Lung cancer is a very serious disease affecting hundreds of thousands of Americans annually. One rare form of lung cancer is mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a cancer that specifically targets the lining of the lungs, and sometimes the abdomen. Mesothelioma has also been associated with exposure to asbestos, a substance found in many building materials and household goods, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health
estimates how many cases of mesothelioma occur each year. They averaged about 3,200 cases of mesothelioma from their research.
Causes of Mesothelioma
There are several risk factors that could increase your chance of developing mesothelioma. As with all forms of lung cancer, smoking consistently increases the likelihood of suffering from lung cancer. Even if you are not a smoker, exposure to secondhand smoke can prove dangerous. Quitting smoking at any age can be effective in reducing the risk of cancer.
Genetics, diet, and exercise are also linked to different forms of cancer. If a particular type of cancer runs in your family, you could be more at risk genetically. Eating well, sleeping well, and following a healthy exercise regimen could also reduce risk as opposed to those who are sedentary and do not acquire the nutrients they need on a consistent basis.
Exposure to Asbestos
Another risk factor for developing lung cancer, and specifically mesothelioma, is exposure to asbestos. Asbestos I a dangerous substance that is common in many building materials and household goods. While asbestos use has been regulated and is not used in modern buildings, there are many structures still standing that used asbestos for its excellent insulation and fire-retardant qualities. If you worked or lived in a building with asbestos, there is a chance you were exposed.
There can be a long period of dormancy between exposure to asbestos and mesothelioma. Sometimes it can take decades for mesothelioma to develop in those who lived, worked, or were otherwise exposed to an environment where asbestos was present.
It is important to know when to seek help if you think you may have mesothelioma. Understanding the symptoms will help you determine when you should seek medical attention.
Nothing is more important than your health, and the sooner you discover cancer, the more time you have for treatment. Every day can be significant, and the life expectancy for mesothelioma increases depending on how localized the cancer cells are. Lung Cancer International estimates a 5-year survival rate if mesothelioma is localized. It is very important to seek immediate medical attention if you are showing any of the following signs that something could be wrong. Mayo Clinic lists the following symptoms to watch for, which include:
- Persistent coughing that is worsening or will not go away
- Coughing up blood or unusual bodily fluids
- Sudden loss of weight, or loss of appetite
- Shortness of breath and other breathing difficulties
- Chest pains
Only a medical professional will be able to confirm a diagnosis of mesothelioma or other forms of lung disease based on your symptoms and various testing methods. A doctor or specialist can additionally develop a treatment plan that is appropriate based on each individual case of mesothelioma.
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Mesothelioma is treated in a number of ways depending on the severity of the disease. If this rare form of cancer is caught early enough, the treatment methods and prognosis will look significantly different than a late-stage form, according to the National Cancer Institute. The size of a cancerous mass and degree to which it has spread, or metastasized, will affect the treatment options.
Generally, mesothelioma and other forms of lung cancer can be treated through radiation therapy, chemotherapy, surgery, or a combination of these methods. For individuals in later stages who may have minimal treatment options, palliative measures are an option designed to minimize pain and maximize comfort.
If you or a loved one was diagnosed with mesothelioma, it is possible that you are living through one of the most difficult experiences of your lifetime. It is very important that you seek medical attention and allow a professional to confirm your diagnosis and develop a treatment plan. Every day matters when dealing with an illness of any kind, and catching cancer in early stages can improve prognosis and broaden the range of available treatment options.
With approximately 3,200 cases of mesothelioma diagnosed each year, this form of cancer is rare. There is a correlation between the development of mesothelioma and exposure to asbestos. If you were exposed to asbestos unknowingly or if a third party could be partially to blame for your exposure, you could have legal options available for you and your family.
If you would like to discuss your case in detail with Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, call (800) 794-0444 today.