Thursday, April 06, 2006

Mesothelioma – The Facts

Mesothelioma is a cancer of the mesothelium, which is a disease by which the cells of the mesothelium start to become abnormal, and start to divide causing the possible invasion of organs and tissues nearby to the mesothelium. Mesothelioma normally starts in the pleura or peritoneum, and is a benign or malignant tumor that affects the chest or abdomen lining. Benign means non cancerous and malignant means cancerous. Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer and the more common type is called pleural Mesothelioma. This type forms a tumor on the pleura, which is the sac that lines the chest cavity protecting the human lungs. There are other forms that effect different areas such as the lining of the heart and abdomen.

Mesothelioma is commonly caused by the exposure of humans to asbestos. The effect of just a couple of weeks or even less can cause the risk of Mesothelioma. The effect is not instant and on average takes 35-45 years to develop a malignant tumor, and it is common for people working with asbestos as well as their families to contract Mesothelioma. Asbestos is a heat resistant fibrous mineral that was widely used in the industry as the main material in creating roofing, gasket compounds, floor tiles and patching compounds. It is very dangerous once inhaled and the size of the quantity does not matter as it is all dangerous. If inhaled, the asbestos fiber can pass through the air passages which in turn, can contact the linings of the lungs which may result in injuring the cells and result to pleural Mesothelioma. Often symptoms include restricted breathing difficulties, constant coughing causing chest and stomach pains. Treatment can comprise of chemotherapy, radiation or surgery to remove the tumor. Sadly once Mesothelioma diagnosis has been given to a patient, they often only live up to a maximum of a year, sometimes longer if they are very fortunate, and most of the time only a few months.

Common cases of Mesothelioma are found from workers such as Factory workers, miners, railroad laborers, gas mask makers, insulation workers and ship builders. People affected by Mesothelioma can file lawsuits against asbestos makers, manufacturers and employers as they have the duty to protect their workers from the negative effects of asbestos including Mesothelioma.