Mesothelioma is an aggressive, incurable and rare cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. More than 100,000 Americans have died of mesothelioma in the past 30 years, including more than 30,000 veterans. VA benefits are available to veterans diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, including disability and VA medical care. Unfortunately, it is rarely possible to cure mesothelioma, although treatment can help control symptoms.Mesothelioma is caused by the inhalation or ingestion of asbestos fibers, which are lodged in the mesothelium tissue.
Risk factors for developing mesothelioma are working around asbestos-related products, or being indirectly around those products, such as second-hand exposures seen with wives washing the clothes of loved ones who have asbestos dust. Early research tests new drugs on mesothelioma tumor samples in laboratories instead of patients directly, thanks to the National Virtual Mesothelioma Bank.Pleural mesothelioma is a group of cancers that begin in the lining of the lungs. It is incurable and often difficult to treat. Testicular mesothelioma survival rates are the most favorable, due to tumor location and treatment options.
Peritoneal mesothelioma also has a more favorable survival rate, as treatments have become more effective in recent years. Pleural mesothelioma develops near the internal organs, making treatment more complicated and leading to a less favorable life expectancy. Pericardial mesothelioma has the least favorable survival rates because it affects the heart and has limited treatment options.Although there is no cure for mesothelioma, the prognosis has improved in recent years due to the development of experimental treatments, new diagnostic methods and other advances in clinical trials. If a person has symptoms of mesothelioma and a history of exposure to asbestos, the first step in obtaining a diagnosis is to see a doctor.
Those who worked on asbestos decades ago have a very high risk of mesothelioma today, as this cancer takes 20 to 50 years to develop after exposure.New therapies may come too late for elderly patients in the Western world, but research is justified, as tens of thousands of cases of mesothelioma will be diagnosed worldwide in this century due to the continuous production, export and uncontrolled use of asbestos in the third world. Normally, mesothelioma begins with the inhalation of asbestos fibers that stop in the lining of the lungs.If you have symptoms of mesothelioma, be sure to tell your doctor if you have ever been exposed to asbestos. Talking to a mesothelioma specialist or patient advocate at The Mesothelioma Center is the best way to access the latest clinical trials and resources. Patients and their families may be entitled to compensation from asbestos companies to cover the cost of mesothelioma treatment and other expenses.Like any form of cancer, mesothelioma can arise from a combination of factors that have caused cell damage and mutations.
There is currently no definitive cure for any type of mesothelioma at any stage. However, the prognosis for stage 1 or stage 2 is more favorable than for later stages. Patients with peritoneal mesothelioma tend to survive longer than patients with pleural mesothelioma.