Monday, March 22, 2010

What is Mesothelioma and What Can Be Done to Treat It

What is Mesothelioma? Some Facts and Myths About This Very Contemporary Disease.

There is a common misconception that mesothelioma is a form of lung cancer. It is in fact a cancer of the protective membrane around the lungs, inside the ribs, known as the mesothelium. A similar membrane covers most of the body's organs, but it is the lining around the lungs which most often becomes cancerous.

Unlike lung cancer, mesothelioma is not caused by smoking. The overwhelming majority of cases are linked to exposure to tiny, airborne fragments of mineral asbestos, which was commonly used in a range of construction materials, particularly insulation. Inhalation of these asbestos fibers is the only known cause of mesothelioma.

Exposure to asbestos is strongly linked to other severely debilitating and life threatening illnesses, including lung cancer and asbestosis, and less serious diseases affecting the lining of the lungs such as pleural fibrosis, pleural plaques and benign pleural effusions.

Building materials manufacturers have been aware of the risks of exposure to airborne asbestos since the 1930s, but warnings and safety measures only began to be put in place in the 1960s, and even then they were dangerously inadequate. The use of asbestos in construction was eventually banned in the US in the mid 1970s, and more stringent measures have been put in place to protect workers on renovation or demolition sites where asbestos is present. However, even now building workers are not always told when they are working on a site which carries an asbestos exposure risk.

Although the number of people being newly exposed to the risk of mesothelioma is now at a minimum, newly diagnosed cases of the disease are set to rise dramatically in the coming decades. This is due to the fact that symptoms can take 30 to 50 years to develop. Sufferers only become aware of symptoms once the cancer has reached an advanced stage, which is why the disease is so difficult to treat and has such a low survival rate once diagnosed. The extent of the disease in the US has become a major concern, with over 2,000 new cases being reported every year.

New screening and diagnostic techniques are being developed to increase the effectiveness of treatment. Those who believe they may be at risk can find information and support from their local health care provider, and from online mesothelioma support resources such as

David Llennac has worked with mesothelioma and health [] as well as health and fitness and recommends stress relief products and services to improve your lifestyle and well being. Do you want to end your panic attacks now and have a better quality of life and take full advantage of the opportunities open to you? mesothelioma information on surgeons []

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