Mesothelioma FAQ’s

Mesothelioma FAQ’s


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Exposure to Asbestos
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What is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is an unusual type of cancer. It is caused by cancerous cells in the mesothelium membrane, which guards inner organs in the body. People who develop this form of cancer have more than likely been exposed to asbestos particles.

What is the Mesothelium?

The mesothelium is a covering that protects internal organs. It consists of two cell layers that surround organs and form a protective sac around them as well. The mesothelium forms a lubricating liquid around the layers which is used to protect the organs from contact with neighboring structures.

What are signs and symptoms of Mesothelioma?

Symptoms may not appear until 30-50 years later after initial exposure to asbestos. However, symptoms may include shortness of breath, chest pain, abdominal pain, fluid buildup/swelling of abdomen, bowel obstruction, blood clotting, anemia, fever, and weight loss.

Are Mesothelioma cases common?

Mesothelioma is considered very rare, however, 2000 new cases are found each year in the U.S. Mesothelioma can be detected in both men and women at any age. However, development in men is more common, as well as with increased age.

What are the risk factors of Mesothelioma?

The number one risk factor of mesothelioma is working with asbestos. It is the conclusion behind 70 to 80 percent of mesothelioma cases. Asbestos occurs naturally as minerals with tough fibers that can be divided into thin threads and woven. Asbestos is mainly found in industrial products, and its particles can be inhaled, which can cause mesothelioma.

Who’s at increased risk of Mesothelioma?

Shipyard workers, miners, and people working in mills and the construction industry all have a greater risk of developing mesothelioma. Smoking does not seem to increase the risk of development, but can increase chances of developing cancer of the lungs in combination with asbestos exposure. The U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration set guidelines for tolerable levels of contact with asbestos in the place of work, along with mandatory use of protective gear and equipment.

How is Mesothelioma treated?

Surgery is the most common treatment for mesothelioma, which requires removing part of the chest or abdomen lining along with some tissue. Other treatments include radiation and chemotherapy. Because mesothelioma is hard to control, new treatments are currently being studied.

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