Mesothelioma is a cancer that is almost always caused by an earlier exposure to asbestos. The exposure usually happens in the work place's of certain industries where asbestos was commonly used. People that worked as construction workers, plumbers, those who worked in old homes and ship yards and even power stations, were more likely to breathe in the dangerous asbestos fibrous materials and now many are suffering from either asbestosis or mesothelioma.
Ninety percent of reported cases of mesothelioma were caused from work place injuries. In the United Kingdom alone 2,300 people a year are diagnosed with mesothelioma and in Great Britain about 3,500 people a year die from asbestos related lung cancer and mesothelioma as a result of their past exposure.
There are different types of mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is a cancerous disease that affects the Mesothelium, a thin membrane that covers the lung and the lining of the abdomen.
Although there are many different types of Mesothelioma, there are two more common types, and the most dangerous.
1) Pleural (if present in the abdomen)
2) Peritoneal (if present in the chest wall)
Pleural Mesothelioma is more common than Peritoneal Mesothelioma. Asbestos exposure is the primary cause of Mesothelioma. Asbestos fibers are invisible to the human eye, and because they are unseen (unless under a microscope) they are very easily ingested. Once swallowed or breathed in they stay in the human body. As time progresses and years pass the asbestos fibers start to change and start to damage the human body. Because of the amount of time it takes for the changes to begin, Mesothelioma goes unnoticed for years before symptoms arise.
Mesothelioma is often confused with Asbestosis. Pathology of Asbestos-Associated Diseases (2nd Edition) by Roggli, Vic . Asbestosis is another form of lung disease that is caused by the deadly asbestos fibers but is is not cancerous and can be treated effectively if caught at an early enough stage. The following book/dvds will discuss many of the changes taking place regarding Mesothelioma diagnosis and treatment, this is an updated version, so all information in it is current.
Malignant Mesothelioma: Advances in Pathogenesis, Diagnosis, and Treatments(A great resource for everyone to read)
Mesothelioma symptoms are very similar to pneumonia and so doctors need to be sure to ask patients with the following symptoms if they have been exposed to asbestos, if caught early enough the change of prolonged life and the rate of survival increase.
Some of the symptoms of mesothelioma are:
- Shortness of Breath, especially during exercise
- Chest Pain
- A feeling of tightness in the chest
Other symptoms may include clubbing of the fingers, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation and nail abnormalities.
Once the doctor has diagnosed the patient with Mesothelioma, he/she will start treatment which generally begins with oxygen therapy, and in most cases is followed up with surgery, radiation and chemotherapy to increase the life span of the patient.
The survival rate of those who have been diagnosed with Mesothelioma is improving but is still not very promising and varies greatly depending upon diagnoses, and the stage of the disease at the time of the diagnosis.
Asbestos Compensation Claim
Once a patient has been properly diagnosed and have started treatment he will need specialist care and support. The family should look for the services of a solicitor who specializes in these cases. The matter should be investigated and the responsible party should be held accountable. If needed an asbestos compensation claim should be filed so as to provide monetary help to the suffering family who have to struggle with pain, bills and loss of wages.
**Sabeen Nadeem writes about legal and financial matters. She is currently working for Peregrine Claims which offers personal injury compensation services in the US. and UK.**