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.
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.
Symptoms of mesothelioma can include:
- Trouble swallowing
- Weight loss
- Localized pain to the particular cancerous lining
- Swelling and fluid buildup
- Shortness of breath
- Painful breathing
- Respiratory infection
- Fatigue and anemia
- Digestive problems
- Bowel problems
Doctors perform a variety of tests to diagnose mesothelioma and to determine how advanced the cancer is including x-rays, blood tests, pathologic tests, endoscopic ultrasound, bronchoscopy, CT scans, lung-function tests, biopsies or other diagnostic surgeries, MRI and PET scans.
Mesothelioma can metastasize or spread into the organs themselves or to other areas of the body. By the time mesothelioma is diagnosed, the patient usually has only a matter of months to live and treatment is usually palliative – to alleviate symptoms and slow the progress of the disease.
Treatment can include surgery to excise the mesothelial and surrounding tissue, chemotherapy, drug regimens, drug trials, gene therapies, radiation, draining of fluid followed by the injection of medication to prevent further buildup, and, rarely, lung removal. Research into new treatment methods continues, as current therapies have relatively disappointing results. If the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, it is usually a terminal condition. Current patients may be eligible to participate in experimental treatments, if they desire.
The Throneberry Law Group takes cases throughout the United States. We will come to you to help you trace the asbestos exposure that caused mesothelioma (or asbestosis or lung cancer). We offer a free consultation at 888-506-1131 to answer your questions, and it costs nothing up front for us to represent you in the lawsuit — we collect no fees unless we recover compensation.