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How to Care for Mesothelioma Cancer Patients

Understanding Lung Cancer in the Work Place from Asbestos

Author: Gene Medame
It is estimated that approximately 3,000 cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed in the United States each year. Because the latency period (the period of time between exposure to asbestos and the development of mesothelioma) is long, people who were exposed to asbestos even decades ago are currently developing the disease. Another variable that is extremely important to a patients out look is his or her overall health at the time of diagnosis. Generally the healthier a patient is, the better he or she will react to cancer treatments, and the greater the chances of longer survival. It may take some time for the diagnosis to be made.

A mesothelioma patient is an individual who has been exposed to toxic asbestos fibers in the last fifty years. Workers in the factory, construction, custodial, automotive, railroad, and shipyard industries are all at risk for developing mesothelioma.

As a mesothelioma patient, you will confront medical costs and related financial demands in addition to the emotional and physical problems of having a serious disease. Diagnosing and treating mesothelioma is expensive. There are a number of changes that are expected to occur in a mesothelioma patient. A lung transplant is a possible treatment option for a mesothelioma patient whose respiratory health has deteriorated to a level at which doctors predict that the patient will not live long without a healthy replacement lung. However, lung transplant surgery is a major undertaking.

Some doctors and medical centers have extensive experience with treating mesothelioma patients. Some cancer centers have experience with all types of cancer. Most often, the hospice care is provided to a mesothelioma patient at his or her home, allowing patients to spend their last days in the comfort of their homes their families present.

For the caregiver of a mesothelioma patient, life will change drastically. This person will not only work tirelessly to physically tend to the mesothelioma sufferer, but will also be involved in numerous decisions about this person and their disease. Most reports indicate that the average age of a mesothelioma patient is 60.

There are groups available to support loved ones of mesothelioma patients. Consult with your doctor to find the best support groups for you and your loved ones. ...

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How Asbestos Causes Mesothelioma

Author: Gene Medame

Mesothelioma is a cancer that occurs in the lining of the lungs. Its main cause is thought to be contact with asbestos. About 3000 new cases are reported every year in the United States, with about 8 million people having been exposed to asbestos in the last 50 years. Safety measures have been put into place in the last couple of decades so as to protect people from asbestos exposure; therefore, some think that the number of cases of mesothelioma will peak around 2020 and that it will begin to decline after that, since exposure to asbestos by then will have been quite rare.

Of course, as with any cancer, early detection and treatment is imperative if there's any hope of survival. However, mesothelioma patients are at a disadvantage in this area, because symptoms take anywhere between 20 and 50 years to manifest after the exposure. Because of this, patients are older, usually over 50. In addition, first symptoms can masquerade as many other less serious ailments. This makes diagnosis quite difficult. Because of this, the cancer is quite likely to be advanced once it has been detected. There is no fully effective treatment available. However, most experts believe that combination therapy increases survival rate versus monotherapy. Research into mesothelioma treatment continues.

Studies on survival of mesothelioma patients show that the disease has a fatality rate of almost 100%. Once diagnosed with mesothelioma, the average survival rate stands roughly six months to two years. There have been exceptions, which continue to give hope to other mesothelioma patients and their families. Life expectancy is dependent on many things, including its stage at diagnosis (mesothelioma has four stages, with four being the most advanced) and the type of mesothelioma diagnosed. Tests conducted on the tissue structure of mesothelioma cells found that sarcomatous cells' existence meant a median survival rate of about 11 months, 11 months for mixed cells, and 12.5 months for epithelial cells.

However, that said, there are other things that influence mesothelioma survival rate. Mesothelioma has a survival rate of about 9% five years after diagnosis, which means there are most definitely people who do survive long-term with this disease. Some of those people are symptom free. And of course, research continues to be done so that one day a cure may be available.

One of the things that influences survival rate is health at the time of diagnosis. Obviously, if you're healthier at the time of diagnosis, you're probably going to have a better chance of beating the disease or at least surviving long-term versus someone who is in poor health. The size of the tumor also matters, as does the amount of fluid in the chest cavity. If the tumor can be completely removed, this also improves the survival rate. The type of cells present (as described above) also matter. If this is a recurrence, then survival rates are likely to be poorer than those of a first diagnosis.

If you have mesothelioma, or if you have a family member who does, don't give up hope. The Internet abounds with resources for those with mesothelioma and their family members. These resources are invaluable, because not only do they allow you to provide support and encouragement to others in the same situation, but you are also privy to the latest developments in treatment. Thus, these types of resources can make an unbearable situation at least easier to deal with. And of course, your health care practitioner will also likely have resources for you. ...

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