Common Mesothelioma Terminology


Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that is fairly rare, but very serious. If you or a friend has been diagnosed with this form of cancer, knowledge is the key to dealing with the diagnosis, treatment and potential outcomes.

Mesothelioma is a malignant cancer found in the Mesothelium. The Mesothelium is often referred to as the lining found in the chest cavity and abdomen. A better description of it is that it acts as a sort of protective sack around the internal organs. It consists of two layers. One presses against the organs and the other acts as a sack of sorts. There is lubrication between these two layers, which allows the organs to move freely such as when the lungs inflate and deflate with air.

Mesothelioma occurs when cells in this layer start to mutate and grow uncontrollably. This cancer is particularly difficult to deal with because the Mesothelium is so pervasive through the chest cavity that the cancerous cells can spread far and wide. That being said, most forms of Mesothelioma begin in the lining around the lungs or abdomen. Once established, they can spread in any direction.

The biggest risk factor for Mesothelioma is working with asbestos. Of all the Mesothelioma cases diagnosed each year, approximately 70 to 80 percent have histories of extensive exposure to asbestos in the work place or other areas. Asbestos is prevalent in so many products that it is not clear whether the 30 to 20 percent of non-asbestos cases actually reflect no interaction with the fiber or just a lack of knowledge of interaction.

Mesothelioma can take a long time to develop with some cases showing a 40 year gestation period. That being said, it is a hard form of cancer to control once it does manifest. A top notch oncologist should be consulted, but general treatment options include radiation, surgery and chemotherapy. The National Cancer Institute is also running clinical trials on new treatment possibilities and participating in the same may be an option for certain people diagnosed with the cancer.

Mesothelioma is a very tough diagnosis because it often is only detected in the very late stages of the disease. That doesn't mean it has to be fatal. Now you understand what it is, take action and investigate the treatment options available.

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