The term “mesothelioma” may sound complex and intimidating. This type of cancer affects thousands of people each year.
Here are some frequently asked questions to help deepen your understanding of mesothelioma.
1. What is mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects the mesothelium, a thin layer of tissue that covers most of our internal organs. The most common type, pleural mesothelioma, impacts the tissue surrounding the lungs.
The primary cause of mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos, a natural mineral once widely used in construction, insulation and other industries. Tiny asbestos fibers, when inhaled or swallowed, can become lodged in the body and over time can cause cell damage that leads to cancer.
2. What are the symptoms of mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma often takes a long time to develop; its symptoms may not appear until decades after asbestos exposure. Symptoms differ depending on the type of mesothelioma but can include chest or abdominal pain, shortness of breath and unexplained weight loss.
Because these symptoms can be similar to those of other conditions, mesothelioma can be difficult to diagnose. If you have a history of asbestos exposure and experience any of these symptoms, you should seek medical advice.
3. What treatments are available for mesothelioma?
There are several treatment options available for mesothelioma, including surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Doctors often use a combination of these treatments, depending on the stage of the disease and the overall health of the patient.
In recent years, clinical trials have explored new treatments, such as targeted therapy, immunotherapy and photodynamic therapy. These innovative treatments aim to improve survival rates and quality of life for mesothelioma patients.
If you think you experienced exposure to asbestos, it is important to talk to a medical professional. They can provide guidance, carry out necessary tests and offer support and treatment options if needed.