Pleural Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer. One of the primary mesothelioma causes is asbestos exposure. The cancer develops in the mesothelium, a protective membrane that lines three body cavities: the thoracic cavity (pleura), abdominal cavity (peritoneum) and the heart sac (pericardium). In the case of testicular mesothelioma, the cancer develops in the tunica vaginalis, the membrane surrounding the testicles.
Symptoms of mesothelioma vary from patient to patient, but generally consist of difficulty breathing, coughing and pain in the chest. These symptoms can alter a patient’s quality of life drastically as the simplest task can become quite challenging and tiresome. If a patient elects to undergo treatment, caregivers can expect a tough road to recovery and will be depended on for quite some time.
The cancer develops when asbestos fibers are inhaled or ingested into the body where they can become lodged in organs or cavities, causing inflammation or infection and cellular damage. Overtime, the cancerous cells begin to divide uncontrollably, causing the membranes in the affected location to thicken. Fluid then begins to build up in the spaces between membrane layers and tumors begin to form, causing impaired bodily function. Since a mesothelioma diagnosis often occurs once the cancer has progressed to later stages of development, mesothelioma prognosis is typically poor.
While a cure for mesothelioma does not currently exist, mesothelioma treatment options such as surgery, chemotherapy and radiation are available for patients to help combat the cancer. Extensive studies and mesothelioma clinical trials are in progress internationally and cancer specialists and doctors are constantly working towards the discovery of a cure.
A recent statistic shows that nearly 85% of all mesothelioma patients are seniors. This is due to the long latency period of mesothelioma cancer developing after a case of asbestos exposure. This latency period is usually between 20 to 50 years. Mesothelioma symptoms do not develop until this period. Symptoms often resemble illnesses such as influenza and pneumonia, and in the case of pericardial mesothelioma, symptoms can resemble other cardiac conditions. This can make diagnosis difficult though informing a doctor of prior asbestos exposure can alert them of the possibility of an asbestos-related disease.
The patient and family advocates at PleuralMesothelioma.com can assist mesothelioma patients in a variety of ways. They can help patients find the best doctors and treatment facilities in their area, provide access to local support groups, offer free literature and informational books on asbestos-related illnesses, and help veterans receive their VA benefits for asbestos-related health issues.