Malignant mesothelioma is the formation of a tumor in the lining of the lung and within the chest cavity. The tumor can also be formed within the peritoneum, or lining of the abdomen.
Malignant mesothelioma has, for decades, been associated with the prolonged exposure to asbestos. Before the correlation between asbestos and mesothelioma, many industries would use the material in their products, namely for insulation.
Asbestos was also used in the fabrication of roofing vinyls, cement, and in certain types of automotive brakes. Therefore, many workers or laborers in such industries that were exposed to asbestos developed mesothelioma over the years.
1. Mesothelioma, unfortunately, does not develop in immediate circumstances. For many with the disease, symptoms often times do not appear until decades later, anywhere from 20 to 50 years after the initial exposure to asbestos. This fact will make the detection of mesothelioma more difficult, particularly because some of the symptoms themselves will not prove to be exorbitant.
2. Mesothelioma will most commonly cause chest and abdominal pains, cough, fatigue, and shortness of breath. Such symptoms can simply be related to other types of health conditions, and thus, it is not uncommon for mesothelioma to be overlooked as a main cause.
3. Mesothelioma will usually be detected through the use of a chest x-ray or through a biopsy. The tumor associated with mesothelioma may often times be apparent through an x-ray, though it is not uncommon for a biopsy to be necessary to formally determine the presence of mesothelioma.
4. Unfortunately, there is no cure for mesothelioma and proves to be among the toughest and more difficult forms of cancer to treat. For patients that do not receive adequate treatment, life expectancy is no longer than 9 months. Due to the fact that mesothelioma is often times detected in the later stages of progression, it will prove to be hard to treat.
5. Surgery is an option for some, though the surgical procedure itself will prove not to be effective. Surgery will usually be combined with radiation and/or chemotherapy to treat the tumor. However, treatment for mesothelioma is usually focused or concentrated on controlling and decreasing the involved symptoms.
6. To this day, medical research has not proven to found a substantial or qualitative form of treatment to effect combat and cure the disease. All existing treatments will concentrate of eliminating the tumor, though the overall result will prove to only decrease the presented symptoms.
7. Furthermore, the options for treatment will also depend on the patient. Factors such as the progression or stage of the tumor and the age of the patient will dictate whether or not surgery is a viable option.
8. Regardless of the presentable options for treatment, malignant mesothelioma is considered to be a fatal disease. Most patients, upon being properly diagnosed, will usually be given a life expectancy ranging from 4 to 18 months, depending on the stage or development of the mesothelioma tumor.