Facts about Mesothelioma

Facts about Mesothelioma

Researchers are learning more facts about mesothelioma each year due to the increasing number of cases diagnosed and advances in medical technology. The number of asbestos-related mesotheliomas cases are expected to peak in about ten years because asbestos was banned from use in the 1980s and it usually takes at least 20 years for mesothelioma to produce symptoms. However, it became apparent that individuals repeatedly exposed to this toxic material were developing an aggressive type of lung cancer decades after their exposure several years before the 1980s. Other facts about mesothelioma include:

  • The first diagnosis made regarding mesothelioma and its association with exposure to asbestos came in 1964.
  • There are three histologic types of mesothelioma: biphasic, epithelial and sarcomatoid
  • A latency period of up to 50 years has been seen individuals exposed to asbestos
  • The National Institute of Health estimates that nearly 11 million people have been exposed to asbestos between 1940 and 1978.
  • A stage 1 diagnosis of mesothelioma generally allows around 30 months of life for an individual following diagnosis while a stage 4 condition of mesothelioma allows for about six to seven months.
  • Most people developing mesothelioma are older than 50 but younger than 70 years of age
  • Approximately ten to 20 percents of mesothelioma cases affect the stomach
  • PET and CT scans are the preferred types of scans physicians use when attempting to diagnose mesothelioma
  • Pemetrexed and Cisplatin are the most frequently prescribed drugs for chemotherapy purposes, with two hours sessions scheduled every three weeks for patients undergoing this kind of therapy.

Symptoms of pleural (lung) mesothelioma include shortness of breath, chest pain, chronic cough and fatigue caused by persistent coughing and a weakened immune system. Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma or asbestos-related cancer found in the stomach include accumulation of abdominal fluid (called ascites); unexplained lumps and swelling in the abdominal area and frequent stomach pain.

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