A person who is exposed to asbestos inhales or ingests fiber that is not really visible to the naked eyes. Over time these fibers react with the body cells in a manner that they undergo mutation and cause malignant Mesothelioma. This exposure can be direct and also indirect, when family members and friends come in contact with the person who is exposed to asbestos.
Types of Mesothelioma
The first type of Mesothelioma is called Pleural Mesothelioma and this affects the inner lining of the lungs which is called the pleura. When the fibers of asbestos are inhaled they cause he formation of scars and damage the cells present in the inner lining. This leads to the onslaught of mesothelioma cancer. This is the most common type of Mesothelioma and the symptoms are breathlessness, pain the chest, retention of fluid in the lungs and blood traces in the sputum.
The next type of Mesothelioma is called Peritoneal Mesothelioma and it affects the inner lining of the stomach. This happens when the fibers of asbestos enter the body and interfere with the normal cells penetrating their thin lining. This is not very common, but the onslaught manifests in the form of symptoms that include pain in the abdomen, feeling of nausea, constipation, lumps of tissue in the abdomen etc.
The third type is the Pericardial Mesothelioma and this affects the lining around the heart. There are very few cases of this type of cancer diagnosed and the symptoms include chest pain, palpitations and mild cough.
Mesothelioma life expectancy
This is a very dangerous form of cancer and a person who is diagnosed does not live for more than two years. The danger is more from the fact that the symptoms only manifest decades after initial exposure to asbestos fiber. Though the main cause is exposure to asbestos, this is not the only cause. It takes about 30 to 40 years to surface after initial infection. But the main cause for worry is that by the time it gets diagnosed it is usually in the last stages. The Mesothelioma life expectancy is less than two years and this time period is very painful, mentally and physically. There are many doctors and surgeons who are constantly experimenting with treatments and prevention methods, feeling very positive that the Mesothelioma Life Expectancy can be increased to almost 5 years. If this is possible then it will be a great achievement in the world of medicine because as of today Mesothelioma is a ‘dreaded’ silent killer.
Benefits of early diagnosis
A person who has been exposed to asbestos at any point of time in life is always advised to get checked for Mesothelioma. Even if you are not directly exposed, even if a family member is exposed it is better to get yourself and your family checked for signs. Since it takes a long time for the symptoms to surface your current state of health is not a criterion. Even if you are completely fine now getting yourself checked does no harm. It is better to get checked before the symptoms show up because then it will be too late.