What is Mesothelioma?
The National Cancer Institute states that: “Malignant mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer, is a disease in which cancer (malignant) cells are found in the sac lining the chest (the pleura), the lining of the abdominal cavity (the peritoneum) or the lining around the heart (the pericardium).”
How do you get Mesothelioma?
Most people with malignant mesothelioma have worked on jobs where they breathed asbestos. Others have been exposed to asbestos in a household environment, often without knowing it. To learn more about the different ways in which people have been exposed, click here.
How much exposure does it take to get the disease?
An exposure of as little as one or two months can result in mesothelioma 30 or 40 years later.
How long does it take after exposure for the disease to show up?
People exposed in the 1940s, 50s, 60s, and 70s are now being diagnosed with mesothelioma because of the long latency period of asbestos disease.
Pathology and The Role of Pathologists in the Diagnostic Process
Pathology, or the scientific study of cells, tissue, or fluid taken from the body is an integral part of a mesothelioma diagnosis. Most hospitals have their own pathology labs staffed by board-certified pathologists and licensed technologists. The importance of pathological diagnosis can not be underestimated, since the course of treatment is dependent upon an accurate diagnosis.
To make a diagnosis, pathologists examine tissue under a microscope, and based on established criteria, make a determination of benign vs. malignant cells. Subsequently, the type of cancer is determined. Although most pathologists have a general expertise of various diseases, a small number acquire training in a subspecialty, such as mesothelioma. These are physicians who have received world-wide recognition as premier experts, and have achieved high acclaim for their research, published articles and abstracts, and teaching. For a list of expert pathologists in the field of mesothelioma diagnosis, please call the MW toll free at 1-877-367-6376 or fill in the form at the bottom of this page specifying your request.
What is the prognosis for mesothelioma?
Like most cancers, the prognosis for this disease often depends on how early it is diagnosed and how aggressively it is treated. Click on Treatment Options to find out more about traditional and new approaches.
Is there any promising research or are there promising drugs for mesothelioma?
Research is being conducted at various cancer centers all over the United States as well as by pharmaceutical companies. To find more about these studies, click on Clinical Trials. To read abstracts of the latest journal articles on mesothelioma research and to access these articles, click on Medical Journal Articles; or Mesothelioma News for news articles. A recent study of Alimta showed patients living much longer with Alitma than other chemotherapy drugs.
Where can I find information on living with mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma Aid is a good website for resource for families dealing with mesothelioma. It includes advice and referrals to other resources for coping with cancer, caregiving, financial challenges, and support groups. Alternatively, contact us here at Mesothelioma Web for help finding resources for living with this disease.
What kinds of other resources are available for people with mesothelioma? There are numerous cancer web sites, some specific to mesothelioma. Because they are often difficult to locate, we have listed some relevant medical sites under Leading Cancer Links. We are always on the lookout for more so check our site often.