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Mesothelioma is a rare cancer that originates in the lining of the internal organs of the body. Approximately three-fourths of cases of mesothelioma begin in the mesothelium in the chest cavity, near the lungs (pleural mesothelioma). Mesothelioma that begins in the tissue surrounding the abdominal area (peritoneal mesothelioma) accounts for about 10% to 20% of cases. Mesothelioma does not originate in the lungs, and is often erroneously grouped with lung cancers. There are three main types of mesothelioma:
Epithelial type. The epithelial type accounts for 50% to 70% of people diagnosed with mesothelioma, and has the best prognosis (slower growth, more likely to respond to treatment).
Sarcoma type. The sarcoma type accounts for 7% to 20% of people diagnosed with mesothelioma, and has a worse prognosis.
Mixed type. The mixed type accounts for 20% to 35% of people diagnosed with mesothelioma, and contains both epithelial and sarcomatous types. This type of mesothelioma has an intermediate prognosis.
Asbestos is the main cause of mesothelioma. The term asbestos covers a wide spectrum of naturally occurring minerals. The minerals coalesce into tiny fibres which can be divided into two main subtypes: Serpentine – flexible and curly shaped or Amphibole – which are needle shaped. The serpentine shaped fibres are always made up of white (chrysolite) asbestos, but the needle shaped asbestos fibres can consist of blue (Crocodilite) or brown asbestos (Amosite, Tremolite; Anthophyllite; Actinolite). White asbestos accounts for most of the world’s asbestos production but blue asbestos has been particularly associated with cancers and mesothelioma and a voluntary ban on it’s manufacture was initiated in 1969, followed by a complete ban in 1986.
Mesothelioma can be very difficult to diagnose. This is because there are many different types of cells that can make up a mesothelioma tumour. Mesothelioma tumour cells are very similar to some types of lung cancer cells. Sometimes it can be very difficult for a pathologist to decide whether or not the cancerous cells are mesothelioma cells, lung cancer cells or even, sarcoma cells. To help with diagnosis, scientists are trying to find a tumour marker for mesothelioma. A tumour marker is a chemical given off by cancer cells that can be found in the blood and picked up in a blood test. If a definite tumour marker could be discovered for mesothelioma this would be of great benefit for doctors in making more accurate diagnosis of this disease and may also be helpful to monitor the success of treatment.
There are many treatments of mesothelioma, using both conventional and non-conventional methods. The following are some common conventional treatments:
Surgery may be an option for some patients. If the tumor is small and localized, and has not spread much, a surgeon might remove the lining of the lungs or abdomen to prevent it from spreading further. If the tumor has progressed, a surgeon might choose to remove the lining of the lungs or abdomen and other affected tissue, such as the lung or a portion of the diaphragm.
Radiation therapy uses high-energy x-rays to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation can come from external or internal sources. In external radiation therapy, a machine produces the radiation. In internal radiation therapy, radioisotopes are inserted into an area affected by cancer.
Chemotherapy is a form of treatment that uses drugs to kill cancer cells. These drugs are usually given intravenously or in pill form. For maximum effectiveness, chemotherapy can be applied directly to the site affected by cancer. The following treatments are still in their experimental stages, but have shown promise in helping people with mesothelioma to improve their prognoses. Angiogenesis inhibitor therapy prevents cancer cells from getting a supply of oxygen rich blood, which they need to survive. If cancer cells are deprived of oxygenated blood, they can shrink, causing a tumor to disappear. Cytokines are proteins that act as messengers between cells. One cytokine, interleukin-2 (L2) stimulates immune system cell growth. Immune system cells, or T-cells, can kill cancerous cells. Scientists speculate that if IL2 is injected in the pleura of the lung, it will be able to target and kill cancerous cells. Gene therapy uses a specially created virus to act as a delivery device for a gene that destroys cancer cells while leaving healthy cells alone. Gene therapy is usually used directly at the site of a tumor. Photodynamic therapy uses light to kill cancer cells.
Mesothelioma lawyers deal specifically with cases concerning people being exposed to asbestos in the work environment. Asbestos was used as a building material years ago because it was not flammable and did not conduct electricity. However, later studies have shown it can cause some forms of cancer. Mesothelioma, a form of cancer that affects the inner lining of the chest, is one of those forms of cancer. Because asbestos was a common building material and is still found, there has been a call for mesothelioma lawyers to look into cases of people who were exposed to asbestos and have been diagnosed with this form of cancer.Mesothelioma lawyers deal specifically with cases concerning people being exposed to asbestos in the work environment. Because asbestos was a common building material and is still found, there has been a call for mesothelioma lawyers to look into cases of people who were exposed to asbestos and have been diagnosed with this form of cancer.
Mesothelioma lawsuits require attorneys experienced in this special type of case. Mesothelioma attorneys are ready and available to assist you with your mesothelioma lawsuit claim. If you have ever been exposed to asbestos and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be eligible for a mesothelioma lawsuit claim. Although many Americans believe that asbestos has already been banned and its victims have been compensated by the courts, the EWG Action Fund study reports that 30 million pounds of asbestos are used in the U.S. each year, lists dozens of widely-used consumer products that still contain it, and says more than one million workers are exposed every year. Are you one of them?