothelioma have worked on jobs where they inhaled asbestos particles, or they have been exposed to asbestos dust and fiber in other ways. Washing the clothes of a family member who worked with asbestos can also put a person at risk for developing mesothelioma.[2] Unlike lung cancer, there is no association between mesothelioma and smoking.[3] Compensation via asbestos funds or lawsuits is an important issue in mesothelioma (see asbestos and the law).
The symptoms of mesothelioma include shortness of breath due to pleural effusion (fluid between the lung and the chest wall) or chest wall pain, and general symptoms such as weight loss. The diagnosis may be suspected with chest X-ray and CT scan, and is confirmed with a biopsy (tissue sample) and microscopic examination. A thoracoscopy (inserting a tube with a camera into the chest) can be used to take biopsies. It allows the introduction of substances such as talc to obliterate the pleural space (called pleurodesis), which prevents more fluid from accumulating and pressing on the lung. Despite treatment with chemotherapy, radiation therapy or sometimes surgery, the disease carries a poor prognosis. Research about screening tests for the early detection of mesothelioma is ongoing.

Early Diagnosis Is Critical For Effective Treatment of Mesothelioma

Early Diagnosis Is Critical For Effective Treatment of Mesothelioma
by: David Arnold Livingston

Cancer is one of the most fatal diseases nowadays. It doesn’t choose its victims. Men and women alike, old and young die of cancer. Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that affects the mesothelium, specifically the Pleura (membrane that surrounds the lungs) and the Peritoneum (membrane surrounding the abdomen). Both Pleural Mesothelioma and Peritoneum Mesothelioma are primarily caused by the inhalation or exposure to asbestos, an incombustible fibrous mineral of impure magnesium silicate used in various industrial products. About 30 to 50 per cent of the total Mesothelioma cancer patients had not been exposed to asbestos, yet they have acquired the disease. Cancer specialists continue to study this rare kind of cancer so as to provide the public clear and exact information with regard to its cause, nature and cure.

Like many other forms of cancer, Mesothelioma has different stages. The earliest stage is still curable since only one layer of the pleura is affected. Surgery is the number one option for patients with Stage I Mesothelioma. The doctor removes the part of the lining of the lungs or chest (in case of Pleural Mesothelioma) and the lining of the abdomen (in case of Peritoneal Mesothelioma). In Stage II Mesothelioma, surgery can still be executed although some lymph nodes may have already been infected by the malignant Mesothelioma cancer cells. The diaphragm may also be removed; in severe cases, the Mesothelioma patient has to sacrifice one of his lungs.

Usually, surgery comes with systemic treatments, which include radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Through radiotherapy, Mesothelioma cancer cells are killed; however, only the cells in the treated area die. High energy rays used in radiotherapy or radiation therapy may either come from an external machine or from thin plastic tubes positioned into the tissues where Mesothelioma cancer-stricken cells are found. Inside the plastic tubes are radiation-emitting materials that kill the malignant cells. The use of an external machine is called external radiation therapy while the other is called internal radiation therapy. Also, a radioactive substance such as radiolabeled monoclonal antibody is circulated around the body during radiotherapy.

Chemotherapy is the use of anti-cancer drugs to kill the malignant cells. In treating Mesothelioma, the anti-cancer drugs are usually given to the patient through intravenous injection (within the vein). Oncologists are still studying the possibility of treating Mesothelioma through intracavitary chemotherapy (within the chest or abdomen). Some Mesothelioma patients also undergo Photodynamic therapy, a kind of cancer therapy that combines the use of drug (photosensitizer) with a specific kind of light. The photosensitizing agent when exposed to the light produce oxygen that destroys nearby malignant cancer cells. The drug is injected into the bloodstream and is absorbed by the cells.

In order to relieve the symptoms of Mesothelioma such as the pain in the chest or abdomen due to the build up of fluid, a physician drains the fluid by using a needle. The procedure is known as thoracentesis (removal of fluid in the chest) or paracentesis (removal of the fluid in the abdomen). To prevent further accumulation of the lubricating fluid in the membranes of the chest or abdomen, drugs are given through a tube in the affected organ.

Although the said treatments to Mesothelioma have been proven effective, chance of recovery and survival still depends on the size or extent of the cancer. Chances are higher when Mesothelioma is still in its early stages. Surgery is only advisable only up to the second stage of the Mesothelioma cancer wherein only one part or smaller portions of the membranes are affected. A patient diagnosed with stage IV Mesothelioma (diffuse Mesothelioma) has only about 4-24 months to live. Furthermore, the age of the patient and his general health condition is also crucial to his recovery. Older patients do not respond well to certain cancer treatments such as surgery because their tissues, organs and other body parts are more delicate.

About The Author
David Arnold Livingston is passionate about Health and suggests you visit, as a resource: http://www.newmesothelioma.com/.

This article was posted on September 15, 2005

Mesothelioma: 5 Top Tips to Help Cope Easier

Mesothelioma: 5 Top Tips to Help Cope Easier
by: George Spence

Living with a diagnosis of Mesothelioma can be very emotionally difficult to deal with. Understandably, you may be feeling upset and confused as it is not uncommon for Mesothelioma to be diagnosed at an advanced stage. Here are five tips to help you or anyone else cope with Mesothelioma:

1: Coping with your feelings.

Everyone has a different reaction when they learn that they have Mesothelioma. A wide range of feelings and emotions such as confusion, upset , worried, depression, shock, fear, denial, anger, negativity, etc. And it is not uncommon for people to feel relieved on learning they have Mesothelioma as they feel it is better to know than not know at all.

Just because you are having different feelings to others (or to the ones listed above) does not mean that you are not coping. There is no text book way to cope with Mesothelioma. The feelings you experience are naturally right for you so do not compare your feelings with anyone else.

2: Finding others to talk to.

Your family and friends may find it hard to talk with each other about Mesothelioma. This is not unusual as they may be scared of frightening you or make it more difficult to talk about in the future. Most Mesothelioma patients feel that a problem shared is a problem halved. In some cases, patients feel it is best just to be listened to and know that someone is there if a ‘good pair of listening ears’ is needed. Get the subject out in the open.

3: How to tell children.

It is never easy to tell children about Mesothelioma, even more difficult if they are small. Most patients will have small children, young relatives or the children of friends in their lives.

If the child you need to speak with is very small, start off by explaining that the person in question is very poorly. If the child is a little older, it is a good idea to explain Mesothelioma cancer as good cells and bad cells in the body. It is also a good idea if you know a little about Mesothelioma or cancer but overall, try to keep it simple.

You will also need to listen to the questions of the child and answer them the best you can without trying to upset them too much. Starting off with small bits of information and building up to the bigger picture as time goes on is a good way to go.

But don’t keep any secrets. Children are good at telling when something is not right and it may be harder for them to cope with uncertainty that it would be coping with the truth.

As adults, it can be natural to try and protect children from the truth but children can pick up on unusual comings and goings and will feel left out. Keep them informed, even if it is with just little snippets of information..

If possible, try to have a word with the childs school teacher to let them know that someone close to them is ill. Hopefully, the teacher will keep an eye on the child in case of any changes in the childs behaviour.

4. What can you do?

A feeling of helplessness is not unusual when someone is first told that they have Mesothelioma. Try and learn to understand Mesothelioma as this will help you and your family to take action and know what to expect. It is best to talk to a professional such as your doctor if you need more information as they will be able to advise you on your specific case which is always better than getting general information about Mesothelioma from a book or the internet. Be sure to take a list of questions to save time for you and your doctor.

It may be a good idea to see if there are any local support groups you can join. Finding people going through a similar experience as yourself can help you cope. Your doctor or hospital will be able to let you know if there are any support groups near to you.

As you are having treatment, you will find that you may not be able to do as much as you would like on a day to day basis. Once you start to feel a little better, try and do some simple tasks and do a little more each day. This will help with confidence but always remember not to over do things.

A lot of patients try to fight Mesothelioma by planning a healthy diet, learning relaxation techniques and taking regular exercise. You don’t have to do this, only if you would like to try it. The last thing you need are more dramatic changes in your life if you’re not ready for them. But if you do decide to give exercise a go, start slowly and set realistic targets. You will have good days and bad days so always plan your activity on how you feel on the day.

5: Who else can help?

More support can come from your GP if needed and hospitals can give advice and support through cancer nurses and specially trained staff will advise you on any worries you may have.

For financial help, check any insurance policies you have to see if you are covered. It is also advisable to seek financial help from your local welfare office if needed.

Sometimes it is nice to talk with someone who has nothing to do with Mesothelioma. You may want to try counselling or if you’re religious, speaking with a local minister or anyone else involved in your faith.

About The Author

George Spence is the author of Mesothelioma help site and spends a great deal of his time writing articles about coping with Mesothelioma. See more at http://www.zx77.net

This article was posted on November 13, 2006


by: Nick Johnson

Everyone is probably aware that people are able to develop an illness or even cancer from exposure to harmful chemicals. But did you know, people come in contact with these chemicals in the workplace without their knowledge? The type of cancer developed from these harmful chemicals, asbestos, is called Mesothelioma. Continual exposure to asbestos in the workplace causes cancer cells to form in the body. This cancer generally affects the lungs, but in some instances, the cancer is able to develop in the abdominal cavity of the heart.

Many people question why asbestos is so harmful to people if it is comprised of minerals that naturally appear within the environment. The reason why it is pernicious is quite simple; Asbestos causes an unnatural and harmful reaction within the body. Unlike other minerals found in the environment, the minerals that comprise asbestos are unaffected by fire and heat. They do not dissolve, evaporate into the air, nor contain an odor. In addition, the minerals in asbestos are tasteless. Thus giving the harmful chemicals free range to enter your body through inhalation. For some reason, many companies avoid warning workers on the presence and danger of asbestos. Sometimes, the companies are unaware of the presence of asbestos, but most often they are negligent and flat out do not warn their workers of the dangerous chemicals that engulf the workplace. Employees unknowingly work within these environments for months or years on end, unequipped with proper protective gear. When a workplace is filled with asbestos, the threat of malignant Mesothelioma is very much present. The three ways the body is susceptible to attack from this deadly cancer are: pleural (lung), peritoneal (stomach), and pericardial (heart).


When dealing with the symptoms associated with Mesothelioma, people should be aware warning signs may not appear until 20 years after the were unknowingly exposed to asbestos. For the three different types of Mesothelioma, Pleural, Peritoneal, and Pericardial, there are many different symptoms.

Pleural Mesothelioma strikes the lining of the lungs and causes shortness of breath, persistent cough, and a pain that lingers in the chest. A victim of Pleural Mesothelioma may also suffer from chronic wheezing and a hoarse voice. All of these symptoms stem from excess fluid gathering in the space surrounding the lungs. When this type of cancer is sever, the development of numerous tumors may form. In time, pneumothorax (collapsing of the lungs) may occur.

Another type of this cancer develops within the lining of the abdominal cavity, Peritoneal Mesothelioma. Unlike victims of Pleural Mesothelioma, Peritoneal Mesothelioma victims experience weight loss, fatigue, weakness, loss of appetite, and muscle atrophy. This group of symptoms is often referred to as Cachexia. Diseases with weakened immune systems and cancer usually bring on cachexia. Similar to Pleural Mesothelioma, Peritoneal Mesothelioma also has built up fluid, although this form of the cancer has built up fluid in the stomach cavity, accompanied with abdominal swelling and pain. Additional signs that one suffers from Peritoneal Mesothelioma include: fever, anemia, bowel obstruction, and blood clotting. In late stages of the cancer, tumors may appear in the abdominal cavity.

The third type of Mesothelioma, which is Pericardial Mesothelioma, attacks the heart, as well as the lining surrounding the heart. Pericardial Mesothelioma is the most rare form of all three diseases. The symptoms of this type of cancer are somewhat similar to those of Pleural Mesothelioma, but also include chest pain, heart palpitations, and a nagging cough. Severe cases of Pericardial Mesothelioma display a different crop of symptoms. A patient may notice a yellowing of the eyes and skin. They may also experience low blood sugar levels, blood clots in the veins and arteries. Severe bleeding may also occur various organs throughout the body.

Generally, Mesothelioma related caner does not spread to other parts of the body besides, the lungs, heart, and stomach, but in some instances the disease will breach other parts of the human body (i.e. brain, bone, or adrenal glands). When spreading of the disease occurs, additional signs and symptoms may appear. These include but are not limited to: excessive pain, trouble swallowing, and swelling of the neck and/or face.

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with Mesothelioma related cancer or suspect you may have Mesothelioma related cancer then please do not hesitate to contact Nick Johnson at http://www.johnsonlawgroup.com.

About The Author

Being born and raised in Houston, TX, Attorney Nick Johnson proudly serves the community that helped him to where he is today. Johnson attended Duke University, where he graduated and received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. After attending Duke, Johnson went on to graduate from the University of Houston Law Center. In 1991, he formed the law firm that became JBC, L.L.P Law Firm. Now leading the Johnson Law Group, Johnson practices in all areas of personal injury law, specializing in Mesothelioma related Cancer. In addition, he also handles cases involving nursing home negligence, paxil side effects, and auto-accidents. Johnson has also been actively representing thousands of clients in mass tort cases and severely injured plaintiffs in accident cases.

This article was posted on December 11, 2006

Why Opt for an Experienced Mesothelioma Attorney?

Why Opt for an Experienced Mesothelioma Attorney?
by: MesotheliomaFirms.com

There are many attorneys around today, some of who specialize in particular areas of law and others that deal with a wide range of legal issues. When it comes to a sensitive and often complicated area such as mesothelioma litigation, it is always advisable to go through a specialist mesothelioma attorney with experience and contacts within this field. Having an experienced mesothelioma attorney deal with your mesothelioma case can help to speed the process, and can ultimately make the difference between a successful or a failed mesothelioma compensation claim.

Trained and experienced mesothelioma attorneys will have established links and contacts with other groups and organizations within this field, which means that you will be able to get additional advice and even support as well as getting sound legal advice. A more experienced mesothelioma attorney will already have dealt with cases similar to yours, and will therefore know the pitfalls and loopholes to look out for, which could help to speed up your case and could maximizes your chances of a successful claim.

When you choose an experienced mesothelioma attorney, you will be able to determine the success rate of that particular law firm or specialist by asking about similar cases and their outcomes. Because a more experienced attorney will already have dealt with a large number of such cases, he or she will be able to demonstrate their success rate within the field of mesothelioma litigation.

A mesothelioma attorney will be highly trained in this particular area, and will be completely familiar with the information and facts required in order to put together a successful lawsuit on behalf of a mesothelioma sufferer or a family member that is filing on behalf of a sufferer. An experienced lawyer will be able to ask the right questions, and will be able to initiate early action on your mesothelioma lawsuit through the use of links and contacts that he or she has already formed. Also, since a specialist mesothelioma attorney will have experience in dealing with asbestos litigation, he or she is more likely to be able to advise you with regard to the timeframe involved as well as the likely success of your lawsuit based upon your circumstances.

Because most mesothelioma attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, you will not have to worry about paying costly legal bills upfront. When working on a contingency fee structure, you will only pay legal fees if and when you receive compensation, which means that you can enjoy the benefits of expert legal assistance and advice without having to pay any money upfront.

Using a trained, experienced mesothelioma attorney to deal with your lawsuit could save you a great deal of time and worry over your claim, and you could increase your chances of getting the compensation you deserve for your asbestos related injury. With a number of specialist mesothelioma attorneys to choose from, you should have no problem finding expert legal assistance from a professional with a high level of experience within the area of mesothelioma litigation.

To find a mesothelioma attorney, begin your search at http:///www.MesotheliomaFirms.com

About The Author
MesotheliomaFirms.com offers listings of experienced mesothelioma attorneys and asbestos law firms as well as mesothelioma information and articles.

To find a mesothelioma attorney or law firm, visit http://www.MesotheliomaFirms.com


This article was posted on March 09, 2005