Tech4Cancer – Mesothelioma cancer is cancer of the mesothelium, which is the membrane that covers various organs in the body. It is categorized as dangerous cancer so whoever suffers from this type of cancer is highly suggested to go to the mesothelioma cancer alliance. Each state should have this service, so, contact them according to the state where you live. Mesothelioma cancer is dangerous since it is aggressive, though it rarely happens.
This cancer does not cause any symptoms until decades after the patient is exposed to the causes. In most cases, patients diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer are around 60 years old to 80 years old. Though it can be handled, most cases of mesothelioma cancer are at an advanced stage, making it difficult to treat. Therefore, it is extremely important to do regular check-up and prevention actions to prevent this dangerous cancer.
Types of Mesothelioma Cancer
There are 4 types of mesothelioma cancer, which are:
1. Pleural Mesothelioma
This cancer attacks the membrane of the lungs, and it is the most common type of mesothelioma cancer. The symptoms of pleural mesothelioma are exhaustion, fever and cold sweat, especially at night, shortness of breath due to fluid accumulation in the lungs, chest pain, and the presence of lumps in the chest area.
2. Peritoneal Mesothelioma
It happens in peritoneum, which is the membrane of the abdominal cavity. The symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma are loss of appetite, diarrhea, drastic weight loss, pain in the stomach, and welling in the abdominal area.
3. Pericardial Mesothelioma
This cancer attacks the membrane of the heart. Pericardial mesothelioma rarely happens, and the symptoms are chest pain and shortness of breath.
4. Testicular Mesothelioma
As the name implies, this type of mesothelioma cancer attacks the membrane of the testis. Just like pericardial mesothelioma, testicular mesothelioma also rarely happens.
Besides the types mentioned above, there is also solitary fibrous tumor, which is a benign mesothelioma in the lungs and chest cavity. All symptoms of the mesothelioma cancer type gradually develop. And they usually take around 20 years to 30 years until the symptoms appear. In the early stages, patients with mesothelioma cancer might not feel any symptoms. But along with time when the cancer cells spread to other organs, the symptoms will appear.
Causes of Mesothelioma Cancer
The exact causes of mesothelioma cancer are not figured out yet. But this cancer is often linked to asbestos exposure. Asbestos is a mineral frequently used as a building construction material, such as for roofs since it is resistant to fire and hot temperatures. So, how come this building construction material can trigger mesothelioma cancer? When asbestos is crushed, either in the mining process or building renovation, this will produce fine fibers or dust.
These fine dust and fibers are really easy to get inhaled, then gets into and accumulates in the lungs, triggering the growth of cancer cells. If asbestos fibers are swallowed, they can also spread through the lymphatic system, then accumulate and cause cancer in the membrane of the abdominal cavity or peritoneum.
Risk Factors of Mesothelioma Cancer
Anyone can suffer from mesothelioma cancer, but the risk is higher on people with these conditions:
- Working in fields prone to asbestos exposure, such as construction sites, mineral mines, textile industry, automotive industry, power generation, and steel manufacturers.
- Living in an old building or environment whose ground contains asbestos.
- Having family members working in the fields prone to asbestos exposure. The asbestos fibers will stick to the skin or clothes and be carried into the house.
- Having family members suffering from mesothelioma cancer or genetic disorders that increase the risk of the cancer.
- Exposed to the mineral erionite or radiation from thorium dioxide.
- Infected with simian virus.
When Should I Go See the Doctor?
The symptoms of mesothelioma cancer can be similar to the symptoms of other conditions. Therefore, it is better to go see the doctor or visit the mesothelioma cancer alliance as soon as possible when you experience symptoms mentioned above, especially if you have a history of asbestos exposure.
Diagnosis of Mesothelioma Cancer
In order to determine the diagnosis of mesothelioma cancer, doctors will ask you questions related to your history of health, especially the possibility of asbestos exposure. Doctors will also likely perform a physical examination to detect lumps or other symptoms. In order to make sure the diagnosis, doctors will perform screening, such as:
- X-ray photos to detect thickening of the membrane of the lungs, fluid in the pleural cavity, or changes in the lungs shape.
- CT scan to check the abdominal and chest area, as well as check if the cancer has spread to other body organs.
- PET scan to get a detailed picture of the tissue suspected of having cancer.
- MRI to get a detailed organ picture and determine the location of the mesothelioma cancer.
Stages of Mesothelioma Cancer
Based on the size and spreading level, mesothelioma cancer is divided into 4 stages. This stadium division helps doctors to find out the development of the cancer cells and patient life expectancy, as well as determine the right treatment. Here are the stages of mesothelioma cancer:
Tumor is still in one area of the body and has not spread to other tissues or organs yet. At this stage, the patient’s life expectancy is 21 months or more.
The cancer cells get bigger and start to spread to the closest areas of the body. Patients with mesothelioma cancer at this stage are expected to have 19 months or less.
The cancer cells have spread to surrounding areas and organs of the body. The patient’s life expectancy at this stage is around 16 months.
At this stage, the cancer cells have spread to various areas in the body through the blood flow. So that the patient’s life expectancy is very low, which is around a year.
Treatment for Mesothelioma Cancer
As it is said before, mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer, and there is no medication yet to cure this cancer. The treatment available is only for relieving the symptoms and prolonging the patient’s life expectancy. Doctors will determine the treatment method based on these following factors:
- The age and overall health condition of the patient.
- The type and location of mesothelioma cancer.
- The size and spreading level of the cancer.
Based on those considerations, doctors in the mesothelioma cancer alliance will recommend this treatment:
Chemotherapy is about giving medicines to kill or at least slow down the growth of the cancer cells. This therapy can be given before undergoing a surgery to shrink the cancer cells so that they are easy to remove. It can also be given after the surgery to reduce the risk of the cancer from relapsing.
Radiotherapy is radiation therapy performed by shooting X-rays or proton beams at body areas affected by cancer. This therapy is usually performed after the surgery to remove the remaining cancer cells. Doctors will also recommend this radiotherapy to relieve advanced symptoms on patients who cannot undergo a surgery due to some health conditions.
Multimodality therapy is a combination of 3 or more treatment methods. For example, surgery, radiation therapy, and post-operative chemotherapy to increase the success rate of the treatment. Visit the mesothelioma cancer alliance to find the best treatment.
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