Mesothelioma, or “M-a-s-t-h-e-l-i-a”, is a rare form of cancer that is caused by the exposure to asbestos. The symptoms of mesothelioma vary from person to person, depending on the amount of asbestos exposure.
Generally, malignant mesothelioma is caused by the exposure to a substance with the highest level of asbestos possible. This includes not only asbestos but also many other materials such as cement, plastics, rubber, tar, wool, and paper. The growth of malignant mesothelioma occurs within the lining of the chest, neck, or abdominal organs. These organs include the lungs, liver, heart, and intestines.
The cancer is typically diagnosed when the affected organ is in the first stage of its development. A doctor can diagnose mesothelioma when it is in this stage. First, the affected area is measured to be in the area of the chest, under the arm. The skin over the affected area is then measured. If the skin is more than one inch thick, then this would be considered to be clinically confirmed mesothelioma.
Secondly, the lung tissue is measured. The measurement of the lung is called the L-width. The measurement of the lung is also considered to be clinically confirmed mesothelioma if the total length of the lung is also more than one inch. Furthermore, the lung measurements must be less than six inches for the lungs to be considered to be clinically confirmed mesothelioma.
The third stage of the diagnosis is determining the extent of the chest wall damage. A chest x-ray is used to do this. The lungs and chest walls are cutting open using a laser. X-rays of the tissue taken from the sample of tissue under the tissue sample are then studied to determine the extent of the chest wall damage.
Clinical confirmation usually comes with the diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma. Usually, once the above three stages have been reached, the doctor will then perform further tests and procedures to confirm the diagnosis. Once the diagnosis is established, treatment options will be discussed and determined.
Typically, some toxic treatments will be used. However, mesothelioma may also respond well to alternative cancer treatments. These include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery.
No one knows when a cancer will develop. Therefore, in order to prevent mesothelioma from becoming advanced and causing additional damage, the affected person should receive regular screenings and also remain regularly healthy.
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