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Mesothelioma (Asbestos Cancer) Causes, Types, Stages, Treatments and Legal Help

Definition: Mesothelioma is a rare, incurable cancer caused by asbestos exposure which develops in the mesothelial tissue that makes up the lining which surrounds and protects most of our internal organs.

Causes: Development of mesothelioma is caused only by exposure to asbestos.

Common Symptoms: Mesothelioma symptoms manifest depending on the type and stage of mesothelioma cancer. Common symptoms for all types of mesothelioma include fatigue, fluid accumulation, coughing, breathing difficulties, muscle weakness, pleural effusion, fever or sweating and pain.

Diagnosis: Mesothelioma is generally diagnosed via imaging scans and biopsies.

Types of Mesothelioma: There are three main types of Mesothelioma, depending on where its located in the body. These types are pleural, peritoneal and pericardial. A very rare, accounting for less than 1% of all mesothelioma cases it is Testicular Mesothelioma (tunica vaginalis testis).

Stages of Mesothelioma: Mesothelioma cancer has staging systems in place, which track the progress of the disease.

Treatments: Multiple treatments that increase longevity are available for mesothelioma patients: surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, clinical trials and other experimental treatments.

Prognosis: Mesothelioma prognosis is very poor. Without treatment, patients generally experience a shortened life expectancy. Mesothelioma life expectancy often ranges from about 6 to 21 months. However, there are many factors that contribute to life expectancy and each patient is unique. Through treatment and healthy habits some patients can outlive their prognosis significantly. The patient's overall health and age are also significant factors in the prognosis.

Cell Types: Mesothelioma has three cell types: Epithelioid, Sarcomatoid, and Biphasic. Each cell type affects prognosis differently.

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QUESTION 1: Who Is The Person Injured By Asbestos?

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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can a One Time Exposure to Asbestos Be Harmful?
  2. Can A Single Exposure To Asbestos Be Harmful?
  3. Can I File a Claim If I Have Been Exposed to Asbestos?
  4. Can I Sue For Asbestos Exposure?
  5. Can Mesothelioma Be Cured if Detected Early?
  6. Can Mesothelioma Be Cured?
  7. Can Mesothelioma Ever Be Cured?
  8. Can You Die from Asbestosis?
  9. Can You File a Lawsuit for Mesothelioma?
  10. Can You Survive Mesothelioma?
  11. Can You Survive Stage 4 Mesothelioma?
  12. Causes of Mesothelioma
  13. Causes of Pleural Mesothelioma
  14. Does Everyone Exposed To Asbestos Get Mesothelioma?
  15. Does Everyone Exposed to Asbestos Get Sick?
  16. Has Anyone Survived Mesothelioma?
  17. How Dangerous is Short-Term Exposure to Asbestos?
  18. How Do I Know If I Was Exposed to Asbestos?
  19. How Do Mesothelioma Patients Die?
  20. How Is Mesothelioma Detected?
  21. How is Pleural Mesothelioma Diagnosed?
  22. How Long Can You Live with Stage 4 Mesothelioma?
  23. How Long Do Asbestos Fibers Remain In The Air?
  24. How Long Do Mesothelioma Claims Take?
  25. How long do you live after being diagnosed with Mesothelioma?
  26. How Long Does a Person Live After Being Diagnosed with Mesothelioma?
  27. How Long Does It Take For Mesothelioma To Kill You?
  28. How Much Compensation Do Mesothelioma Victims Receive?
  29. Is it Possible to Develop Mesothelioma From One Exposure to Asbestos?
  30. Is Mesothelioma a Death Sentence?
  31. Is Mesothelioma a Painful Death?
  32. Is Mesothelioma Always Fatal?
  33. Is Mesothelioma Terminal?
  34. Is There a Statute of Limitations on a Mesothelioma Case?
  35. Malignant Mesothelioma Prognosis
  36. Mesothelioma Definition
  37. Mesothelioma Life Expectancy
  38. Mesothelioma Pleural Effusion
  39. Mesothelioma Symptoms Near Death
  40. Mesothelioma Symptoms
  41. Pleural Mesothelioma Life Expectancy
  42. Stage 1 Pleural Mesothelioma Life Expectancy
  43. Stage 4 Mesothelioma Cancer Life Expectancy Without Treatment
  44. Symptoms of Pleural Mesothelioma
  45. What are the Stages of Pleural Mesothelioma?
  46. What Are The Symptoms Of Advanced Mesothelioma?
  47. What Are the Symptoms or Warning Signs for Mesothelioma?
  48. What Are the Types of Radiology Used to Diagnose Mesothelioma?
  49. What Does a Diagnosis of Mesothelioma Mean?
  50. What Happens if You Get Asbestos in Your Lungs?
  51. What Happens to a Mesothelioma Lawsuit if a Person Dies Before the Case is Resolved?
  52. What is a Pleurectomy and Decortication (P/D)?
  53. What is Epithelioid Mesothelioma?
  54. What is Malignant Mesothelioma Electron Microscopy?
  55. What is Malignant Mesothelioma of the Pleura?
  56. What is Peritoneal Mesothelioma?
  57. What is Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma?
  58. What is Spindle Cell Mesothelioma?
  59. What is the Average Settlement for a Mesothelioma Case?
  60. What is the Best Treatment for Mesothelioma?
  61. What is the Deadliest Form of Cancer?
  62. What is the Difference Between Extrapleural Pneumonectomy and Pleurectomy Decortication?
  63. What is the Life Expectancy of Someone with Mesothelioma?
  64. What is the Parietal Pleura?
  65. What is the Prognosis for Cancer of the Lining of the Lung?
  66. What is the Survival Rate of Extrapleural Pneumonectomy?
  67. Which Type of Asbestos is the Most Dangerous?
  68. Why Is Mesothelioma Painful?
  69. Why is Mesothelioma So Deadly?
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Malignant Mesothelioma

Malignant mesothelioma is a form of cancer that develops in the layer of tissue that surrounds the majority of your internal organs, called the "mesothelium".

In most cases, symptoms may not appear for many years after being exposed to asbestos: this is called "the latency period". It can take approximately 12-50 years after exposure to asbestos for mesothelioma cancer to develop.

Causes of Mesothelioma

The only known cause of mesothelioma cancer is asbestos exposure. When inhaled or ingested, asbestos fibers can cause internal tissue inflammation and formation of scar tissue.

Furthermore, these fibers disrupt cell division by physically and biochemically interfering with the copying of genetic material in the nucleus of the cell.

Mesothelioma Common Symptoms

Mesothelioma Common Symptoms

Symptoms of mesothelioma take a very long time to manifest themselves. They usually appear when cancer is in a late stage when the symptoms worsen, and people seek medical help.

That is why it is important that people who suspect they might have been exposed to asbestos go to a doctor and get checked. Unfortunately, mesothelioma is very rarely diagnosed at an early stage, when more treatment options are available.

When mesothelioma is in an early stage, symptoms are mild, and can closely resemble symptoms of less severe diseases: dry coughing, body aches, mild pain, and shortness of breath. As mesothelioma progresses, these symptoms worsen, and other, more dangerous ones appear, including increased pain, fluid buildup, weight loss, and anemia.

Symptoms can also vary based on the type of mesothelioma a patient has:

Common Pleural Mesothelioma symptoms:

  • Shortness of Breath
  • Chest Pain
  • Body Aches
  • Fever or night sweats
  • Fluid Buildup (Pleural Effusion)
  • Dry or Painful Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle Weakness
  • Wheezing

Common Peritoneal Mesothelioma symptoms:

  • Abdominal pain or swelling
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea or Constipation
  • Changes in bowel habits
  • Unexpected Weight Loss
  • A Feeling of fullness
  • Fever or night sweats

Common Pericardial Mesothelioma symptoms:

  • Chest Pain
  • Difficulty Breathing even at rest
  • Heart Murmurs
  • Rapid or Irregular Heartbeat
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath when lying flat
  • Fatigue
  • Fever

Diagnosing Mesothelioma

Early diagnosis is very important in getting proper treatment that can slow the progression of the disease. One should consult a physician that has experience in accurately diagnosing mesothelioma.

How is Mesothelioma Diagnosed

Mesothelioma is typically diagnosed with a needle biopsy. That needle will either take a tissue sample from the suspicious area or extract fluid from the general area for analysis.

The summarized results of the biopsy, called a "pathology report", are notoriously confusing, so if your doctor has given you a copy, we would like to help you interpret the report.

Our firm has consulting physicians that can help you quickly understand your pathology report and what your treating doctors are trying to tell you.

Other diagnostic procedures that may indicate the presence of mesothelioma include X-ray scans, CT scans, or MRIs. Receiving treatment in the initial stages of the disease can present more options to the patient.

Types of Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is given different names based on where the cancer originated in the body. For instance, the peritoneum is the membrane surrounding the abdominal cavity; the lining surrounding the lungs is called the pleura, and the part of the layer that covers and protects the heart is known as the pericardium.

Pleural Mesothelioma

Pleural Mesothelioma

Pleural mesothelioma, also known as lung mesothelioma, is the most common type of malignant mesothelioma, accounting for approximately 75% of all cases in U.S. every year. The only way to confirm this asbestos disease is by a lung/pleural needle biopsy.

LEARN ABOUT PLEURAL MESOTHELIOMA >>

Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Peritoneal mesothelioma, also known as abdominal mesothelioma is considered extremely rare, and it accounts for approximately 15-20% of mesothelioma cases diagnosed each year. It affects the peritoneum, which surrounds the internal organs.

LEARN ABOUT PERITONEAL MESOTHELIOMA >>

Pericardial Mesothelioma

Pericardial Mesothelioma

Pericardial mesothelioma, also known as mesothelioma heart cancer is the least common of the three major mesothelioma cancer types and accounts for about 1-2% of all cases. Less than 50 people are diagnosed with pericardial mesothelioma each year.

LEARN ABOUT PERICARDIAL MESOTHELIOMA >>

Stages of Mesothelioma

When determining the extent of the disease, mesothelioma is generally classified by Stages 1, 2, 3 and 4. Pleural mesothelioma, the most common form of the disease, is the only one that has a formal staging classification. Peritoneal mesothelioma (abdominal cancer of the stomach), pericardial mesothelioma (cancer in the lining of the heart) and testicular mesothelioma (Cancer in the testes) have no formal staging systems.

Stage 1 - Mesothelioma has its tumor, or tumors in one location. Cancer has not yet started to spread to other organs, tissues or lymph nodes. In this stage, surgery may be an option for removing the tumor or tumors.

Stage 2 - Mesothelioma tumor or tumors have increased in size and possibly spread to nearby lymph nodes. Patients may still have the option of surgery in this stage of mesothelioma.

Stage 3 - Mesothelioma cancer has invaded the surrounding area where it initially developed. Curative surgery is no longer a good option. However, some experimental treatments may still be available.

Stage 4 - Mesothelioma has invaded other areas of the body. Other organs and tissues throughout the body are now affected. At this point, palliative treatments can reduce pain and help with symptom management.

Mesothelioma Treatments

Although there is no cure for mesothelioma, certain treatment options are available for patients that have been diagnosed with Mesothelioma. Treatment options consist mainly of:

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Experimental Treatments

Different variations of these treatments have been derived depending on the type of mesothelioma a patient has.

Even though curative treatment is nearly impossible to achieve, a combination of these three types of treatment options can prolong a patient's lifespan by years if successful.

Mesothelioma Prognosis

Mesothelioma Prognosis

Mesothelioma generally has a poor prognosis, given how dangerous the disease is. If you are facing mesothelioma, please remember that this is a rare disease and your experiences could be different than the statistics.

Mesothelioma life expectancy often ranges from about 6 to 21 months. However, there are many factors that contribute to life expectancy and each patient is unique. Through treatment and healthy habits some patients can outlive their prognosis significantly. The patient's overall health and age are also significant factors in the prognosis.

Medicine has advanced in the past ten years, and doctors are regularly suggesting aggressive chemotherapy, tumor debulking surgeries, and other treatments. A combination of multiple treatments has proven to extend patient's lives significantly.

The cells types also play an essential role in the life expectancy of a mesothelioma patient.

The three types of Mesothelioma cells include:

Epithelioid

Epithelioid Mesothelioma

Epithelioid mesothelioma is a type of cancer caused by epithelial cell mutations because of asbestos exposure. The epithelial cell type accounts for about 70 percent of mesothelioma cases. Epithelioid mesothelioma has a better prognosis than sarcomatoid Mesothelioma.

LEARN ABOUT EPITHELIOID MESOTHELIOMA >>

Sarcomatoid

Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma

Out of the three main histological cell types: biphasic, epithelioid, and, sarcomatoid, the latter is the least common of them, accounting for only around 20 percent of mesothelioma cases. The sarcomatoid cell type is linked to lower longevity.

LEARN ABOUT SARCOMATOID MESOTHELIOMA >>

Biphasic

Biphasic Mesothelioma

Biphasic mesothelioma is known to be the second most common type of mesothelioma. Biphasic mesothelioma contains a mixture of both epithelioid and sarcomatoid cells. In additional to age, overall health and treatment options, longevity also depends on the ratio of epithelioid and sarcomatoid cells.

LEARN ABOUT BIPHASIC MESOTHELIOMA >>

Diagnosed with Malignant Mesothelioma? Focus On Your Health!

In our experience, most of the malignant mesothelioma victims prefer to "get the legal stuff out of the way early" so that we can be working to protect all legal rights while you and your family are focusing on your health.

Mesothelioma treatment requires an immense financial effort. Our Experienced Mesothelioma Lawyers can get you the highest monetary compensation quickly (few short months) that can help with medical bills, copays, travel costs for treatment, and other unanticipated expenses.

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Article Sources

  1. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/malignant-mesothelioma.html
  2. https://www.cancer.gov/types/mesothelioma
  3. https://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/introduction
  4. http://www.pdiconnect.com/content/27/Supplement_2/S110.full
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