Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a rare kind of cancer that affects the protective lining that covers most of the internal organs (the mesothelium) and any organs protected by the mesothelium. The cancer has become more common in recent times because of exposure to asbestos. The mesothelium is composed of two layers of cells that encapsulate and protect the internal organs. One layer directly surrounds the internal organs and the other forms a sac around the organs. The mesothelium produces a lubricating fluid that is released between these layers. The lubricant allows organs that have to move such as the heart and lungs to do so within the protective sac and perform their individual duties.

The asbestos fibers can irritate the mesothelial tissue and cause the cells to become cancerous. The cancer can then spread throughout the mesothelium and to the organs it surrounds. It is more common in the pleural lining of the lungs and chest cavity but it can cause cancerous reproduction of cells in other organs as well. According to the National Cancer Institute of the U.S. National Institute of Health (NIH), there are about 2,000 new personal injury cases of mesothelioma reported every year in the U.S.

The symptoms of mesothelioma may not be apparent for up to 50 years after exposure to asbestos and can include pain in the chest, trouble breathing, bowel obstruction, blood clotting abnormalities, anemia, weight loss, fluid in the lungs, trouble swallowing, and abdominal pain.

If you or someone you love has been exposed to asbestos, and may have been injured by it, consult with an asbestos lawyer in your area to discuss your options and find out if you have a case.

Treatment

The treatment for mesothelioma can be costly and lengthy and will depend on the location of the cancer and the stage of the disease. Chances for recovery depend greatly on the age and general health of the sufferer.

Some of the standard treatment options include:

  • Surgery – This is a common treatment for mesothelioma. The surgery involves removal of the part of the mesothelium lining of the chest or abdomen that is cancerous and some of the tissue around it including affected organ tissue. If the cancer is in the pleura, it is referred to as pleural mesothelioma. This may require a lung to be removed. This surgery is known as pneumonectomy. Part of the diaphragm may also need to be removed.
  • Radiation Therapy – This is commonly referred to as radiotherapy. It involves the use of high-energy ionizing radiation to kill the cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation therapy is isolated to treat only the affects the cancer cells. Radiation therapy can be used to treat cancer cells externally delivering the necessary radiation from a machine or internally delivering the radiation directly to the affected cells through thin plastic tubes.
  • Chemotherapy – This treatment involves the use of anticancer drugs to destroy the cancer cells within the body. Most drugs used in chemotherapy are administered intravenously directly into a vein of the sufferer.

Mesothelioma can even affect persons within the home of someone that has worked with asbestos and brought the fibers home on their clothing or on their body. Mesothelioma can de debilitating and disabling. The cost of treating mesothelioma can ruin any family and leave a victim unable to care for him/herself.

If you or a loved one suffers from the adverse affects of mesothelioma because of exposure to asbestos, you should contact a personal injury attorney that specializes in mesothelioma cases to make sure you and your family gets the compensation you deserve.

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