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Mesothelioma - Am I at Risk

     Mesothelioma, what is it and am I at risk.  Mesothelioma is a rare cancer that is mostly found in the pleural lining of the lungs.  It can also be found in the lining around the abdomen and heart. Those diagnosed with testicular Mesothelioma account for only less than 1% of the patient population.  The inhalation of Asbestos gave rise to the incurable disease that we are now facing in our aging population.

     You may ask yourself, well am I at risk ?  You have very good cause to be concerned if you are a new baby boomer.  This is because earlier years of asbestos exposure has a 20 to 50 year latency period before cancer symptoms begin to appear.  Even when these symptoms do appear most people are already in stage III of the disease.  These symptoms mimic many others that appear with respiratory and cardiac disorders, and do not become apparent until usually after the tumors have spread, grown, and causes pain in the patient.

      Early testing can make ones prognosis more favorable.  Those individuals that know they have been exposed to asbestos need to be tested.  Furthermore, those individuals that worked around shipyards in cities with large seaports such as Seattle and San Francisco, as well as auto shop repairmen, and even occupants of older homes should discuss with their doctor any concerns or testing that is available.  3,000 new cases are diagnosed every year with 4 times more men than woman.  Caucasians make up most of that number.

     Symptoms are usually not noticeable until around stage III of the disease.  Symptoms include a dry cough, shortness of breath, difficulty swallowing, fatigue, weight loss, pain around tumor, edema or fluid buildup, and bowel obstruction.  Even though there is no cure for Mesothelioma, there are certain therapies available that will relieve symptoms.

     If your doctor feels you have Mesothelioma he or she will order x-rays or a series of scans along with blood test.  If results appear to suggest disease presence the doctor will want to get a biopsy to definitively confirm diagnosis.

    Treatment of Mesothelioma involves a multi modal therapy approach.  Multi modal therapy is a combination of cancer treatment involving at least 2 or more therapies.  Therapies available are curable surgery or palliative surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.  Curable surgery will be available for those with a less advanced stage of cancer and basically younger individuals without multiple anomalies.  Palliative surgery goals are for relief of suffering and symptoms.  More doctor are having greater success with trimodal therapies which of course involves all three treatments.  Clinical trials are underway experimenting with gene therapy which may lead to a longer survival outcome.

     If you are diagnosed with Mesothelioma there is a $30 billion dollar trust that has been put aside by the companies that exposed workers and families to this deadly disease.  You can find out more at National Mesothelioma Claims Center.  If you are a veteran their are even more options available for you at Veterans Mesothelioma Benefits Center.  Unfortunately over 30% of the people that have developed this disease are veterans due to the fact asbestos was widely used in their insulation products.

For more information please go to: and get your hand guide and learn more about this dangerous disease and your option for physically and financially dealing with it.


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