Mesothelioma is Still a Threat

Monday, April 19, 2010 |


Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer that typically affects the lining of the lungs, heart and abdomen. Approximately 2,000 to 3,000 cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed each year in the United States, comprising around 3 percent of all cancer diagnoses. This cancer occurs about four times more frequently in men than in women and all forms of mesothelioma, except for benign mesothelioma, are invariably fatal.

The life expectancy for mesothelioma patients is generally reported as less than one year following diagnosis, however a patient’s prognosis is affected by numerous factors including how early the cancer is diagnosed and how aggressively it is treated.

Who Is At Risk?

Asbestos was one of the most common industrial materials put to use in the twentieth century. It has also proven to be one of the most lethal, as inhaling asbestos fibers can lead to a wide range of pulmonary problems such as asthma and asbestosis - and can also be the direct cause of mesothelioma.

What is mesothelioma? It is a lethal cancer that attacks the membranes around the lungs, the heart and the abdominal cavity. Mesothelioma cancer of the lungs is by far the most common form. Perhaps its most unusual characteristic is that mesothelioma diagnosis usually occurs decades after the initial exposure to asbestos.

It takes years for the asbestos fibers to work their way into those membranes; after an extended presence they begin to cause fluid accumulation and tumor development. However the first mesothelioma symptoms are such afflictions as a persistent cough or shortness of breath - symptoms that are often mistaken for evidence of more common lung problems, which delays the mesothelioma diagnosis even further.


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