Pericardial mesothelioma is a rare form of mesothelioma that accounts for roughly 5% of all mesothelioma cases. Pericardial mesothelioma is a cancer that grows on the lining of the heart. The lining of the heart is extremely important because it plays an important role in protecting the heart from damage and so pericardial mesothelioma is an extremely serious condition. Pericardial mesothelioma becomes a terminal illness if not treated aggressively in its early stages.
Like all other forms of mesothelioma, pericardial mesothelioma is caused by inhalation of asbestos dust and fibres. Once inhaled, asbestos fibres become lodged in the lungs. From the lungs, the fibres can either pass into the lymphatic system and then be transported to the lining of the lungs or they can gradually move across to the lining of the heart over a long period of time. Over a long period of time, asbestos fibres can accumulate on the lining of the heart and this is when pericardial mesothelioma becomes a likelihood. Due to the fact that asbestos is still present in many public buildings, the possibility of pericardial mesothelioma is a reality for everyone, although for most, very unlikely. Those with the highest chance of having mesothelioma are those who have been in constant contact with mesothelioma for a length of time as short as a few months. These are people like construction workers and asbestos manufacturers. Those who are in contact with people who are constantly exposed to asbestos are also at risk due to the fact that asbestos fibres can stick to clothes and hair and so can be carried around.
Presently, cases of mesothelioma are increasing including pericardial mesothelioma. Elderly men who are approaching 60 - 70 years of age are just starting to suffer from pericardial mesothelioma due to its long latency period (amount of time the symptoms take to show) of 30 - 50 years. They are suffering because this was the generation who worked with asbestos and amongst asbestos when asbestos was an extremely popular building material in the 1950s - 1970s. These men are now lodging multi-million dollar lawsuits against the companies who exposed them to the dangers of asbestos.
Pericardial mesothelioma has a number of symptoms but these only start to take effect in the cancer's latest stages when it is almost fully matured and developed. These symptoms include persistent coughing, shortness of breath, chest pains and palpitations. Other symptoms typical of all types of mesothelioma include loss of appetite, nausea and weight loss. What often makes pericardial mesothelioma so difficult to treat is that its symptoms are typical of many other more common diseases such as pneumonia. To be treated effectively, pericardial mesothelioma needs to be treated aggressively in its early stages and so many patients' treatments are given too late because of a delay in diagnosis.
Treatments for pericardial mesothelioma are very limited and as yet, success rates for curing pericardial mesothelioma are very low. The chances of a patient's survival depend largely on how early the cancer is treated and how aggressively. Treatment methods include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, dual therapy and surgery. Chemotherapy uses drugs to try to kill off cancerous cells. Radiation therapy uses radiation to try to kill off cancerous cells although this is extremely difficult in the case of pericardial mesothelioma because too much radiation can badly damage the heart. Dual therapy is a combination of both chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Surgery comes in two different types, aggressive surgery and palliative procedures. Aggressive surgery is only used on the strongest of patients such as young and healthy men and consists of removing a large portion of the cancer and attempts to gain control over the cancer. Palliative procedures are a more passive way of dealing with pericardial mesothelioma and just attempts to relieve the patient of the symptoms.
Research is being done into pericardial mesothelioma in research stations all over the USA and many pharmaceutical companies are also attempting to find new drugs for chemotherapy. So far, much research has been unsuccessful.
Cancer Mesothelioma It Is A Born Killer
What is mesothelioma?
The pericardium is the mesothelial tissue that surrounds and acts as a safeguard to the heart. The pleural mesothelium membrane covers the lungs and chest cavity and peritoneum is the mesothelial tissue that enfolds the organs in the abdominal cavity.
What is actually cancer mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects the mesothelium, a dual layered membrane with which our chest, lungs, abdomen and the heart is wrapped safely.
Cancer Mesothelioma can damage any of these cells, although pleural mesothelioma is more common; it metastasizes and at an advanced stage the disease reach to the other parts of the body like the lymph nodes, lungs, chest wall, or abdominal organs.
How is cancer mesothelioma caused?
Though asbestos exposure is the primary reason in 70% to 80% of the cases, mesothelioma can be caused by other means, like exposure to the chemical zeolite that is also present in asbestos.
Asbestos has become part of our daily life being in cement, brake linings, roof shingles, flooring products, textiles, and insulation. The asbestos fibers take their toll by going into our windpipe and settling in the internal organs causing the formation of carcinogenic tumors.
The overall scenario regarding cancer mesothelioma
Though there is a ban on certain asbestos products, around 1000 people in France and above 2000 people in the U.S are faced with this nightmare each year.
Mostly, workers from shipyards, asbestos mines and mills are prone to this mishap, due to a constant exposure to asbestos. However, it takes 30 to 50 years for the disease to surface and show symptoms though they are not always accurate.
Cancer mesothelioma is proving more than a menace and the average person live for 12-24 months; the earlier it is detected, the better is the cure process.
The recent picture
Today, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have put restrictions towards maintaining acceptable levels of asbestos exposure in the workplace. People who work with asbestos are geared up with individual protective equipment to lower their risk of exposure. Even the family members of the workers are prone to the disease, so they are advised to take a shower before leaving for home.
Symptoms of cancer mesothelioma
-Feeling out of breath and pain in the chest due to an accretion of fluid in the pleura
-Peritoneal mesothelioma comprises weight loss and abdominal pain and a bulging abdomen due to accumulation of fluid
-Bowel obstruction, blood clotting abnormalities, anemia, and fever
-Pain, trouble swallowing, or swelling of the neck or face
However, a registered medical practitioner can diagnose you correctly.
Diagnosis of cancer mesothelioma
Diagnosis commences with an assessment of the patient's medical history, as well as any history of asbestos exposure. A complete physical examination may be performed, including:
-X-rays of the chest or abdomen
-A CT (or CAT) scan or an MRI may also be useful. A CT scan is a sequence of comprehensive pictures of areas inside the body created by a computer linked to an X-ray machine
-In an MRI, a strong magnet connected to a computer is used to draw meticulous pictures of areas affected by cancer mesothelioma inside the body. These pictures are viewed on a monitor and can also be printed
-A biopsy regarding the taking out of a sample tissue for examination is needed to verify a diagnosis of mesothelioma. Types of biopsy depending on the location of the tumor are thoracoscopy, peritoneoscopy
Lastly, the stage of the disease is important to the doctor for the correct diagnosis.
Cancer mesothelioma treatment
Treatment of cancer mesothelioma yields results depending on the site of the cancer, the phase of the disease, and the patient's physical condition. The usual treatments for cancer mesothelioma are surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Occasionally, these treatments are combined.
Surgery is an effective way to remove tumor but the age of the person matters. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy are good ways to ward off the symptoms.
Often, high-end drugs are given to the patient to reduce the fluid formation in body.
Thus, it is better for the workers to get a medical check up at equal intervals and be aware of its symptoms. If a patient is diagnosed with cancer mesothelioma at the earliest stage, the treatments might do wonders for him.
Mesothelioma Lawsuits are not unique: As long as there have been environmental factors with impact on our health as well as a legislative system, people have filed lawsuits if the impact has been of a negative kind. Mesothelioma is a cancer primarily focused on the cells surrounding the lungs. This cancer has been associated exclusively with the exposure to asbestos which was commonly used in industrial and residential uses up until the late 1970's. Thus, the victims of this severe disease have partly been workers of the construction and building industries or any industries where asbestos have been involved, but also ordinary residents of buildings containing this harmful material. Many people who were exposed to this material have suffered the devastating consequences and have joined together to file meseothelioma related lawsuits against former employers and manufacturers of asbestos.
If you believe you are suffering from this deadly disease you should carefully review the options available to you before deciding to join a joint lawsuit or class-action case. In many cases these types of lawsuits take years to settle and the victims will actually receive very little of the money, if any, awarded. Most of the money goes towards lawyer fees and court costs.
When you decide to pursue legal action it is best to start with a local attorney or family attorney if one is available. Ask them for referrals to other attorneys that handle these types of cases. They will most often know reputable lawyers who are out to help the victims instead of make profit off of other's suffering. Remember, lawsuits of this nature may take several years to be resolved. If you are suffering serious medical problems currently it is strongly recommended that you focus your energy on fighting this awful cancer and worrying about lawsuits after you have regained some of your strength.
An Insight Into Mesothelioma Cure
The doctors and researchers are looking for answers related to Mesothelioma cure but have not found any. Before we discuss about mesothelioma cure, it is necessary to know about what is mesothelioma and what are its possible causes. Mesothelioma is a rare cancer of the lining of the lungs and abdomen. High Asbestos exposure is the only known cause of mesothelioma cancers. Asbestos is a natural fibrous mineral that was widely used in the construction process, building material and many manufacturing units. Asbestos breaks into minute particles that float into the air, can be easily inhaled and settle on the clothes of workmen, leaving them and their family members prone to many health hazards.
Understanding Its Symptoms - A Step towards Mesothelioma Cure:
An understanding of mesothelioma symptoms can help in the process of mesothelioma cure. Some common symptoms of mesothelioma are difficulty in breathing, chest pain, and chronic cough. However, many times this disease lies in asymptomatic in the body, which makes mesothelioma cure an impossible task. Once detected, the chances of survival of an average mesothelioma patient are very bleak.
The options for Mesothelioma cure depend upon the different stages of the disease. In the first stage the treatments options depends on factors such as patient's age, general health, organ affected and the size of tumor. Surgery is used for mesothelioma treatment and cure in the first stage. The doctors remove the tumor and the nearby tissues with a surgical process. However, the doctors use a combination of surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy if the tumor has witnessed enormous growth.
Fluid collection in the chest and abdomen takes place in the advance stages of mesothelioma. Mesothelioma cure in these stages involves draining of the fluid to reduce discomfort. This process of treatment is known as Thorancentesis or Paracentesis. After this, the doctors use Surgery followed by radiation and chemotherapy. Treatment and efforts for mesothelioma cure can suffer a severe jolt if the disease strikes back. In that case, the treatment depends on the location of recurrence, and the patient's medical history.
What If the Efforts For Mesothelioma Cure Fail?
As we have discussed the survival chances of mesothelioma patients are bleak and the possibility of mesothelioma cure are rare. In that case it is necessary to make the patients aware that they are legally entitled to claim compensation for the medical expenses, loss of income, lost earning capacity, pain and the mental trauma they are undergoing. Though the award of compensation cannot bring about mesothelioma cure or compensate for the loss of life, yet it can provide some relief to the mesothelioma victims and their family members.
Tragically the word mesothelioma is becoming more and more well known, the mere mention of it striking fear into all of us for we know that it is associated with death. Asbestos is the reaper, mesothelioma its hand maiden.
Asbestos, the wonder product of the fifties is now recognized as an enemy of the twentieth century. A ruthless enemy which will kill more people than the war. Men, women and children will fall victim to its prey, innocents who have at some time in their lives inhaled asbestos dust.
Most of us have been in contact with products containing asbestos in our life times. We sat in asbestos class rooms, stood beside our fathers as they cut asbestos fencing, pulled up old linoleum with asbestos clogged to the back of it. Visited the local tip where broken sheets of it lay open to the wind.
Records show that there are a higher number of people afflicted with asbestosis and mesothelioma who have directly worked in asbestos mines, ship yards and companies making products from asbestos; however there are a large number of people afflicted, who have never worked in these industries. Their contact with asbestos, due to the dust brought home on their husband's clothes or from the asbestos tailings placed around mine houses and town perimeters. But the tragedy does not end there, children innocently playing in their own back yards played amongst the asbestos tailings as children elsewhere play in the sand. They had no way of knowing that their sand was asbestos blue. A good bath at the end of the day may have removed the dust from the skin but the dust in the lungs remained and would lay dormant for many years before claiming its deadly legacy.
Without warning, a healthy individual suddenly becomes short of breath, x-rays reveal fluid on the lungs and the night mare begins. Questions are asked and you answer, Yes, I was exposed to asbestos dust but I was only in the town for a few short months and that was over 40 years ago. How can this be? This is the most perplexing thing about mesothelioma. Why is there such a long period of time between inhalation of asbestos dust and onset of the disease? What triggers a strong healthy body to suddenly succumb to it? What can we do to prevent this from happening?
Blood tests are now available to determine whether mesothelioma is present in the body, before a person is aware of any symptoms. This is an amazing breakthrough and perhaps the first step towards curing the disease before it becomes terminal. Recently mesothelioma was cured in a mouse and attempts to give it back to the mouse were unsuccessful. This too is exciting stuff and holds a glimmer of hope for us all.
I have witnessed first hand the devastation of mesothelioma. My husband was a strong and virile man who rarely had a sick day in his life. Suddenly at the age of 52 he became short of breath and was subsequently diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma. He had lived in the asbestos mining town of Wittenoom in Western Australia for a few short months at the age of seven. The asbestos dust he inhaled then, took forty five years to become lethal. I still find this hard to believe.
Despite his prognosis of three to nine months, Brian survived for two years. He was 54 years old when he died.
Asbestos Cause Of Deadly Mesothelioma
A View of Mesothelioma
Asbestos is the commercial name given to certain types of fibrous materials. They are silicates of varying compositions; the silica combined with such bases as Magnesium, Iron, Calcium, sodium and Aluminum. Asbestos fibers are usually from 20 to 500 in length and 0.5 to 50 in diameter. Asbestos bodies appear as golden brown or beaded rods with a translucent center. The fibers are insoluble. The exposure of asbestos causes fibers to be inhaled and fine dust deposited in the alveoli inside the lungs consequently causing a type of cancer called Mesothelioma (a deadly tumor) involving Mesothelial tissues or usually cells of lungs or stomach and abdominal organs.
Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer of the Pleura (lung cancer) and Peritoneum (abdomen cancer). Mesothelioma has been shown to have a strong association with the crocidolite variety of asbestos. Pleural mesothelioma, the most common manifestation of asbestos exposure, is well-circumscribed plaques of dense collagen, often containing calcium. Peritoneum Mesothelioma may or may not contain asbestos bodies and rarely do they occur in persons who have no history or evidence of asbestos exposure.
Mesothelioma not only occurs in people who are exposed the asbestos, but also to them who had been living in vicinity to asbestos manufacturing process or those staying in asbestos contaminated buildings. In Great Britain, an association was reported between Mesothelioma and people living within 1 kilometer of an asbestos factory.
The risk of Mesothelioma is reported to be high in those cases where occupational exposure to asbestos is combined with cigarette smoking. Mesothelioma usually does not appear until after 5 to 10 years of exposure. Mesothelioma causes mechanical irritation and in the advanced cases, there may be symptoms of clubbing of fingers, and cardiac distress. The survival time of Mesothelioma patients is generally ranges from 12 months to 2 years of diagnosis and very few survive longer than 2 years.
The following measures can be useful in preventing occurrences of Mesothelioma:
Asbestos Settlement The Grim Reality
Reasons for Asbestos Settlement
In the recent years, there has been a drastic increase in the number of asbestos settlement cases, owing to the increasing number of people suffering from asbestos related diseases. Studies reveal that a majority of people developed several lung diseases like mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure. The owners of manufacturing industries that use asbestos now find themselves in legal battles because of the overuse of asbestos. The owners persistently used asbestos materials despite being aware of the ill effects of asbestos on the human body. Several people are suffering from mesothelioma cancers, asbestosis, cancer or some other kind of asbestos related lung and stomach disorders because of their negligent behavior. This negligence is the reason for growing cases of asbestos litigations and asbestos settlements.
Asbestos- A Silent Killer
Asbestos is a natural fibrous material that was widely used in shipyards, insulation, railroads, construction processes, building materials and many other manufacturing industries for more than a century. Exposure to airborne asbestos fibers is dangerous for human health and can cause some serious damage to the lungs. It results in diseases like mesothelioma cancers, asbestosis and other dangerous diseases. Most of the diseases caused by asbestos show their symptoms in very late stages making it very difficult to treat.
Mesothelioma- An offspring of Asbestos
Mesothelioma is a type of lung cancer that is caused by asbestos. It is very difficult to diagnose mesothelioma in early stages and by the time the disease has been diagnosed, it becomes nearly impossible to treat and cure. Mesothelioma cancers can also damage the abdomen, the reproductive organs and even the heart. Almost 70 to 80 people diagnosed with mesothelioma have a history of exposure to asbestos. The asbestos workers and even their families are vulnerable to mesothelioma cancers. Asbestos litigation and asbestos settlement are necessary for mesothelioma victims because the treatment of mesothelioma involves huge expenses.
Asbestos Litigation vs. Asbestos Settlement
To select between asbestos settlement and asbestos litigation is a difficult task. Both the methods have their own pros and cons. The attorneys favoring settlement place an argument that settlement is a faster process and helps in getting compensation without a troublesome lawsuit. However, the ones favoring litigation say that the average amount of compensation in asbestos lawsuits is much higher than the average amounts paid in asbestos settlements. You can select the right mode for you in consultation with your asbestos attorney and the merits of your case.
Asbestos Home Testing Prevention Is Better Than Cure
Asbestos home testing is a process of testing the presence of asbestos in homes in general and building materials in particular. Asbestos is a mineral fiber resistant to heat, chemicals, and electricity. Building and insulation industries made widespread use of asbestos in their operations. Asbestos is commonly used in your homes in one form or the other. Some building materials that may contain asbestos materials are vinyl floor tiles; patching compounds textured paints, furnace and stovepipe, insulation, stove door gaskets, roofing shingles, cement, and siding material.
Asbestos was most commonly used until early 1970s in various home appliances, such as toasters, clothes dryers, and hair dryers. Now, government has laid norms for the use of asbestos and its exposure. Asbestos home testing is essential because exposure to and inhalation of Asbestos fibers is dangerous to health. Friable asbestos materials in homes, industries and appliances could lead to serious asbestos related diseases. Following people are more vulnerable to Asbestos-related diseases:
Works in industries and mines
Perform Ceiling insulation
Apart from these persons all other persons who live in houses having asbestos contaminated building material or are involved in use or repair of appliances and products that contain asbestos can also contact asbestos diseases. This makes asbestos home testing a necessary process for all homes that are built before 1980s and all the people who are using appliances and or products that could contain asbestos materials.
Health Hazards Of Asbestos
Undamaged Asbestos cannot cause any health hazards. When asbestos is exposed to hitting, rubbing, or extreme vibration, its wear and tear occurs and shows signs of abrasion. Asbestos is only harmful, when damaged, and its fiber gets mixed with air. You can determine the status and stability of asbestos products by asbestos home testing. Asbestos home testing is compulsory because asbestos exposure could lead to fatal diseases such as asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma cancers. Asbestos may harm you only if you inhale asbestos fiber. There are no safe levels of asbestos exposure and even short-term exposure to asbestos creates a possibility of your catching any disease caused by asbestos.
Removing Asbestos From Home
It is not possible to perform asbestos testing in home. You need qualified professional to test the presence of asbestos in your home. Asbestos abatement is the process of determining the status of asbestos material and taking corrective measures for preventing risk of asbestos exposure. It is not necessary that you have to remove all the asbestos material from your home. You can also opt for economic measures such as enclosures and encapsulation for preventing the risk of asbestos exposure even without removing the Asbestos Containing Materials.
What Is Mesothelioma Sarcoma?
Between the two forms of tumors of the mesothelioma, which are either benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous), the latter is more common and dangerous, popularly known as mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is characterized by its dangerous potential to spread to other parts of the body.
Types of Mesothelioma
There are three different types of Mesothelioma:
1) Ephitheliod: It affects the membranous tissue covering the internal organs and surfaces of the body. Though majority of the mesothelioma cases occurring today belong to this type, it has the best prognosis (outlook for survival or treatment).
2) Sarcomatoid: It is also known as mesothelioma sarcoma. It arises from supportive tissues such as bones, muscles, cartilages and fats. About 7% to 20% of mesothelioma cases are of this type.
3) Mixed/Biphasic: 20% to 35% of mesothelioma cases belong to this type. It carries both the features of the above two types.
The treatment options remain the same for all the types.
Physical Aspects of Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma arising from the chest cavity are known as pleural mesothelioma and amounts to an approximate three fourths of the total cases. Peritoneal mesothelioma, which starts and spreads in the abdomen, constitutes 10% to 20% mesothelioma cases. Mesothelioma affecting the covering of the testicles, which is in fact an out- pouching of peritoneum into the scrotum, is rather uncommon. Cases of Pericardial Mesothelioma that starts in the cavities of the heart are also very rare.
Mesothelioma and the Masses
New cases of mesothelioma, even though they are less common, amount from 2000 to 3000 every year only in the United States. Most of the patients diagnosed with mesothelioma are from the age group of 50 years and above with majority being the people in the seventies.
This is primarily due to their exposure to asbestos in the 1940s and 1950s or even earlier. Exposure victims of later year's i.e.1970s and 1980s are yet to be diagnosed. Men are more susceptible than females with male victims constituting 3 to 5 times higher in numbers than females. This is probably because during that period women liberation movements were started, which resulted into barring them from construction works. On the racial parameters, it is more common among the Caucasians than African Americans.
Even though mesothelioma sarcoma cases are rare, they are extremely dangerous. People diagnosed with the disease are mostly in their last and critical stages, making their treatment more difficult in comparison to other forms of cancer. The survival time ranges from one to two years. With unparallel advancements in modern science and medical technology, chances of mesothelioma treatment and recovery have always been increasing.
The good news is that the patients suffering from mesothelioma sarcoma can file lawsuits for seeking compensation against the companies responsible for asbestos exposure.
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