Saturday, July 28, 2007

Mesothelioma: A Brief Overview


Mesothelioma is a cancer which affects the tissue which surrounds and protects various organs in the body. This tissue is called the Mesothelium, and Mesothelioma causes it to become abnormal, divide without control, and invade and damage nearby organs. The most common form is pleural mesothelioma which affects the sac that lines the chest cavity and protects the lungs (the pleura). Other forms are peritoneum mesothelioma (which affects the abdominal cavity) and pericardium mesothelioma (affecting the lining around the heart). The tumours can be either benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous) although they are most often malignant.


Mesothelioma is caused by the inhalation of asbestos, a fibrous carcinogenic. These fibres lodge themselves in the lining of the lung affecting the mesothelial cells. Sometimes they cause scarring of the lungs (which is called asbestosis) but this is not cancerous. They can, however, trigger tumour growth between 20 to 50 years after they are inhaled (the average is 35 to 40 years). Asbestos fibres which are swallowed can reach the lining of the abdominal cavity where they play a part in causing peritoneal mesothelioma.

It is generally the case that the longer or more intense the exposure to asbestos the more likely Mesothelioma is to occur. However, there are cases of people getting Mesothelioma years after having worked with it for just a few months. The families of asbestos workers are also at risk as they would possibly have been exposed to asbestos fibres on the clothing of their loved ones.

The dangers of asbestos are now well known, but this was not always the case. Before the 1970s asbestos was a primary insulating material with little or no control in its use or handling. The resulting increase in cases of Mesothelioma is a direct cause of these past practices.


Mesothelioma is often advanced before symptoms occur. This means that the prognosis is not usually very good, with the average survival time for all stages of Malignant Mesothelioma being about one year. Symptoms resemble pneumonia, which coughs, breathing difficulties and abdominal pain being common.


Mesothelioma can be treated by chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery, or a combination of the three.

Extra pleural pneumonectomy is where the entire lung and a portion of the lining of the chest, the diaphragm, and some or the entire sac which surrounds the heart is removed.

Wide local excision targets and removes the cancer and a limited amount of the healthy tissue surrounding the cancerous region.

Pleurectomy and decortication removes part of the covering of the lungs, as well as the lining of the chest and portions of the outside covering of the lungs.

Pleurodesis uses a blend of chemicals and/or drugs to create an intentional scar between the layers of the pleura. Post surgery, the space created by the scar must be drained, using either a catheter or chest tube, and is then filled with a chemical which inhibits the accumulation of fluid in the pleura cavity.

Radiation Therapy
Radiation Therapy uses high energy x-rays to kill cancer cells.

In External radiation therapy a machine emits radiation in a targeted stream at a certain portion of the body.

Internal radiation therapy uses needles, seeds and catheters to place radioactive substance directly on or near the cancer.

Chemotherapy uses cancer targeting drugs to stop the cells them from dividing and thus prevent their growth.

Author: Thomas Berten
Article Source:

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Mesothelioma: 5 Top Tips to Help Cope Easier by: George Spence

What is mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma (cancer of the mesothelium) is a disease in which cells of the mesothelium become abnormal and divide without control or order. They can invade and damage nearby tissues and organs. Cancer cells can also metastasize (spread) from their original site to other parts of the body. Most cases of mesothelioma begin in the pleura or peritoneum.

Living with a diagnosis of Mesothelioma can be very emotionally difficult to deal with. Understandably, you may be feeling upset and confused as it is not uncommon for Mesothelioma to be diagnosed at an advanced stage.

Here are five tips to help you or anyone else cope with Mesothelioma:

1: Coping with your feelings. Everyone has a different reaction when they learn that they have Mesothelioma. A wide range of feelings and emotions such as confusion, upset , worried, depression, shock, fear, denial, anger, negativity, etc. And it is not uncommon for people to feel relieved on learning they have Mesothelioma as they feel it is better to know than not know at all. Just because you are having different feelings to others (or to the ones listed above) does not mean that you are not coping. There is no text book way to cope with Mesothelioma. The feelings you experience are naturally right for you so do not compare your feelings with anyone else.

2: Finding others to talk to. Your family and friends may find it hard to talk with each other about Mesothelioma. This is not unusual as they may be scared of frightening you or make it more difficult to talk about in the future. Most Mesothelioma patients feel that a problem shared is a problem halved. In some cases, patients feel it is best just to be listened to and know that someone is there if a ‘good pair of listening ears’ is needed. Get the subject out in the open.

3: How to tell children. It is never easy to tell children about Mesothelioma, even more difficult if they are small. Most patients will have small children, young relatives or the children of friends in their lives. If the child you need to speak with is very small, start off by explaining that the person in question is very poorly. If the child is a little older, it is a good idea to explain Mesothelioma cancer as good cells and bad cells in the body. It is also a good idea if you know a little about Mesothelioma or cancer but overall, try to keep it simple. You will also need to listen to the questions of the child and answer them the best you can without trying to upset them too much. Starting off with small bits of information and building up to the bigger picture as time goes on is a good way to go. But don’t keep any secrets. Children are good at telling when something is not right and it may be harder for them to cope with uncertainty that it would be coping with the truth. As adults, it can be natural to try and protect children from the truth but children can pick up on unusual comings and goings and will feel left out. Keep them informed, even if it is with just little snippets of information.. If possible, try to have a word with the childs school teacher to let them know that someone close to them is ill. Hopefully, the teacher will keep an eye on the child in case of any changes in the childs behaviour.

4. What can you do? A feeling of helplessness is not unusual when someone is first told that they have Mesothelioma. Try and learn to understand Mesothelioma as this will help you and your family to take action and know what to expect. It is best to talk to a professional such as your doctor if you need more information as they will be able to advise you on your specific case which is always better than getting general information about Mesothelioma from a book or the internet. Be sure to take a list of questions to save time for you and your doctor. It may be a good idea to see if there are any local support groups you can join. Finding people going through a similar experience as yourself can help you cope. Your doctor or hospital will be able to let you know if there are any support groups near to you. As you are having treatment, you will find that you may not be able to do as much as you would like on a day to day basis. Once you start to feel a little better, try and do some simple tasks and do a little more each day. This will help with confidence but always remember not to over do things. A lot of patients try to fight Mesothelioma by planning a healthy diet, learning relaxation techniques and taking regular exercise. You don’t have to do this, only if you would like to try it. The last thing you need are more dramatic changes in your life if you’re not ready for them. But if you do decide to give exercise a go, start slowly and set realistic targets. You will have good days and bad days so always plan your activity on how you feel on the day.

5: Who else can help? More support can come from your GP if needed and hospitals can give advice and support through cancer nurses and specially trained staff will advise you on any worries you may have. For financial help, check any insurance policies you have to see if you are covered. It is also advisable to seek financial help from your local welfare office if needed. Sometimes it is nice to talk with someone who has nothing to do with Mesothelioma. You may want to try counselling or if you’re religious, speaking with a local minister or anyone else involved in your faith.

About The Author
George Spence is the author of Mesothelioma help site and spends a great deal of his time writing articles about coping with Mesothelioma. See more at

Building a Strong Mesothelioma Case by Nick Johnson

Have you been diagnosed with mesothelioma? Have you been told that your mesothelioma is the result of prolonged asbestos exposure? Does your insurance company give you problems over medical payments because of the lack of true evidence that your mesothelioma was work related and began decades ago? If you answered yes to these questions, you have grounds to file a mesothelioma lawsuit.

In order to build a good, strong mesothelioma case, the first thing you should do is gather all of your medical diagnosis papers and any past documentation of your work. Past documentation could include pay stubs, tax papers, or any other documents that shows where you worked. You will also want to gather all of your insurance information and documentation as well. Your mesothelioma lawyer will request all of this information in order to begin your case.

Once you have given your lawyer all of the necessary paperwork, you want to keep in contact with your lawyer and let them know of your progression. Most lawyers will work with you and even come to your home if you are unable to come to their offices. Be honest with the information that you provide to the lawyer. Do not hold or hid any information. Everything you say to your lawyer will help him or her work successfully on your case.

It is good to plan for the unknown. Mesothelioma can be deadly. You should speak with your lawyer and your family about any directives that give them guidance on your condition and your case just in case you are no longer able to speak for yourself. Put this in writing. This is a very important part of building a strong case. If you do become unable to speak for yourself and there are not instructions for anyone else, your case will weaken and possibly end. So, you want to be sure everyone knows what to do in the unknown.

Inform your mesothelioma attorney of the names of anyone else who could have been exposed to asbestos as a result of you bringing the fibers home on your clothes. These people would be the ones who lived with you when you worked for the company where you were exposed to asbestos. They also may be in danger of mesothelioma.

Building a good, strong mesotheloma case is something that you can discuss with your attorney. They will be able to tell you what all you need to build your case. Each case is unique and individual, so your mesothelioma attorney will be able to tell you which ways would work best for your case so that you can build a very strong case.

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