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Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer linked to asbestos exposure.  Mesothelioma cancer invades the mesothelium – the lining of tissue that surround vital organs.  The most common is pleural mesothelioma or cancer of the lining of the lungs.  Mesothelioma also attacks the lining of either the heart, abdomen, or testicles.

Symptoms

The mesothelium has two layers: one around the organ itself and another forming an outer sac. Between these two layers is a fluid that aids organ movement. Mesothelioma causes the mesothelial cells to multiply wildly and to produce excess lubricating fluid. Ultimately, the mesothelium becomes a thick, tumorous coating of the organ accompanied by excessive fluid. This coating and fluid prevent complete, comfortable expansion of the lung.

Malignant mesothelioma treatment options generally fall into the following categories – surgery, chemotherapy, hormonal therapy or radiation therapy.  These four treatment modalities are the major “conventional” or “mainstream” treatment options for malignant mesothelioma.  Malignant mesothelioma is very aggressive form of cancer where the tumor grows up against anything it contacts often invading surrounding structures and organs.  As a result, malignant mesothelioma treatment is often limited as with other advanced, aggressive, and metastatic cancers.  The goal in treating malignant mesothelioma becomes one focused simply on extending one’s life.
Important questions to ask your doctor about malignant mesothelioma treatments include:
  • What is the effectiveness or efficacy of the mesothelioma treatment?

The trauma of a malignant mesothelioma diagnosis leaves confusion and disbelief in its wake.  Your doctor will likely recommend you see an oncologist.  Your doctor typically will recommend a specialist for your treatment of malignant mesothelioma.  From the initial diagnosis, ask your doctor for a copy of all of your test results.  You have a right to do so.  Be certain to keep a folder with your pathology report, blood tests, imaging reports (x-ray, ct scan, PET scan, etc.) and any other medical results.  Keeping these results is invaluable for showing another doctor  the medical history of your illness should you seek another opinion or alternative treatment.

Useful questions to ask your oncologist about malignant mesothelioma include:

  • How far has the malignant mesothelioma spread and what is your life expectancy?
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