Mesothelioma is a disease not many people have heard about. As a result most people do not know what to look for as the trouble signs. This is unfortunate seeing as the disease effects many of the people who have had any exposure to asbestos. This is true whether you have been working directly with asbestos or washing the clothes of someone who has been working with asbestos. While there is no cure for the disease, there are ways in which it can be treated.
What it is?
Mesothelioma is a disease which attacks the lining which protects the major organs of the body. This can be either in the heart, lung cavity or other areas. The most common site is in the outer lining of the lungs. It shows up about 20 – 50 years after someone has been working with asbestos or has had exposure to it. This is true of all people who have worked in offices or in construction which involves an old building. Smoking is not thought to have an effect.
What to Watch For – Symptoms
- Shortness of breath – This is due to the fact the fluid builds up between the lining and the lung. This excess fluid makes it difficult for the lungs to expand.
- Chest wall pain – This is once again because of the fluid which is building up in the cavity. You will feel the pain most when you take breaths in.
- Fatigue – This is cause both by the body fighting the disease as well as the difficulty it causes in breathing.
- Coughing up blood – This is a symptom which should always result in a visit to the doctor.
In order to discover if you have mesothelioma you will have to undergo a chest X-ray and possibly a CT scan. This will allow the doctor to not only see what the problem is, but where it located at and how severe the disease has become. Getting diagnosed early is important though it is undetermined exactly what difference it will make. The best thing which can happen is you will get some treatment in order to get rid of the pain. In order to be absolutely sure, the doctor will have to give you a biopsy to test the cells for the disease. Then they can move forward with treatment.
The most common way to treat mesothelioma is to get rid of the bothersome fluid which is causing you pain. This is accomplished by a tube passed through your chest. The tube is loaded with talc that is shot into your system and will destroy the fluid. Though the doctors have tried chemotherapy and surgery to get rid of the disease, it has proven to be persistent. In most cases, the best the doctors can do is to treat the symptoms rather than treat the disease. At least you will be able to live without the pain.