Malignant mesothelioma is a cancer of organ linings. Two types of mesothelioma are peritoneal mesothelioma and pleural mesothelioma. Peritoneal mesothelioma affects the lining of the abdominal cavity and pleural mesothelioma affects the lining of the chest wall and lining of the lungs. Pleural mesothelioma (or lung mesothelioma) is more common than peritoneal mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is an asbestos cancer. Exposure to asbestos often takes place at job sites. Many people who are diagnosed with mesothelioma worked with asbestos containing products such brake pads, roofing shingles and tiles. Workers at high risk of asbestos exposure include mechanics, electricians, plumbers and construction workers.
Mesothelioma symptoms and symptoms of other asbestos-related cancers often manifest decades after exposure to asbestos. Asbestos exposure usually occurs by inhalation of airborne asbestos fibers. Once asbestos fibers are inhaled, they become trapped in organs such as the lungs. These fibers can lead to the development of asbestos cancer decades later. Mesothelioma symptoms that a patient exhibits can vary depending on the type of mesothelioma involved. Common mesothelioma symptoms include shortness of breath, coughing of blood, abdominal swelling, night sweats, fever and unexplained weight loss.
Mesothelioma cancer has four stages of development. Accurate identification of the stage is important for the purpose of treatment. In the first stage of mesothelioma, the cancer is local to its point of origin in the body. In the second stage, the cancer has spread to regions of the body near the point of origin. In the third stage, mesothelioma has usually spread to more distant areas. In the fourth stage, the cancer can be found in the most remote areas of the body.
Presently, there is no cure for mesothelioma. However, there are mesothelioma treatment techniques that can be effective if applied during the early stages of mesothelioma. These treatment techniques include radiation therapy, photodynamic therapy, immunotherapy, gene therapy and surgery. Unfortunately, not all patients benefit from these treatment techniques. Patients whose cancer is at an advanced stage may not be eligible for one or more mesothelioma treatment approaches. However, there are many clinical trials underway for experimental drugs designed to treat mesothelioma. Mesothelioma patients should speak to their doctors about participating in these clinical trials.
People who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma should also consider contacting an experienced mesothelioma attorney. Asbestos exposure often occurs through the recklessness of companies in the asbestos industry. Many companies knew of the lethal dangers of asbestos but failed to disclose those dangers for the sake of protecting business interests. Further, many companies in the asbestos industry failed to provide protective equipment such as masks that could have prevented exposure to asbestos. As such, people suffering from mesothelioma may be entitled to file legal claims against companies responsible for their exposure to asbestos.