Residents of the US and Canada may file their malignant mesothelioma claims with our law firm.
Malignant mesothelioma overview
Malignant mesothelioma is a relatively rare type of asbestos cancer. When the cancer affects the lining of the lungs and chest cavity, it is known as pleural mesothelioma (or lung mesothelioma). When it develops in the lining of the abdominal cavity, it is known as peritoneal mesothelioma. People at highest risk of developing malignant mesothelioma are those who worked with asbestos-containing products. Asbestos-containing products include brakes, roofing shingles, tiles, joint compounds, gaskets and insulation material.
Malignant mesothelioma and asbestos fiber inhalation
Malignant mesothelioma is caused by asbestos fibers that are trapped in the body. Asbestos containing products can release asbestos fibers when they are disturbed through activities such as cutting and hammering. People who work with asbestos containing products often cut and hammer those products. This raises the risk of release of asbestos fibers and subsequent inhalation of those fibers. Workers at risk of asbestos exposure include mechanics, sheet metal workers, electricians and construction workers.
Symptoms of malignant mesothelioma
The symptoms of malignant mesothelioma usually take decades to appear. The symptoms depend on the type of malignant mesothelioma a person has. For example, a person with peritoneal mesothelioma may exhibit different symptoms from a person who has pleural mesothelioma. Common symptoms of malignant mesothelioma include chest pain, coughing of blood, digestive problems, unexplained weight loss, fever and night sweats.
Stages of malignant mesothelioma
Medical experts generally agree that there are four stages of malignant mesothelioma. The stages indicate the extent to which mesothelioma has spread and what treatment options are viable. In the early stages of malignant mesothelioma, the cancer is primarily local to the point of origin in the body. In the latter stages of malignant mesothelioma, the cancer has likely spread to more distant areas of the body. Mesothelioma treatment options are more successful in the early stages of mesothelioma.
Diagnosing malignant mesothelioma
There are a number of diagnostic techniques for malignant mesothelioma. These include chest x-ray, cytology of pleural fluid, lung biopsy, pleural biopsy and a thoracic CT scan. Cytology of pleural fluid involves studying the cells in the pleural fluid. A biopsy involves removing possibly cancerous tissue to examine whether it has been affected by malignant mesothelioma. Removed tissue can be studied under a microscope by a pathologist or it can be examined chemically. A CT scan is also known as a CAT scan. CT scanning involves the use of sophisticated equipment to produce images of areas within the body. CT images provide greater clarity and detail than x-ray images.
Malignant mesothelioma treatment options
At the present time, there is no cure for malignant mesothelioma. However, there are treatment options that can improve the quality of a mesothelioma patient's life. These treatment options include radiation, surgery, chemotherapy, photodynamic therapy, immunotherapy and gene therapy.
Radiation therapy employs high energy rays to kill mesothelioma cancer cells and reduce tumor size. Radiation only kills cancer cells in the targeted area. The source of radiation can be from a machine or from radiation emitting materials that are inserted into tubes which are directed to areas of the body where cancer cells are located.
Surgery for mesothelioma involves removing cancerous parts of the chest lining or abdomen. Surgery is generally viable only when the mesothelioma cancer is at an early stage. That is, while the cancer is sill largely local to its point of origin in the body.
Chemotherapy involves the use of drugs to kill cancer cells. The drugs are typically administered by injection. The side effects of chemotherapy include anemia, constipation, bleeding problems, changes in appetite, fatigue and hair loss.
Photodynamic therapy uses light of a specific wavelength to kill targeted cancer cells. Possible light sources are laser, intense pulsed light and light emitting diodes. Photodynamic therapy is not effective in the treatment of large tumors or cancers that have spread too far. Side effects of photodynamic therapy include skin discoloration, scarring and sensitivity to sunlight.
Immunotherapy involves utilizing the patient's immune system to fight mesothelioma cancer. The immune system generally does not destroy cancer cells because cancer cells are produced by the body and are not considered foreign. Immunotherapy manipulates the immune system so that it considers cancer cells as foreign.
Gene therapy involves the alteration of genes for the purpose of treating mesothelioma cancer. This treatment technique is relatively new. Replacement gene therapy replaces a damaged gene with a normal gene that regulates cell growth. Knockout gene therapy attacks the genes that cause tumors to form.
Additional malignant mesothelioma related information
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