When diagnosed with mesothelioma or any other cancer, feeling shocked, sad, and anxious is natural. And it is ok to discuss treatment options and share your pain with family, friends, and your doctor.
Mesothelioma is not very common. Its occurrence is limited to 0.3 percent of all cancer patients in the United States. But being a rare disease does not mean the sufferings of the people experiencing mesothelioma are any less. If you have also got struck by mesothelioma, you must read this article to find out what you need to do.
But before that, have a look at some details about the disease for your better understanding.
What is Mesothelioma?
You already know mesothelioma is a type of cancer. Cancers can occur anywhere in the human body. Still, the ones that begin in the linings of organs are malignant mesothelioma—the most common site for developing this cancer in the chest and abdomen lining. The initiation of the disease takes place by the uncontrolled division of cells, creating lumps of abnormal cells.
Once you are diagnosed with mesothelioma, it is crucial to start researching the treatment options, depending on the type you have.
Types of Mesothelioma
Based on the organ it is affecting, mesothelioma has four types.
- Pleural mesothelioma
- Peritoneal mesothelioma
- Pericardial Mesothelioma
- Testicular Mesothelioma
The mesothelioma that starts from the lungs is called pleural mesothelioma, accounting for 80% of all cases. Although Pleural mesothelioma occurs in the lining of the lungs, it is not considered and treated as lung cancer.
The peritoneum is the membrane lining covering the lining of the abdomen and pelvis. Cancer in this membrane is known as Peritoneal Mesothelioma and is the second most occurring type of mesothelioma. It accounts for less than 20 percent of all mesotheliomas. With healing treatment, the majority of the Peritoneal mesothelioma patients have the expected life of at least five years.
Pericardial mesothelioma, as the name suggests, is the cancer of the lining surrounding the heart. Although it is one of the rarest occurring diseases, the life expectancy of 50 to 60 percent of patients with this type is only six months after the diagnosis.
Testicular Mesothelioma is a sporadic and least dangerous form of mesothelioma. It occurs on the lining of the testes. The survival rate of this cancer is relatively high. Around 49 percent of patients survive five years, and 33 percent survive ten years.
Mesothelioma doesn’t appear in days or weeks. It takes almost 30 to 45 years for mesothelioma to show symptoms. Some people experience symptoms even before 20 years. The intensity and occurrence of the symptoms also depend on their genetic makeup, gender, age, and the amount of asbestos they are inhaling.
Symptoms of mesothelioma vary depending on the organ of the body where cancer occurs. But some symptoms are common in all patients.
Common Symptoms of Include
- Chest Pain
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of appetite
- Pain in the upper body, including shoulders and upper arm
- Heavy sweating at night
- Fluid in lungs and abdomen
- Sensitive skin
Causes of Mesothelioma
Asbestos is the only known cause of mesothelioma. Limited research studies suggest that past radiotherapies may also be the reason for the disease.
But if you are suffering from the disease, you must be inhaling asbestos fibers for many decades. Apart from the residents and employees of places where asbestos is mixed in the building material, other people who get slight exposure can get affected.
Consult a Doctor and Get Diagnosis
If you are experiencing any symptoms of mesothelioma, do not ignore it and consult a doctor for a detailed examination. The tests included in the diagnosis of mesothelioma are as follows:
- Blood tests are done to check the performance of blood cells, liver, kidney, etc.
- To check the swelling or fluids in the lung or abdomen, doctors recommend x-rays.
- While to check the intensity and spread of cancerous cells, the patient is sent for a CT scan. This scan gives three-dimensional pictures of organs.
- To diagnose pleural mesothelioma biopsy is conducted.
- Patients with pleural mesothelioma have fluids in their pleural cavity, which can cause shortness of breath, swelling, and pain. Doctors use needles to drain that fluid to ease the symptom or confirm the disease’s presence.
- Thoracoscopy is the test done after the confirmation of the disease to check the spread of the cells in other parts.
You cannot identify mesothelioma using one test. The cells of this cancer appear to be similar to the normal cells, so it is hard to differentiate. Doctors use the results of different tests to accept the presence of mesothelioma.
Consult an Attorney Final Advice
The use of asbestos is illegal in the United States. Suppose you are suffering from a life-threatening disease due to the irresponsible behavior of someone else. In that case, you have all rights to demand compensation. Apart from other things this money can help you to bear the cost of the treatment. Therefore, as soon as you are diagnosed with mesothelioma, you must consult an attorney to file your case.
What is done can not be reversed. But you can always keep a positive attitude towards life. No treatment can affect you if you lack the spirit to fight. There are treatment options that may help reduce the symptoms and pain and slow down the deterioration process.
The treatment options vary with the type of mesothelioma. But in most cases, doctors recommend chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or surgery.