Mesothelioma is a very rare form of cancer and is most often found in the mesothelium, which is the protective membrane covering the abdominal cavity. It generally occurs in the pleura, or peritoneum, which is a large muscle-like tissue that covers the stomach and the external abdominal cavity. If the mesothelium is invaded by cancer cells, they tend to travel to the lungs and other areas.
Although it is unusual to find mesothelioma cases among men, it can also occur in both sexes. Although there are many different types of mesothelioma, all of them share common symptoms and characteristics. Some symptoms are:
These symptoms include pain and tenderness of the abdomen, increased appetite, and bowel pattern changes such as stools that are hard and wet. Other common symptoms include:
Because it is difficult to detect a disease in its early stages, new cases of mesothelioma tend to be diagnosed late. Fortunately, this rarely occurs, but there are several steps a person can take to reduce their risk of developing the disease.
First, individuals at risk for developing mesothelioma should avoid being exposed to asbestos, which is a form of silica, carbon or ceramic that was used in certain asbestos products during the course of its manufacture. Asbestos was used in insulation and construction materials, and in many pipes and products, including paint and roofing shingles.
In addition, asbestos exposure can occur from repeated or continued exposure. Exposure to asbestos can result from various sources, including:
It is important to get a mesothelioma diagnosis because it is one of the deadliest forms of cancer. Early detection of the disease can help prevent new cases and greatly reduce the probability of death. New treatments are available, such as:
If an individual is diagnosed with mesothelioma, they may be able to take certain precautions to reduce their risk of developing the disease. This can include taking steps to protect themselves from occupational exposure to asbestos, or the use of safety goggles and earplugs when operating machinery. If the individual believes they have been exposed to asbestos, they should immediately notify their employer.
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