Thursday, November 19, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Conventional mesothelioma therapies include surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. You should keep in mind that if you choose one course of action for mesothelioma treatment, you may preclude other courses. All of your options should be considered as soon as possible.
Many of those being treated for serious illness find comfort in different alternative therapies such as massage and acupuncture. These untraditional methods of disease management can complement conventional therapies and allow the patient to be more at peace and comfortable during this difficult time. Meditation and Yoga are common methods used by many to reach a state of relaxation, and release endorphins, our body's natural pain relievers.
Several forms of mesothelioma treatment such as the drug Alimta®, gene therapy, immunotherapy, photodynamic therapy and multimodality therapy are still in their experimental stages. We invite you to read the following articles on experimental therapies for malignant mesothelioma.
Treatment by Stage
This section lists typical treatment strategies based on the stage (using the Butchart staging system) of a pleural mesothelioma.
Top Cancer Centers for mesothelioma treatment have been listed alphabetically by state for your convenience. Listings include contact information and Web site links where available.
Information about current studies of promising new or experimental mesothelioma treatments.
Mesothelioma symptoms are not specific to the disease; that is, many mesothelioma symptoms are also symptoms of other medical problems. Most studies show that the symptoms of mesothelioma usually begin to appear 30 to 40 years after exposure to asbestos. Thus, many mesothelioma patients are unaware that the symptoms they are experiencing are related to something that happened much earlier in their lives. This allows the disease to further progress, which is one reason most patients’ mesothelioma prognosis is very grim. Even a short period of asbestos exposure (as little as a few months) can create the conditions for a disease that erupts much later in life.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Some elements common to most staging systems are:
- Location of the primary tumor.
- Size and number of the tumors.
- Lymph node involvement.
- Cell type and tumor grade
- In situ - cancer that is present only in the layer of cells in which it began.
- Localized - cancer that is limited to the organ in which it began with no evidence of spread.
- Regional - cancer that has spread from the primary site to nearby lymph nodes or organs.
- Distant - cancer that has spread from the primary site to distant lymph nodes or organs.
- Unknown - cases where not enough information exists to indicate stage.
- Physical examinations. The doctor examines the body by looking, feeling and listening to anything out of the ordinary.
- Imaging techniques. Procedures such as x-rays, CT scans, MRIs and PET scans may show the location, size of the tumor and whether the cancer has spread.
- Laboratory tests. Studies of blood, urine, fluid and tissue can provide information about the cancer. Tumor markers, sometime elevated when cancer is present, may provide information.
- Pathology reports. Results of the examination of tissue samples can include information about the size of the tumor(s), extension into adjacent structures, type of cells and grade of the tumor. Results of the examination of cells in fluid, such as that from a mesothelioma-related pleural effusion, may also provide information.
- Surgical reports. Observations about the size and appearance of the tumor(s), lymph nodes and nearby organs.
The oldest staging system and the one most often used is the Butchart System which is based mainly on the extent of primary tumor mass and divides mesotheliomas into four stages. The more recent TNM system considers variables of tumor in mass and spread, lymph node involvement, and metastasis. The Brigham System is the latest system and stages mesothelioma according to resectability (the ability to surgically remove) and lymph node involvement.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Mesothelioma is caused by long-term, repeated exposure to asbestos fibers. The disease is generally found in four different forms: pleural, peritoneal, pericardial, and testicular. In each case, the cancer develops in mesothelial cells, which form the membranous linings that surround and protect organs. The different names for each type of mesothelioma refer to the point of origin of the cancer.
Mesothelioma can attack the pleural lining around the lungs. It can also attack the peritoneum, a tissue that surrounds the GI tract. Mesothelioma can attack the stomach lining, other internal organs, or even the pericardium (the tissue sac covering the heart). Thus, mesothelioma can be generally classified into the following types:
- Pleural — 75% of all mesothelioma cases
- Peritoneal — 10%–20%
- Pericardial — 5%
Mesothelioma can also be classified by the cancer type rather than the location of the cancer:
- Epithelioid — most common, best survival rate
- Sarcomatoid — most severe, but more rare
- Mixed/biphasic — a mixture of epithelioid and sarcomatoid cancer
Pleural type, in this type the tumors will be developed in Pleura. The Pleura is the most outer membrane surrounds the lungs and has protections functions. Pleural type is the most famous type and the most cases are diagnosed as Pleural mesothelioma.
Peritoneal type, in this case the tumors will be developed in the Peritoneum. The Peritoneum is the outer membrane that surrounds the internal organs of the abdomen and has protection and movement functions. It is less common type but it is more dangerous that the Pleural type.
Pericardial type, in this case the tumors will be developed in the Pericardium. The pericardium is the outer sac that includes the heart and its great arteries. Pericardium is a protective systems for our hearts and the mesothelioma cancer in that systems is very deadly.
1. When asbestos fibers are inhaled, most fibers are expelled, but some can become lodged in the lungs and remain there throughout life. Fibers can accumulate and cause scarring and inflammation. Enough scarring and inflammation can affect breathing, leading to disease.
2. People are more likely to experience asbestos-related disorders when they are exposed to high concentrations of asbestos, are exposed for longer periods of time, and/or are exposed more often.
3. Inhaling longer, more durable asbestos fibers (such as tremolite and other amphiboles) contributes to the severity of asbestos-related disorders.
4. Exposure to asbestos, including tremolite, can increase the likelihood of lung cancer, mesothelioma, and non-malignant lung conditions such as asbestosis (restricted use of the lungs due to retained asbestos fibers) and changes in the lung lining.
5. Changes in the lining of the lungs (pleura) such as thickening, plaques, calcification, and fluid around the lungs (pleural effusion) may be early signs of asbestos exposure. These changes can affect breathing more than previously thought. Pleural effusion can be an early warning sign for mesothelioma (cancer of the lining of the lungs).
6. Most cases of asbestosis or lung cancer in workers occurred 15 years or more after the person was first exposed to asbestos.
7. Most cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed 30 years or more after the first exposure to asbestos.
8. Mesothelioma has been diagnosed in asbestos workers, family members, and residents who live close to asbestos mines.
9. Health effects from asbestos exposure may continue to progress even after exposure is stopped.
10. Smoking or cigarette smoke, together with exposure to asbestos, greatly increases the likelihood of lung cancer.
Signs and Symptoms of asbestosis can include:
Shortness of breath which is the primary symptom
A persistent and productive cough (a cough that expels mucus)
Chest pain Loss of appetite
A dry, crackling sound in the lungs while inhaling.
If you suspect that you have been exposed to asbestos, speak with your physician immediately and discuss your level of exposure. Early detection of mesothelioma increases your chances immeasurably.
Asbestos is an incredibly deadly substance; major exposure to asbestos leads to diseases such asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma, often with fatal effects. Asbestos was one of the most common industrial materials put to use in the twentieth century. The most common way for asbestos fibres to enter the body is through breathing. In fact, asbestos containing material is not generally considered to be harmful unless it is releasing dust or fibres into the air where they can be inhaled or ingested. Many of the fibres will become trapped in the mucous membranes of the nose and throat where they can then be removed, but some may pass deep into the lungs or, if swallowed, into the digestive tract. Once they are trapped in the body, the fibres can cause health problems.
Asbestos exposure has two main pathways:
The first pathway is inhalation – drawing the fibers into the lungs because the fibers are in the air.
The second pathway is ingestion, swallowing asbestos fibers that have contaminated food or water. Asbestos fibers are not soluble in water, and so when asbestos washes into a water source by erosion from nearby rocks, runoff from mines, or asbestos-containing pipes or filters, the fibers can be absorbed by people who drink the water.
Asbestos is the generic term for a group of naturally occurring, fibrous minerals with high tensile strength, flexibility, and resistance to heat, chemicals, and electricity. The three most common types of asbestos are: a) chrysotile, b) amosite and c) crocidolite. Chrysotile, also known as white asbestos and a member of the Serpentine mineral group is the commonest. Asbestos can only be identified under a microscope. Asbestos differs from other minerals in its crystal development. The crystal formation of asbestos is in the form of long thin fibers. Asbestos is divided into two mineral groups:
Serpentine and Amphibole. The division between the two types of asbestos is based upon the crystalline structure. Serpentines have a sheet or layered structure where amphiboles have a chain-like structure. As the only member of the serpentine group, Chrysotile( A, B) is the most common type of asbestos found in buildings. Chrysotile makes up approximately 90%-95% of all asbestos contained in buildings in the United States.
sprayed-on or textured ceiling material
pipe and boiler insulation
floor tiles and associated mastics
cement pipe and sheeting
roofing felts and shingles
drywall and joint compounds
In the amphibole group, there are five types of asbestos. As an acronym for the Asbestos Mines of South Africa, Amosite is the second most prevalent type of asbestos found in building materials. Amosite is also known as "brown asbestos." Next, there is Crocidolite or "blue asbestos," which is an asbestos found in specialized high temperature applications. The other three types (Anthophyllite, Tremolite, and Actinolite) are rare and found mainly as contaminants in other minerals. Asbestos deposits can be found throughout the world and are still mined in Australia, Canada, South Africa, and the former Soviet Union.
A layer of flattened cells. Mesothelium is like a simple squamous epithelium in appearance and is derived from the mesoderm. It lines the coelomic cavities of vertebrates, including the pericardium, pleura, and peritoneum, and some other spaces, such as the synovial sacs.
The only recognized cause of mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos, though other factors such as smoking can make the disease more or less likely in some individuals. Industrial laborers were widely subjected to asbestos exposure on the job, as the material was widely used throughout the 20th century. Few of these workers knew they were being exposed to asbestos, however, despite the fact that many manufacturers were aware the material was hazardous. In most cases, mesothelioma symptoms will not appear in an individual exposed to asbestos until many years after the exposure has occurred. Those who believe they may have been exposed to asbestos should fill out our form to receive a free mesothelioma information packet, detailing treatment options, emerging therapies, and jobsite exposure information.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that affects the membrane that covers and protects various internal organs of the body (mesothelium). The mesothelium is composed of two layers of specialized cells known as mesothelial cells. One layer directly surrounds an organ; the other forms a protective sac around the organ. The most common form of mesothelioma affects the membrane or sac that lines the lungs (pleura). Other common sites include the membrane lining the stomach (peritoneum) and the membrane lining the heart (pericardium).