Mesothelioma or malignant mesothelioma is a cancer that affects the membrane lining of the lungs and abdominal region. Mesothelioma is the most serious condition related to asbestos and is brought on by direct exposure to and inhalation of asbestos fibres. It can take a number of years for it to become noticeable.
The site in the body where mesothelioma most commonly occurs is the pleura, which is the outer lining of the lungs and chest wall. Pleural mesothelioma constitutes roughly 75 per cent of all mesothelioma cases. However, other areas of the body can be at risk, such as:
- The pericardium
The sac surrounding the heart;
- The peritoneum
The inner lining of the abdomen; and
- The tunica vaginalis
The sac surrounding the testes.
Mesothelioma was once considered to be a rare form of cancer and although it is not incredibly common today, it does still have a high prevalence rate amongst those who have been exposed to asbestos and must be treated seriously.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
Much like asbestosis, the symptoms of mesothelioma can take 20 to 50 years to become noticeable.
Symptoms of mesothelioma in the pleura can include the following:
- Shortness of breath;
- Fluid between the lungs and chest wall, known as pleural effusion;
- Wheezing and/or a recurring cough; and
- Coughing up blood
When tumours develop in the abdomen, symptoms do not appear until the cancer has progressed significantly. Some of the more severe symptoms can include:
- Abdominal pain;
- Blood clots in the veins or arteries of the lungs; and
The symptoms of malignant mesothelioma often bear a great resemblance to the symptoms of several other respiratory conditions. This makes diagnosis difficult, requiring various biopsies and scans to be conducted.
A biopsy will help to determine which types of malignant cells are in the affected region. An MRI scan and CT scan can be performed to determine not only the location of the cancerous cells but also the extent of their development.
There is currently no available cure for mesothelioma and treatment will typically consist of surgery and chemotherapy. Even though mesothelioma is usually detected in the late stages, these treatment options consistently prove effective in improving the patient’s prognosis.
Radiation therapy is also utilised in combination with surgery and chemotherapy.
The best way to avoid this deadly disease is with prevention. Asbestos removal companies, such as Asbestos Removals Australia, can inspect and treat your home so you are safe. Contact them to request a free quote today.