"Mesothelioma" is the term applied to describe a cancerous tumor that requires the mesothelial cells of an organ. Mesothelial cells are cells that form a protective lining over the lungs, heart and abdominal organs. The most normal sort of mesothelioma is pleural mesothelioma. The pleura is a thin membrane discovered amongst the lungs and the chest cavity. It delivers a lubricated surface so that the lungs do not rub and chafe against the chest walls.
What causes it?
Virtually all cases of mesothelioma are related to inhaling of asbestos fibers. There are about 3,000 cases per year (largely males over the age of 40) and there will be about 300,000 cases before 2030. Mesothelioma quite often spreads quickly by means of the mesothelial cells to the heart and abdominal organs. The life span is generally 24 months following diagnosis, but it depends on what stage the cancer is detected, the well being of the patient and other variables.
Though asbestos exposure causes mesothelioma, it has a latency period following exposure that could final 15 to 50 years. This indicates that an individual who worked in a factory with asbestos 40 years ago could be producing mesothelioma now. Any individual who knows they had been exposed to loose asbestos fibers will need to be tested regularly for mesothelioma.
The onset of mesothelioma is quite often quite slow. The very first symptom is a constant discomfort in the chest. This discomfort is later accompanies by difficulty breathing due to an accumulation of fluid in the chest. Other symptoms consist of coughing, fever and weight loss. Mesothelioma can be diagnosed by your medical doctor with a chest CT-scan.
Prognosis (the outcome)
Mesothelioma advances in four stages:
Stage I - the tumor is restricted to the area of the lining of the lung and quite often restricted to only 1 side of the chest.
Stage II - the tumor extends to other organs within the chest cavity, such as the heart or lymph nodes in the chest.
Stage III - the tumor expands to the other side of the chest or it spreads into the abdominal organs. The lymph nodes outside the chest are affected.
Stage IV -the cancer spreads to several parts of the body far outside the chest area (liver, brain, bone, and so on...).
Mesothelioma is an quite deadly illness. The average survival time is about 1 year from date of diagnosis. About 20% of patients who discover their cancer early and treat it aggressively will reach the 5-year mark.
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