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Mesolthelioma is a form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. Asbestos is made up of tiny fibers, often used to make insulation in homes, schools and other buildings. This disease attacks the lining of the heart, lungs and abdomen.
Since asbestos can be found in basic building materials, those at risk for mesolthelioma are largely, but not limited to, construction workers who built our buildings through the seventies. The danger of using this natural occurring mineral was either unkonwn or ignored by health officials. One danger of the disease is that the symptoms are similar to those of general aging, and many people tend to ignore them until more severe, and potentially fatal symptoms occur. It is generally recommended that if you were exposed to asbestos in your younger years, you should have a doctor investigate symptoms similar to any of those described below.
There are several types of malignant mesothelioma.
Pleural Mesothelioma, or cancer of the lung lining, may cause shortness of breath, fluid build-up, chest pain, hoarseness, coughing up blood, muscle weakness, paralysis, sensory loss and swelling of the face and arms. There are two types of surgeries that are commonly performed to cure this disease, both of which involve removing portions of the lungs. The first operation is called a pleurectomy/decortication, which involves the removal of part of the lung lining in order to remove the tumor. The second surgery is called an extrapleural pneumonectomy. During this particular surgery, the lining, diaphragm, pericardium, and the whole lung may be removed in order to completely remove the tumor.
Peritoneal Mesothelioma, or cancer of the abdominal lining, can cause stomach pain, weight loss, nausea, vomiting, hernia, fluid in the abdominal cavity or a mass in the abdomen. A surgery known as a laparotomy may be performed during which the doctor will open up the abdomen to remove the entire tumor.
Pericardial Mesothelioma, or cancer of the heart lining, is very rare, but can cause shortness of breath and chest pain. A surgery called an extrapleural pneumonectomy can be preformed to remove the tumor.
With all Pericardial, Peritoneal and Pleural Mesothelioma, radiation treatments and chemotherapy are also options. Today, the government has strict laws limiting and prohibiting the use of asbestos in building products. Removal of asbestos products from existing buildings is also heavily regulated.