People can develop mesothelioma through their exposure to asbestos. This happens when asbestos fibers are inhaled. The fibers then ledge in the air passages of the lungs and chest wall. The asbestos can then damage the chest wall cells and result in mesothelioma cancer. This is known as pleural mesothelioma. When the fibers are breathed in and then coughed up and swallowed, mesothelioma of the abdomen can result, also known as peritoneal mesothelioma.
Many people diagnosed with mesothelioma were exposed to asbestos when they were very young. This could have occured when parents exposed to asbestos came home with the fibers on their clothes. The clothes may have retained asbestos fibers that could then be breathed in by others in the home, including children.
Other reasons children have been exposed to asbestos was the presence of the fiber in the homes or school. The Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act was passed in 1986, requiring school buildings to be inspected for asbestos. As late as 2007, some popular toys were found to contain asbestos, despite the efforts to severely limit its use.
People who have mesothelioma are often unaware of their disease for decades. It is usually not until they suffer symptoms from the advanced stages of the disease that they seek help. When people have pleural mesothelioma, some of the symptoms include:
Coughing up blood
Fuid in the chest
People who have been diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
High white blood cell Count
Mass on the abdomen
Pain in the abdomen
The symptoms for both kinds of mesothelioma can cause great pain for the sufferer. Victims often have no appetite and cannot sleep at night. While the symptoms that accompany mesothelioma cannot be eliminated, there exist options for the reduction of pain and discomfort.
People who have mesothelioma are urged to have regular checkups with their doctor. The initial diagnosis of mesothelioma often occurs from a chest X-ray, especially if the person is coughing and experiencing shortness of breath. The X-ray may show things like thickening of the pleura, changes in the structure of the lungs and calcium deposits.
If you believe you have been exposed to asbestos, it is crucial to be tested as soon as possible so that a diagnosis can be made and the proper treatment began. When the diagnosis is made early, this can limit the complications and discomfort the patient experiences. The three types of standard treatment used when a diagnosis of mesothelioma has been made are surgery which removes the cancer, radiation therapy which uses targeted high-dose x-rays to destroy cancer cells and chemotherapy which uses drugs to eliminate the spread of the cancer.