What is Malignant Mesothelioma?
You may have heard of malignant mesothelioma through television ads, but you may not be quite sure what this disease actually is. It’s a form of cancer that has only one known cause – exposure to asbestos fibers.
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that attacks the lining of the abdomen, lungs or heart. In some rare instances, it develops in the lining of the testes. When asbestos fibers are inhaled or ingested, over time they can lead to the development of malignant mesothelioma.
One of the most insidious characteristics of this disease is the fact that its symptoms will often mimic those of relatively minor respiratory ailments. Shortness of breath, fatigue and coughing can easily be attributed to the flu, making it very difficult to diagnose malignant mesothelioma. When you consider the fact that it can take 20, 30 or even 50 years or more for mesothelioma to develop, you can see why it is such a challenge to detect.
There are three main types of treatment for mesothelioma: chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. The kind of treatment a patient will undergo will depend on several factors, including his or her overall health, what form of the disease he or she has, and more. A combination of all three treatments is typically recommended if the cancer has not yet spread. If it has, then doctors will usually recommend treatment to help reduce pain and improve breathing.
While there is no cure for malignant mesothelioma, significant progress is being made on a regular basis regarding innovative treatments designed to help patients with the disease live longer and enjoy a better quality of life.