What is Mesothelioma?
Several construction sites used asbestos as insulation material in the past. Back then, employers did not know of the dangers of the material and continued to use it for some time. Workers started to develop symptoms that were related to it like a chronic cough. These signs could lead to a type of cancer called Mesothelioma. Here is its definition, causes, and symptoms.
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that happens in the mesothelium, which is a type of thin layer that covers most of the internal organs of a human. The disease is aggressive and deadly, but there are certain treatments for it. Currently, only a few individuals were totally cured.
According to certain reports, there are about 2,400 to 2,800 people that are diagnosed with this illness in the United States alone. Workers and other people exposed to asbestos have the highest risk of developing it. It usually shows up after 20 to 50 years from the first exposure, whether from work or second-hand exposure.
The stages of the illness, the location of the tumor, and cell type are the main factors that could determine the patient’s survival rate. Other factors like overall health and age also make an impact.
Main Cause of Mesothelioma Cancer
Cancer cells start when there is a series of generic mutations happening inside a cell. This causes the cell to grow and multiply out of control. There are several factors that could increase the risk.
The number one cause of this type of cancer is exposure to asbestos, which is a naturally occurring mineral. Seventy-five percent of known cases are men that have been exposed to asbestos during construction or serving in the military. Aside from construction, others also worked in certain high-risk blue-collar jobs like shipbuilding, industrial work, and firefighting.
Clothes that were exposed to the mineral can become catalysts. Washing that kind of dirty laundry can cause secondhand exposure. Living in areas close to abandoned asbestos mines or an environment where the mineral is abundant is also dangerous.
The cancer cells multiply further with other factors as well. Apart from living in areas rich with asbestos or working in mines, you can make it worse with your lifestyle choices like smoking. Another increased risk of the disease also includes if you have a parent, brother, sister, or a child with mesothelioma.
Symptoms and Signs
Mesothelioma cancer usually does not show any signs or symptoms in its early stages, so you should be vigilant at all times. The symptoms will only occur once the tumor has grown into the surrounding tissues and organs. Fluids build up around the lung or in the abdomen. Patients who ask for a checkup usually have the advanced stages of the disease already.
There are two types of mesothelioma, which are pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma. The version that attacks the lungs has symptoms like aching or pain in the chest or the lower back, chronic cough, shortness of breath, and fatigue. It also causes fever, a lot of sweating, having trouble swallowing food, hoarseness, swelling of the arms and face, and weight loss.
Mesothelioma in the abdomen has several symptoms as well. These signs include swelling of the abdomen, which is caused by ascites, pain in the abdomen, vomiting, weight loss, constipation, nausea, and also causes a blockage inside the colon or the small intestine.
There four known stages of Mesothelioma. Stage One shows a tumor located in one area and has not spread to the other parts of the body. Stage Two shows a large tumor and might spread to nearby areas or the lymph nodes. There are no signs that it has gone any further at this stage. Stage Three shows the tumor has spread beyond its original position and the lymph nodes. The fourth stage shows the tumors have spread into a lot of areas of the body. It has spread into the lymphatic system and has invaded other internal organs.
Stage One and Two could be treated with surgery and other forms of therapy. If the mesothelioma cancer is already at Stage Three or Four, patients will have a specialized medical care. Doctors will only provide relief from the symptoms and stress.
Patients who got the disease from work should get compensation from their employers right away in order to pay for medical expenses. Victims who are having problems getting their medical insurances should ask for help from a Mesothelioma attorney.