Mesothelioma is a special type of cancer of the lung that is most commonly due to asbestos exposure. It occurs in the thin layer of cells that line the lungs and is thus a peripheral lung disease in most cases. The part of the lung affected with mesothelioma is called the mesothelium. There are three types of mesothelioma. The first is pleural mesothelioma, which makes up 70 percent of all cases. It occurs in the lining of the lungs known as the pleura. There can be peritoneal mesothelioma, which affects the lining of the abdominal cavity or the peritoneum. Pericardial mesothelioma involves the lining of the heart, called the pericardium.

Those at risk for mesothelioma are primarily workers exposed to asbestos. Smoking and exposure to asbestos more than double the risk of mesothelioma. It is a relatively common condition in industrial workers who work on ships, factories or construction. The incidence of mesothelioma has decreased, now that the government has banned the use of asbestos in many of its former uses. Few of the affected workers knew they were being exposed to something dangerous and many law suits have resulted from exposure to asbestos and secondary mesothelioma exposure. It sometimes takes many years after asbestos exposure before the mesothelioma occurs. People exposed to the substance should have regular exams and x-rays to look for the disease.

Symptoms of pleural mesothelioma include pain in the chest wall, coughing, shortness of breath and coughing up blood. The symptoms often come on gradually and worsen over time.

The steps to mesothelioma treatment begin with a trip to the doctor. X-rays and CT scans or MRI scans are used to diagnose the disease and to define the extent of the disease. There are many new treatment plans for mesothelioma that have been developed over the years. Recent treatments include chemotherapy with Alimta and cisplatin. These have been found to be most effective against mesothelioma. Surgery can be done to remove the mesothelioma tumor before or after chemotherapy is performed. Radiation therapy is also done to get rid of excess mesothelioma cells that have not been removed with surgery.

In one study of mesothelioma patients, 45 percent of the patients were alive two years after diagnosis and 22 percent patients were alive five years after diagnosis. The survival rate depends on the stage of cancer at the time of the diagnosis.

If you have mesothelioma, you can also join a clinical trial, many of which use newer medications with a better chance of survival than conventional medications. If you have a high stage cancer, a clinical trial may be the way to go. Check on the internet for clinical trials on mesothelioma so that you can find one close to home or one that doesn't require you to travel.

As mentioned, it is exposure to asbestos which carries the greatest risk of getting mesothelioma, followed by smoking. Asbestos can be ingested, leading to abdominal mesothelioma or it can be inhaled, leading to pleural mesothelioma. Asbestos was widely used during the 20th century in a wide array of uses. Those who manufactured asbestos products were at highest risk of exposure to asbestos. The asbestos fibers are needle-like microscopic pieces that get into the lungs and burrow themselves into the lung tissue to the level of the pleura. The irritation triggers the formation of cancer of the pleura. Common asbestos sites include refineries, shipyards, steel plants and the construction industry. Asbestos was used as insulation in the construction of buildings and homes. If you've been exposed to asbestos and have gotten mesothelioma, compensation from the manufacturer of asbestos or from the place you were exposed is possible. Interestingly, those who cleaned up Ground Zero of the World Trade Center Buildings were exposed to asbestos used extensively in the two buildings.

Medical Negligence Solicitors

Our mesothelioma solicitors operate the no win no fee scheme which is totally without risk. You only pay legal charges if the case is won. There are no upfront charges to pay whatsoever. If you would like to discuss your potential compensation claim with a specialist medical negligence solicitor just complete the contact form or email our solicitors offices or use the helpline. Once you have provided sufficient information you will speak with a mesothelioma solicitor who will advise you on the prospects of success for your claim and an estimated amount of cancer compensation that may be awarded. Our advice is totally without cost and there is no further obligation to use our legal services. Do yourself justice and give us a call.

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The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here