At the time of this writing, lung transplants are not recommended as a standard treatment option for mesothelioma patients. Due to the poor prognosis, the cancer location in the body, and the high probability of cancer spread, lung transplants are typically reserved for people whose medications or treatments have not improved their poor lung condition (unrelated to mesothelioma). As reported by the Mayo Clinic, the overall number of lungs available for transplant is low. In addition, the long-term success of the transplant may vary based on the patient’s condition and life expectancy.
Mesothelioma is a kind of cancer that is found on the mesothelium, which is a thin layer of tissue that covers your internal organs. Because of this, a lung transplant may not be enough to cure you of your cancer. It is possible to treat mesothelioma without a lung transplant, although it is a possible solution if cancer has not spread to other organs.
Localized cancer cells that form tumors can be removed with surgery without replacing the lungs. This would be a more effective method for treating mesothelioma that has not spread to other parts of the body since it would leave the lungs intact. However, mesothelioma cells can be found in numerous parts of the body and spread making surgery an effective form of treatment.
Types of Mesothelioma
The different types of mesothelioma are named for the part of the body that they are found in. According to Mayo Clinic, pleural mesothelioma is on the lungs and is the most common type of mesothelioma. Peritoneal mesothelioma is found in the abdomen, which is the second most common type of mesothelioma. Pericardial mesothelioma can be found in the heart and it is very rare. Testicular mesothelioma is the rarest form of mesothelioma.
All of the different types of mesothelioma can be broken down into two general types: benign and malignant. Benign mesothelioma has not begun to spread yet. Malignant mesothelioma has begun to spread and needs a different type of treatment to cure. It can be also more aggressive and needs an equally aggressive treatment method to treat it.
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Investigating Asbestos Exposure Resulting in Mesothelioma
The most commonly associated cause of mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos. It was used in construction projects because it worked well as an insulator for pipes and walls. If you develop mesothelioma, your lawyer may choose to investigate if you were exposed to asbestos.
According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of mesothelioma do not develop until 20 to 60 years after being exposed to asbestos. With that, the odds of a successful lung transplant are not high. In fact, with the amount of time that people have to wait on the donor transplant lists, it can be too late for patients to find a donor.
Unless your doctor specifically recommends it from a known donor, it is not likely that your oncologist will recommend a lung transplant if you are diagnosed with mesothelioma.
This may take some time because your lawyer will have to investigate building records and other sources to determine if asbestos was used and if he could be the cause of your mesothelioma. Although asbestos is not as widely used anymore, there are some cases where it is still being used and you still may be exposed to it from older installations.
There are several confirmed treatments for mesothelioma but there also new developments possible treatment options. According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), there are different clinical trials available to mesothelioma patients with advanced or late-stage mesothelioma.
One of these possible treatment options is immunotherapy, which is designed to turn the immune system against cancer cells. Because the cells develop naturally in the body, your immune system may not attack. If successful, it would be a new and less invasive way of treating mesothelioma and other types of cancer.
The current treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. Surgery is only effective if the cancer cells have not spread to other parts of the body. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy can be effective in treating widespread mesothelioma.
Chemotherapy uses chemicals that attack mesothelioma cells while they are dividing to try to kill them off. Radiation uses targeted beams of radiation to try to break up the cells without killing other cells in the body. Whichever treatment option you use depends on the type of mesothelioma you have and how far it has progressed.
Treating mesothelioma can be expensive. It requires treatment from specialists, which includes diagnostic testing, specialist consultations, and specialized forms of treatment. You will likely also have to pay for hospital stays and ongoing care based on your condition and treatment options. Your medical expenses can build up quickly, even if your insurance covers some of your medical bills. This is why some victims decide to file lawsuits to recover financial compensation.
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Speak to a Lawyer About Your Case
Only you and your doctor can decide if you need a lung transplant if you have mesothelioma. However, there are other options to treat it instead. A transplant may be the last resort for treatment and is only advised in rare circumstances.
No one can pressure you to take certain legal actions against your will. It is your right to decide what your next steps are. We only want to provide you with an understanding of all of your legal options so that you have all the information that you need. Call the offices of Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 307-3113 to discuss your case if you want to take legal action.
Does Mesothelioma Cause Fluid in the Lungs?
Mesothelioma does not cause fluid in the lungs, but it can cause a condition called pleural effusion. Pleural effusion occurs when the space between the lungs, other organs, and the chest wall fills with fluid. This fluid begins to put pressure on the lungs, causing them to struggle to expand and contract effectively, limiting how well a person can breathe.
Pleural effusion can become dangerous if untreated. The fluid will continue to build until it is impossible to inflate the lungs to take in enough air to breathe effectively. The fastest method of treatment for pleural effusion is to drain the fluid and relieve the pressure. Until doctors treat the underlying cause, the fluid will continue to build up and require repeated draining.
Asbestos Exposure Health Risk
Exposure to asbestos is a health risk for anyone who experienced exposure. It may take decades for mesothelioma to develop, but you have a higher chance of developing this cancer with prolonged exposure to asbestos. Mesothelioma is a growing problem with construction workers and similar occupations that used asbestos extensively. Workers may have experienced asbestos exposure, breathing in the fibers that would become embedded in the lining of their lungs and cause mesothelioma later.
You could also suffer asbestos exposure in older buildings that contain asbestos that has broken down in ducts and walls. In solid form, you can leave asbestos alone indefinitely. It becomes a problem when it begins to disintegrate and forms particles that can float through the air. Many buildings have had their asbestos removed so that it will not become a problem, but many buildings still contain asbestos that could potentially expose other people. This exposure usually occurs during a renovation or demolition project when workers open walls containing asbestos that has broken down.
Patients with many risk factors should seek medical attention from their care providers to see if they may have developed mesothelioma without any signs. The sooner you can identify the disease, the better your potential outcomes could be.
Types of Mesothelioma
According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), doctors have identified four types of mesothelioma. Pleural mesothelioma is the most common, appearing in more than 75 percent of cases. This form of mesothelioma affects the lining of the lungs and can spread quickly throughout the body. Many patients do not discover that they have pleural mesothelioma until they go to the doctor with symptoms and have a chest scan completed to determine the source of the problem.
Peritoneal mesothelioma makes up most other cases of this cancer. It develops in the lining of the abdomen and can have similar effects and symptoms as pleural mesothelioma. Peritoneal mesothelioma tends to develop at a younger age than pleural mesothelioma. A Duke University study found that the median age for women who developed peritoneal mesothelioma was 13 years younger than for pleural mesothelioma patients.
The other two forms of mesothelioma (pericardial and testicular) rarely occur.
Mesothelioma Treatment Options
The three most common treatments for mesothelioma patients are surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. If possible, oncologists opt for surgery first. It has the shortest recovery time, fastest cure time, and causes the least stress to your body. Surgery works best in cases where the mesothelioma remains concentrated in tumors in one part of the body. A surgeon goes in and tries to remove all the cells by removing the tumors. If successful, you can continue treatment for mesothelioma without the need for more powerful options.
Chemotherapy has proved effective in treating mesothelioma. As cells in the body reproduce, that is when they are most vulnerable. Chemotherapy uses a combination of medications that attack cells while they reproduce. Because cancer cells reproduce at a much faster rate than healthy cells, they have more vulnerability to these medications.
Radiation therapy uses targeted emissions to kill cancer cells. By focusing the radiation on them, it might cause the cells to break down. Once they stop reproducing, doctors can flush them from the body, no longer posing a problem to the patient. Radiation therapy has proven effective but is not a high-priority choice because of its potential effects on the rest of the body. Exposing you to radiation may inadvertently trigger other conditions like a different form of cancer.
Being diagnosed with mesothelioma can result in substantial medical expenses. Like any type of cancer, mesothelioma could require expensive diagnostic exams such as PET scans, having those results reviewed by specialists and lengthy treatment options. Hospital stays while recovering from treatment, and ongoing treatments like chemotherapy can result in medical bills that continually pile up.
Even if you go into remission, you will need consistent follow-up exams and monitoring to ensure that mesothelioma does not return. However, you might have to deal with mesothelioma a second time, even with complete remission.
Possibly Recoverable Compensation
You can recover compensation for your expenses. Under civil law, you have the right to sue anyone who causes you harm in some way. Using asbestos in construction puts you at risk and likely led to your diagnosis. The resulting treatments and testing are a direct result of those choices, and you could hold the construction company liable for your injuries and losses.
Contact a Lawyer to Discuss Your Case
Even though mesothelioma does not cause fluid in the lungs, it can cause fluid buildup that could become life-threatening. If you developed mesothelioma after exposure to asbestos, you could take legal action to recover financial compensation. Call the offices of Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 307-3113 to explore your legal options. We could help you recover compensation for your expenses.