Friday, 19 October 2012

Mesothelioma: Causes and Symptoms

What is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma or malignant mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that develops from transformed cells originating in the mesothelium, the protective lining that covers many of the internal organs of the body. It is usually caused by exposure to asbestos.

The most common anatomical site for the development of mesothelioma is the pleura (the outer lining of the lungs and internal chest wall), but it can also arise in the peritoneum (the lining of the abdominal cavity), and the pericardium (the sac that surrounds the heart), or the tunica vaginalis (a sac that surrounds the testis).

Causes of Mesothelioma:

1. Most people who develop mesothelioma have worked in jobs where they inhaled asbestos, or were exposed to asbestos dust and fibers in other ways.

2. It has also been suggested that washing clothes of a family member who worked with asbestos increases their risk for developing mesothelioma

Symptoms of Mesothelioma:

1. Chest wall pain
2. Pleural effusion, or fluid surrounding the lung
3. Shortness of breath
4. Fatigue or anemia
5. Wheezing, hoarseness, or cough
6. Blood in the sputum (fluid) coughed up (hemoptysis)

Who Gets Mesothelioma?

People believed to be in the high risk category for getting mesothelioma are those who were exposed to asbestos on a regular basis (six months or more) while on the job. Among the list of occupations closely linked to mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases are:

1. Military veterans (especially the U.S. Navy)
2. Construction workers
3. Demolition or renovation crews
4. Auto mechanics
5. Insulators
6. Shipyard workers
7. Asbestos mine workers or millers
8. Boiler workers
9. Asbestos manufacturing plant workers

People who remember handling asbestos or asbestos-like materials, or those who recall being exposed to thick clouds of asbestos-containing dust while on the job, are at a higher risk for developing mesothelioma. Recently, rescue workers and cleanup crews involved in the removal of debris from the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks in New York City have reported asbestos-related symptoms and lung complications.

Compensation via asbestos funds or class action lawsuits is an important issue in law
practices regarding mesothelioma.

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