Mesothelioma - Treatment Options and Cures For Asbestos Cancer
By Joshua Miller
Of the many forms of cancer, one of the rarest is Mesothelioma.
Brought about by exposure to asbestos, this cancer of the chest
cavity and lung linings can sneak up on you, years after your
initial exposure. If you’ve ever been exposed to this substance
– even for the briefest amount of time - contact your primary
care physician immediately for a comprehensive examination.
Anyone who’s ever worked in an area that’s been
contaminated by asbestos is at high risk for Mesothelioma. This
disease doesn’t require ongoing exposure, but rather a single
instance can serve as the catalyst for its development. Prolonged
or ongoing contact with this substance, however, places the
person in a much higher risk category for contracting the disease.
In fact, family members are at risk, as well, since particles
of asbestos can cling to hair, skin, clothing and shoes. Once
carried into the home, these particles can be breathed in by
others, who are then also at risk.
Although great care has been taken by environmental
agencies to remove traces of asbestos from public and private
areas, those who were exposed as far back as 50 years ago may
still develop Mesothelioma, since the disease can lie dormant
for up to half a century. Those who are most at risk – and who
most commonly suffer from the disease – include mechanics, firemen,
demolition workers, shipbuilders, construction workers and drywall
Since many people are unaware of the fact that
they’ve been exposed to asbestos, it’s important to seek medical
attention if any of the symptoms of Mesothelioma become apparent.
If you’re experiencing shortness of breath, hoarseness, weight
loss, difficulty swallowing, a persistent cough, chest or abdominal
pain or blood in the phlegm from the lungs when coughing, contact
your primary care physician immediately. Don’t automatically
assume that it’s from the flu or some other, more common, ailment.
The series of tests which are often done are comprised
of x-rays, MRIs, CT scans – each of which will help to outline
any possible presence of Mesothelioma; cytology – a test which
examines the pleural fluids to determine the existence of malignant
cells; needle biopsy – a procedure in which, after the patient
is anesthetized, a needle is inserted into the chest cavity
in order to extract a tissue sample; and open biopsy – the most
accurate test for detecting Mesothelioma since a larger tissue
sample is taken. In the case of each of the biopsy procedures,
radiation is often used in order to discourage tumor seeding.
While there are treatments that are available
in order to keep the patient comfortable, there’s currently
no cure for Mesothelioma, and ¾ of those who develop
the disease will lose their life within one year, while the
remainder may last for up to an additional six months. Among
the treatments that are used in order to reduce the effects
of the disease are oxygen, postural drainage and pain killers.
In spite of this, new treatments approaches are
being tested, which have offered an improvement in the care
of Mesothelioma patients. Among these are Photodynamic Therapy
(PDT) – light at a particular frequency, combined with photosensitive
drugs, is used to kill cancer cells in the tissue; Immunotherapy
– a procedure which helps to fortify the body’s natural immune
system; Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) – uses
doses of radiation that are delivered to complex tumors; Gene
Therapy – used to correct the problem at the DNA level; and
Complementary Alternative Medicine - treatments that are not
within the mainstream of the medical community, such as homeopathy,
herbs, therapeutic massage and acupuncture.
One of the things that makes Mesothelioma so difficult
to treat is its aggressive nature. This type of cancer can travel
quickly, once it’s no longer dormant, making it crucial to notify
your physician if you suspect any form of exposure to asbestos.
Anyone – regardless of age, gender or race – can develop this
vicious disease. Preventive maintenance is the only hope of
avoiding the illness. Never take chances when it comes to possible
exposure. If you’re unsure of whether or not you’re going into
a safe area, protect yourself rather than taking a gamble on
Further information can be provided by visiting
www.mesotheliomaweb.org and a variety of other organizations
that are available through online searches. Your physician may
also be able to address your questions and concerns, or have
literature for you to acquaint yourself with the disease. If
you, or anyone that you know, has come into contact with asbestos,
it’s crucial that medical attention is sought as soon as possible.
As with any other illness, the sooner it’s diagnosed, the greater
the chances are for extending the life of the individual.
This article was composed by Joshua Miller, a
recent college graduate of University of Miami.
For more info click here: Mesothelioma Article Source: