Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer that affects the lining of the lungs. It also can affect the heart and abdomen. Usually after diagnosis, a patient will only live up to one year or less. According to several studies, there are about 2,000-3,000 cases of Mesothelioma each year. The International Labor Organization has estimated about 100,000 to 140,000 workers from around the world die of Mesothelioma each year. There has been a future prediction that this type of cancer will cause 5-10 million deaths from now into the future.
This type of rare cancer is from being exposed to asbestos-usually found in older buildings or structures. An individual unknowingly inhales the fibers that then become lodged into human tissue which cause an infection. Asbestos was widely used during the 20th century, but then the hazards of this material began to become public within the 1970’s.
It is hard to detect Mesothelioma in its early stage because there are hardly any noticeable symptoms-which is why most of the time it isn’t detected until it is too late. If a person believes that he or she has been exposed to asbestos, then it is important that he undergo a chest X-ray or pulmonary function tests to check for signs of asbestos inhalation.
Noticeable symptoms of Mesothelioma include
• A persistent or raspy cough,
• Coughing up blood
• Difficulty when swallowing
• Night sweats,
• Unexplained weight loss
• A frequent pain in the chest or rib area
• Shortness of breath
• Lumps under the skin on the chest
There are a few ways to treat Mesothelioma once it has been diagnosed. Doctors must first find out which stage before considering which treatment to use. Some of the forms of treatments include chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. Each case is unique and will depend on the situation and stage of the cancer. As Mesothelioma is being researched, and more cases are coming to surface, there are some patients who are surpassing their one year life expectancy. With more research, new cases and treatments, perhaps more of those diagnosed can hope for the better and have a chance to survive this rare, yet rising Cancer.