What Is Mesothelioma?
- Casey Hamm
- August 14, 2019
Mesothelioma is a rare cancer that is almost always related to inhalation of asbestos fibers. In many cases, the person worked in construction or manufacturing and regularly handled asbestos without taking breathing precautions. This cancer occurs in the pleura, the thin membrane that lies between the lungs and the chest wall.
This type of cancer grows aggressively and is often deadly. There are treatments available for mesothelioma, but the eradication of mesothelioma is often impossible.
According to the American Lung Association, about 80% of people who get a mesothelioma diagnosis were exposed to asbestos. When a person breathes in and inhales asbestos fibers, these tiny fibers can embed in the lungs and build up in the thin membrane that lines the outside of the lungs, the pleura.
As more and more asbestos fibers build up, inflammation and irritation occur in the mesothelial cells of the pleura. This can lead to cancerous lesions between the lungs and the chest wall, pleural effusion, pain, shortness of breath, and other symptoms.
In rare cases, this type of cancer can also grow in other areas of the body, such as the abdominal lining, with a similar membrane.
Treatment and Prognosis After a Mesothelioma Diagnosis
American Cancer Society statistics show that mesothelioma is often deadly. There are treatments available, but there is no known cure. Some people respond well to treatment, but many rely on palliative care—treatment that eases symptoms but does not cure cancer—to stave off serious symptoms if possible.
In general, the five-year survival rates for people diagnosed between 2008 and 2014 include:
- Eighteen percent of patients are still alive five years after diagnosis when the cancer is only in the pleura
- Eleven percent of patients are still alive after five years when cancer has spread to the local lymph nodes or other locations in the region
- Seven percent when cancer metastasizes to distant areas of the body
Overall, the five-year survival rate was only 9% when comparing their risk of death to that of their same-age peers without mesothelioma.
Of course, looking at statistics does not tell the whole story for what could happen to you or your loved one. Many factors play a role in how well an individual patient will do in the fight against mesothelioma. This includes:
- The age of the patient
- The overall health of the patient
- Where/if cancer spreads after initial diagnosis
- If the location of cancer allows surgical removal (resection)
- The type of mesothelioma
Depending on the stage of the mesothelioma, some factors that can lead to longer survival times include:
- Maintained mobility and activities of daily living, independent living
- Younger age at the time of diagnosis
- Women tend to survive longer than men
- Having epithelioid mesothelioma
- Having normal LDH levels
- Having normal readings of red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and other blood parts
It is also important to note that research is ongoing for treatments and a cure for mesothelioma every day. The five-year survival rates consider those who received their diagnosis at least five years ago.
Talk to an Attorney About a Mesothelioma Lawsuit
If you or a loved one has mesothelioma after asbestos exposure, you may be eligible to pursue compensation for the costs of treatment, pain, and suffering, and other damages you experience. At Zanes Law, a mesothelioma and asbestos lung cancer lawyer can make this process convenient and straightforward for you and your family.
Call us as soon as possible for a free review of your case. We can handle your free case consultation and sign-up all on the same call. A member of our team is available immediately. Call (866) 499-8989 to get started today.
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