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Mesothelioma: warning signs and treatment

Three types of vascular diseases are associated with exposure to asbestos fibers: asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer. Of the three, mesothelioma is the one most likely to be fatal. In this post, we will examine the warning signs for mesothelioma and summarize types of treatment.

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that occurs in the mesothelium, the thin tissue that covers most of a person's internal organs. The tissue that covers the lungs is called the pleura, and the tissue that covers other abdominal organs is the peritoneum. Pleural mesothelioma is more common than peritoneal mesothelioma. Symptoms of pleural mesothelioma include chest pain, painful coughing, shortness of breath, unusual lumps under the skin and unexplained weight loss. Exposure to airborne asbestos fibers has been identified as the primary risk factor for pleural mesothelioma. These fibers are released into the air during mining or manufacturing operations or when asbestos-containing products are cut, machined or broken up. The disease may take anywhere from 20 to 40 years to develop active symptoms.

Mesothelioma is a very aggressive cancer that can only rarely be cured. Surgery can be used to remove the cancer but, in most cases, some cancer cells will remain the body. Surgery can also relieve some symptoms, such as the accumulation of fluid in the chest. Chemotherapy and radiation are also used to provide symptomatic relief, but these treatments rarely achieve permanent remission. New treatments are being developed, but a cure appears to be difficult to find.

Anyone who suffers from mesothelioma, or who has lost a loved one to the disease, may wish to consult a lawyer who handles product liability cases involving asbestos exposure. An experienced attorney can provide a helpful evaluation of the case and an estimate of the likelihood of recovering damages for medical expenses, lost income and pain and suffering.

Source: Mayo Clinic, "Mesothelioma," accessed on Jan. 16, 2017

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