Important Facts About Mesothelioma
Cancer is a disease that you’ll want to avoid at all costs. Unfortunately, this is not always possible. While cancer in general is frightening, it is widely agreed that Mesothelioma tends to be one of the most dangerous forms of this disease. Within this guide, you will learn more about this type of cancer and its impact on the body.
What Is Mesothelioma?
First and foremost, you should know that Mesothelioma is a unique type of cancer that impacts the lining around various organs in the body. The most prevalent type is called pleural mesothelioma and it affects the lining around the lungs and the walls of the chest. Other forms of this cancer can also affect the sac around the heart (pericardial) and the abdominal lining (peritoneal). This form of cancer is caused almost exclusively by exposure to asbestos. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that has been used in a wide variety of products especially building and automotive products.
Number Of Deaths
Mesothelioma is undeniably an aggressive disease that strikes approximately 2,000 people a year in the U.S. The prognosis, even with standard therapies, is not good and median survival for pleural mesothelioma (the one affecting the lining of the lungs) is a little more than one year.
Understanding The Symptoms
Most people who are concerned about mesothelioma symptoms are those who have worked with or near asbestos. There are different symptoms associated with mesothelioma. The symptoms of pleural mesothelioma, the one that affects the lining of the lungs includes:
- Dry Cough or Wheezing
- Pain in the Chest or Abdomen
- Pleural Effusions
- Shortness of Breath
Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma, the one that affects the lining around the abdomen includes:
- Abdominal Distention
- Feeling of Fullness
- Abdominal Swelling / Tenderness
- Abdominal Fluid
Treatment options vary and depend on many factors, including: the type of mesothelioma, the health of the patient, the stage of the cancer and even the cell type. There are three cell types: epithelioid, biphasic, and sarcomatoid. Epithelioid has the best prognosis. Typical treatments include surgery with or without a chemo rinse (as in the case of Hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC), systemic chemotherapy, and, rarely radiation therapy. Clinical trials may also be used by a small percentage of patients. For example, today, clinical trials for a new drug called Keytruda is gaining a lot of interest. In addition, some mesothelioma patients will use alternative modalities such as cannabis oil or intravenous vitamin C.
Using a multi-modality approach, some people have been able to outlive their life expectancy with Paul Kraus being one of the most notable. Paul is surviving strong 20 years after his diagnosis. In fact, he is the longest documented survivor of mesothelioma in the world.
Remember, regardless of which options you choose, always try to identify the best team of clinicians you can – those with the most experience and greatest success rate with this disease.