03 August 2011

Mesothelioma... guest article

What is Mesothelioma?

Unlike other forms of cancer, Mesothelioma, is not as widely known.  Between 2000 and 3000 people are diagnosed with this rare form of cancer each year in the United States.  It is known to be a silent killer because it is so difficult to diagnose.  Many of those who are affected generally don’t experience symptoms for 20 to 50 years after their initial exposure.  The latency period can last several decades; and, by the time symptoms are apparent, it is often times too late.  Since the symptoms related to mesothelioma are very similar to those of other conditions, it is often times misdiagnosed or overlooked.

As previously mentioned, the latency period causes many potential problems for accurate diagnosis.  The reason for this latency period is due to the fact that many people were exposed to asbestos before the 80’s.  Asbestos laced products were heavily used in the military, construction, automobile industry, asbestos mining and processing plants, as well as residential areas.  Mesothelioma is primarily found in the lungs and/or abdomen.  In some instances, the likelihood for cancer in other areas of the body can increase.  Asbestos exposure occurs when microscopic asbestos fibers are inhaled and ingested.  These fibers then attach to the mesothelial lining of the lungs and, over time, can develop into cancerous tumors. 

For those who have been diagnosed with Mesothelioma, the prognosis is rather grave.  There are various factors that impact the mesothelioma prognosis; for example, how early it is detected, the type of mesothelioma, the overall health of the person, size/location of the tumor, and the stage of mesothelioma.  There are four stages of mesothelioma; Stage 1 describes the tumor as confined and does not involve the lymph nodes, Stage 2 has the tumor confined and the lymph nodes are involved, Stage 3 the tumor has penetrate past its confinement and involve the lymph nodes, Stage 4 is the most advance and least optimistic with the tumor fully metastasized into other parts of the body.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for mesothelioma; however, there are steps that can be taken in hopes to improve the prognosis associated with this cancer.  Many of those affected have undergone chemotherapy, radiation therapy, clinical trials, and even surgery.

We offer a variety of resources for mesothelioma patients and their families at The Mesothelioma Center.  Our wonderful Patient Advocates are available to assist with any questions you may have.  We also offer a Doctor Match program in which we are able to introduce you to doctors and suggest treatment centers for your specific diagnosis.  If you would like more information about mesothelioma, asbestos, or other asbestos related disease please feel free to visit: http://www.asbestos.com. http://twitter.com/TheMesoCenter http://www.facebook.com/themesocenter