Mesothelioma is a rare but aggressive cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, abdomen, or heart. Experts agree an early detection is still the best treatment. However many people let symptoms go untreated because they don’t know how to read the early warning signs. To see warning signs of Mesothelioma and treatment options start an online search.
Mesothelioma is a cancer that affects the mesothelium, a protective lining that surrounds the internal organs of the body. The disease can develop in different parts of the body, but it most commonly affects the lining of the lungs and the chest wall. It is caused by inhaling or ingesting asbestos fibers, which become trapped in the mesothelium and cause inflammation and scarring over time. This can lead to the development of cancerous cells in the mesothelium, which can spread to other parts of the body if left untreated. While it is still being observed closely by specialists with only around 3,000 new cases diagnosed each year in the US, it is a serious and often deadly disease.1
Causes of Mesothelioma
Asbestos exposure is the primary cause of mesothelioma.2 Asbestos was once widely used in a variety of industries, including construction, manufacturing, and shipbuilding. The mineral was prized for its heat-resistant properties and was used in insulation, roofing, flooring, and other building materials. However, when asbestos fibers are inhaled or ingested, they can become lodged in the mesothelium and cause inflammation and scarring. Over time, this can lead to the development of mesothelioma.
Who Is At Risk of Developing This Disease?
Individuals who have been exposed to asbestos are at the highest risk for developing mesothelioma. This includes people who have worked in industries where asbestos was commonly used, such as construction, shipbuilding, and manufacturing. Additionally, family members and others who have been exposed to asbestos through contact with these workers or their clothing may also be at risk. Other risk factors for mesothelioma include age, gender (men are more likely to develop mesothelioma than women), and a history of radiation therapy to the chest or abdomen.
Diagnosis and Treatment Options
Diagnosing mesothelioma can be challenging, as the symptoms can be similar to other respiratory conditions. Your doctor will likely perform a physical exam, take a medical history, and order imaging tests, such as X-rays or CT scans. A biopsy may also be performed to confirm the diagnosis.
Treatment options for mesothelioma depend on the location and stage of the cancer. Surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy are commonly used to treat mesothelioma.3 Your doctor will work with you to develop a treatment plan that is right for you.
Symptoms to Watch Out For
The symptoms of mesothelioma may not appear until many years after exposure to asbestos, which is the primary cause of the disease. The following are some common symptoms of mesothelioma:
- Chest pain: Chest pain is a common symptom of mesothelioma. It can be caused by fluid buildup in the chest or by the tumor pressing against the chest wall.
- Shortness of breath: Shortness of breath is another common symptom of mesothelioma. It can be caused by fluid buildup in the lungs or by the tumor itself.
- Cough: A persistent cough can also be a symptom of mesothelioma. It may be accompanied by coughing up blood.
- Fatigue: Fatigue and weakness are common symptoms of mesothelioma. They can be caused by the cancer itself or by the treatment.
- Weight loss: Unexplained weight loss is another common symptom of mesothelioma.
- Swelling: Swelling in the abdomen or legs can occur if the cancer spreads to other parts of the body.
If you experience any of these symptoms and have a history of asbestos exposure, it’s important to see a doctor right away.
What Can Help To Prevent Mesothelioma
The best way to prevent mesothelioma is to minimize exposure to asbestos, which is the primary cause of the disease. Here are some ways to reduce the risk of exposure:
- Identify potential sources of asbestos: If you live or work in an older building or in a profession where you may come into contact with asbestos, such as construction or shipbuilding, it is important to identify potential sources of asbestos exposure. You may need to hire a professional to test for the presence of asbestos.
- Use protective gear: If you work in an environment where you may be exposed to asbestos, it is important to wear protective gear, such as a respirator and disposable coveralls. Make sure that the gear is properly fitted and maintained.
- Follow safety guidelines: If you work in an industry where you may be exposed to asbestos, it is important to follow safety guidelines and regulations to reduce the risk of exposure. This may include regular safety training and education.
- Avoid smoking: Smoking can worsen the symptoms of mesothelioma and increase the risk of developing other lung diseases, so it is important to avoid smoking or quit smoking if you are a smoker.4
- Regular medical checkups: If you believe you have been exposed to asbestos, it is important to get regular medical checkups and screenings to detect any early signs of mesothelioma. Early detection can improve the chances of successful treatment.
Learn The Signs Today
Early detection of mesothelioma can improve the chances of successful treatment and a better quality of life. It is also important to be aware of the risks associated with asbestos exposure and take steps to prevent it. To see warning signs of Mesothelioma and treatment options start an online search.