Mesothelioma brief review

This is a paid review

Mesothelioma Aid

Mesothelioma Aid is a site for practical living with malignant mesothelioma. In addition to medical information, mesothelioma patients, their families, and their caregivers need support with real life and mesothelioma caregiving issues. Mesothelioma Aid’s focus is on providing answers to your questions and helping you best cope with what is ahead.

Fast Facts
Mesothelioma is an insidious neoplasm arising from the mesothelial surfaces of the pleural and peritoneal cavities, tunica vaginalis, or pericardium. 80 percent of this cases are from pleural origin. The major risk factor for malignant mesothelioma is inhalation of asbestos.

Since asbestos inhalation is the main risk factor, it’s considered as an occupational disease. The incidence in the U.S. is estimated to be 2,200 cases per year.

Asbestos is valued in industry for its resistance to heat and combustion and it’s still used in cement, ceiling and pool tiles, automobile brake linings, and in shipbuilding.

As many as eight million living persons in the U.S. have been occupationally exposed to asbestos over the past 50 years. Those workers in contact with asbestos are at significant risk for the development of both non malignant and malignant pulmonary disease.

  • Approximately 8 percent of asbestos workers will die of respiratory failure secondary to asbestosis.
  • The vast majority of cancers in asbestos workers involve the lung (mesothelioma for example).
  • The lifetime risk of developing mesothelioma among asbestos workers is thought to be as high as 10%.
  • There is a long latency of approximately 30 to 40 years from the time of asbestos exposure to the development of mesothelioma.
  • There appears to be a dose – response relationship between asbestos exposure and mesothelioma.
  • Asbestos exposure acts synergistically with cigarette smoking to increase the risk of developing lung cancer 60 times.
  • Clinical Presentation
    Malignant pleural mesothelioma most commonly presents in the 5th to 7th decades of life. A large proportion of patients diagnosed at an earlier age have a history of childhood exposure to asbestos.

    The most frequent presenting symptoms of pleural mesothelioma are dyspnea (difficulty in breathing) and nonpleuritic chest pain. Rarely, asymptomatic patients present with a unilateral pleural effusion that is found incidentally on routine chest radiograph.

    Common physical findings at the time of diagnosis include unilateral dullness to percussion at the lung base, palpable chest wall masses, and scoliosis towards the side of the malignancy.

    Clinical course
    This neoplasia exerts its morbidity and mortality via inexorable local invasion. Patients typically develop shortness of breath and chest pain as the tumor gradually obliterates the pleural space and replaces any pleural fluid. Local invasion of crucial thoracic structures can result in one or more of the following complications:

  • Dysphagia
  • Hoarseness
  • Cord compression
  • Brachial plexopathy
  • Horner’s syndrome
  • Superior vena cava syndrome
  • The survival of patients with mesothelioma is between 6 and 18 months, and is not significantly affected by currently available therapeutic interventions.

    With a brief review of this disease we can see that this isn’t a benign disease, that’s why I strongly recommend patients, their families, and their caregivers to visit Mesothelioma Aid for questions and support.

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