What you don’t know can’t hurt you. This isn’t the case when it comes to your health. With Mesothelioma, as with any cancer, your chances are best when caught early. This is why it is important to be informed, especially if you have ever worked with asbestos.
What is Mesothelioma? The American Cancer Society’s web site states, “Mesothelioma affects the tissue that lines different organs and spaces inside the body.” The tumors can start in a number of organs including the lungs, the stomach, and the heart. These tumors can be benign, meaning they are not cancerous. On the other hand, they can be Malignant, meaning they are cancerous.
The most common type of Mesothelioma is the epitheliod type. Fortunately, this type has the best survival rate. No matter which type you have, the treatment is pretty much the same.
The American Cancer Society’s web site states, “About 3 out of 4 Mesothelioma start in the chest cavity.” However, between 10% and 20% of Mesothelioma start in the abdomen. Rarely, Mesothelioma can be found around the heart and even in the tissue around the testicles.
Mesothelioma which is found in the lining of the chest cavity is known as pleural Mesothelioma. The symptoms for this type of Mesothelioma may include the following:
– Lower back pain
– Chest pain
– Shortness of breath
– Weight loss
Mesothelioma which is found in the lining of the abdominal cavity is known as peritoneal Mesothelioma. Symptoms may include the following:
– Stomach pain
– Weight loss
– Swollen abdomen
Most of the symptoms above are general symptoms and can signal many other less serious conditions, but if you have worked with asbestos or have any other reason for believing you may have Mesothelioma, you should talk to your doctor as soon as possible. If your doctor suspects you may have Mesothelioma he will complete a full physical exam, checking for fluid in the chest, abdomen, or heart. Further tests may be ordered which may include imaging tests, fluid or tissue samples, bronchoscopy, or even surgery to remove part or all of the tumor.
As stated above, not knowing whether you have Mesothelioma or simple bronchitis may hurt you. If you are wondering if you have Mesothelioma, don’t. Get to your doctor and find out for sure, and always keep yourself informed. More information can be found on the American Cancer Society’s web site at http://www.cancer.org.