Malignant Mesothelioma: Who is at Risk

Asbestos is a natural substance mined from the earth. It is a mineral which has strong resistance for heat. Because of such quality, asbestos is often used in many industrial applications. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) there are six types of fibrous minerals known as asbestos. They include amosite, chrysotile, crocidolite tremolite,actinolite and anthophyllite. According to ATSDR all of these forms of asbestos are hazardous substances and could cause cancer. In the past asbestos was used in many types of products mostly in building materials, friction products as well as heat resistant fabrics. Asbestos can cause various kinds of health problem for individuals exposed to them. Consequently the United States Environmental Protection agency (EPA) banned in the United States.

What is Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma, often referred to as Malignant Mesothelioma is a type of disease which can lead to a growth of cancerous tumor. There are two kinds of Mesothelioma. The first type is called Pleural Mesothelioma and the second type is known as Peritoneal Mesothelioma. The former generally starts in the chest region, on the outside lining of the lungs. The latter is the most common type of mesothelioma. According to published reports, Pleural mesothelioma accounts for about seventy percent of all reported mesothelioma cases here in the United States. The other one, Peritoneal mesothelioma is not as common. It originates in the lining membranes of the abdominal cavity of the human body.

Is Mesothelioma the same thing as Lung Cancer?

Although both medical terms are often inter-used, they are not exactly the same thing, they have some similarities. Both mesothelioma and Lung Cancer are forms of cancer which affect the lungs. Mesothelioma originates in the lining of the lungs, while lung cancers begin inside the lungs itself.

How is Malignant Mesothelioma Contracted?

This disease is often contracted through breathing in asbestos dust or particles mostly resulting from use of asbestos material for construction purposes. In the past some products such as cement, plumbing pipes, roofing shingles and insulation materials or even brake shoes and pads in automobile brake system were made of asbestos materials. Small exposures to asbestos particles and dust could potentially lead to mesothelioma. The problem is that the disease does not result instantly after asbestos contamination. Sometimes it takes decades for mesothelioma to develop in persons exposed to asbestors. Many of the asbestos and lung cancer litigations being filed by asbestos litigation attorneys were cases which happened in the late fifties, sixties or seventies.

Who Gets Malignant Mesothelioma

In US men are generally diagnosed with mesothelioma disease. This is the result of high presence of men in construction work. Cases of malignant mesothelioma have been growing in the United States every year. About 2,000 patients are diagnosed with this disease in the United States every year.

What are the Symptoms

Symptoms of mesothelioma seem similar to other diseases at first and the patient may be misdiagnosed, or in some cases, not diagnosed at all until autopsy.

It has many symptoms and such symptoms could differ from one person to another. Some of the more common symptoms include dry and persistent cough. Individuals suffering from mesothelioma could also experience shortness of breath, pain in the chest or abdominal area that increases over time, fatigue, inability to eat without nausea, weight loss, night sweats and possibly bowel problems and fever. If the disease is advanced and had spread to other areas of the body, symptoms may be more pronounced.

Diagnosis and Treatment Options

Doctors can use chest x-rays to examine individuals with symptoms of mesothelioma. Also CT Scans and tissue sampling may be employed for diagnosis of this disease. The treatment differs from person to person. One of the factors affecting the kind of treatment to be administered is the age of the patient, along with the stage of the disease. In some mesothelioma patients, doctors may do surgery through which the affected chest or abdominal tissues may be surgically removed. Radiation and Chemotherapathy treatments may also be used to destroy the growing cancer cells. At times liquids may build up on the chest or abdominal cavities of the patient, requiring doctors to use tubes and needle to drain away such fluids.

There are several renowned specialists around the country who specialize in treating this disease. There are clinical trials of new treatments currently underway in the United States. There is support and resources, information about treatment, news and legal information available at the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation. Information may also be found at the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization. Additionally, there is nationwide pressure on Capitol Hill for more funding for the treatment and for research to find a cure.

Where to Obtain More Information

Many governmental Health Agencies can provide additional information about asbestos related Mesothelioma and Lung Cancer. The US Office of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) can provide more information on this subject. They could be reached through the following Address: Also the US Centre for Disease Control (CDC) could be reached at You may also contact Office of Public Affairs, Occupational Safety and Health Administration US Department of Labour, Room N-3649, Washington DC, 200210