What is Mesothelioma ?

Mesothelioma, malignant mesothelioma rather, is a rare form of cancer that develops from a protective layer that covers much of the internal organs of the body, the mesothelium. This is usually caused by exposure to asbestos.

Its most common site is the pleura (the outer layer of the lungs and internal chest wall), but also can occur in the peritoneum (abdominal cavity lining), the pericardium (the sac that surrounds the heart) or tunica vaginalis (the sac that surrounds the testes).

Most people who develop mesothelioma have worked on jobs where they inhaled asbestos particles and glass, or they have been exposed to asbestos dust and fibers in other ways. It has also been suggested that washing the clothes of family members who work with asbestos or glass can place someone at risk of developing mesothelioma. [3] Unlike lung cancer, no association between mesothelioma and smoking, but smoking greatly increases the risk of asbestos-induced cancers. Those who have been exposed to asbestos often take advantage of attorney to collect damages for asbestos-related diseases, including mesothelioma. Compensation via asbestos funds or lawsuits is an important issue in the legal practice of mesothelioma (see asbestos and the law).

Mesothelioma symptoms include shortness of breath due to pleural effusion (fluid between the lung and the chest wall) or chest wall pain, and general symptoms such as weight loss. Diagnosis can be suspected with chest X-ray and CT scan, and confirmed with a biopsy (tissue sample) and microscopic examination. A thoracoscopy (inserting a tube with a camera into the chest) can be used to take biopsies. This allows the introduction of substances such as talc to obliterate the pleural space (called pleurodesis), which prevents more fluid from collecting and pressing on the lung. Despite treatment with chemotherapy, radiation therapy or sometimes surgery, the disease is brought poor prognosis. Research about screening tests for early detection of mesothelioma is ongoing. (source)

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