Monday, August 15, 2011
The choice of treatment for mesothelioma depends on many factors, including the location of tumors, the stage of the cancer, the patient's overall health, treatment history and the type of mesothelioma. Treatment generally consists of surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, alternative treatments or some combination of therapies.
In most cases, mesothelioma can be linked to a history of asbestos exposure, which may occur in the environment, in the workplace or from certain products. If asbestos fibers are inhaled or ingested, the fibers can lodge in the lining of the lungs or other internal organs, causing chronic inflammation and mesothelioma, in some cases.
People believed to be in the high risk category for getting mesothelioma are those who were exposed to asbestos on a regular basis (six months or more) while on the job. Among the list of occupations closely linked to mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases are:
- Military veterans (especially the U.S. Navy)
- Construction workers
- Demolition or renovation crews
- Auto mechanics
- Shipyard workers
- Asbestos mine workers or millers
- Boiler workers
- Asbestos manufacturing plant workers
People who remember handling asbestos or asbestos-like materials, or those who recall being exposed to thick clouds of asbestos-containing dust while on the job, are at a higher risk for developing mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer that affects the mesothelium – the thin, protective membrane that covers the lungs, heart and other internal body organs. The disease is most commonly caused by exposure to asbestos fibers.
Mesothelioma is a highly aggressive form of cancer that is usually resistant to standard cancer treatments. While there is no cure for mesothelioma, various clinical trials are studying the disease and several cases of remission have been reported. In addition, treatments are available that are effective at easing pain, suffering and symptoms, extend life expectancy and generally improve a patient’s quality of life.
Most mesothelioma patients may not even realize they have cancer until symptoms start to interfere with their daily lives. Symptoms generally don’t appear until at least 20 after someone was exposed to asbestos, and sometimes symptoms are hidden for as long as 50 years.