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Friday, August 18, 2006

Mesothelioma Treatments: What Are My Options?

Clinical research to treat malignant mesothelioma is very active and although no treatment has yet proved entirely successful, there exist a range of treatments available to individuals diagnosed with the disease. There are three types of standard treatments used to treat malignant mesothelioma which include: surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.

Surgery

Surgery for malignant mesothelioma is divided into a number of sub-classes, which are specially designed to limit the disease for individuals with particular strains of the disease.

Extrapleural pneumonectomy is a severe form of surgery in which the entire lung and a portion of the lining of the chest, the diaphragm, and some or the entire sac which surrounds the heart is removed.

Wide local excision is a form of surgery which targets and removes the cancer and a limited amount of the healthy tissue surrounding the cancerous region.

Pleurectomy and decortication removes part of the covering of the lungs, as well as the lining of the chest and portions of the outside covering of the lungs.

The surgical procedure pleurodesis is a distinct technique insofar as it employs a blend of chemicals and/or drugs to create an intentional scar between the layers of the pleura. Post surgery, the space created by the scar must be drained, using either a catheter or chest tube, and is then filled with a chemical which inhibits the accumulation of fluid in the pleura cavity.

Radiation

The second primary medical technique used to fight the development of malignant mesothelioma is radiation. Radiation therapy, as applied to malignant mesothelioma uses the same basic technology as other forms of medical radiation insofar as the technique employs high energy x-rays to kill cancer cells. The process is divided into two broad categories:

External radiation therapy is a technique in which a machine sends radiation in a targeted stream at a certain portion of the body, and in so doing it kills the cancerous cells in its purview.

Internal radiation therapy, by contrast, uses not an external machine, but rather needles, seeds and catheters to place radioactive substance directly on or near the cancer. While the precise method of implementation will of course depend upon the type and stage of the illness, what is constant within this category is that the goal is to get the radiation placed directly onto the cancerous area and in so doing provide a more concentrated and directed dosage.

Chemotherapy

The third standard malignant mesothelioma treatment is Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy uses drugs which target cancer cells and stop them from dividing and thus prevent their growth.

In systemic chemotherapy, the drug can be taken by mouth or injected, but either way the goal is to have it reach cancer cells by means of the body’s own blood circulation system. In regional chemotherapy, the drug is placed directly onto the target area. And finally, combination chemotherapy involves the use of two or more anticancer drugs which can be administered either orally or through injection.

Malignant mesothelioma is a difficult disease for anyone to bear, however, educating oneself as to the options available is an important step for making the process more manageable.

by: Robert Linebaugh

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What About Mesothelioma Prevention Legal System?

A lot has been said about what mesothelioma is, what mesothelioma lawyers can do and how can mesothelioma victims sue asbestos companies. It has also being explained in great detail what are the benefits for mesothelioma lawyers, the suing process and the amounts a victim can obtain when winning the case. What about asbestos companies? Were they really unaware of this kind of cancer? What about the government? Did it really have no knowledge whatsoever about what was going on? Shouldn´t this example warn us about how fragile certain legal structures are in practice and how we must fight for our rights?

I think that the best approach when dealing with this kind of issues is asking ourselves what have we done ourselves to promote preventive measures in order to avoid further mesothelioma cases. We do not certainly have the power to influence asbestos companies on our own but as active members of society we can fight for our rights and make extensive our concerns to local government authorities.

Human nature is selfish a lot of times and unfortunately personal interests tend to prevail in many situations over moral aspects. That´s why, it´s so important to make some kind of pressure inside the legal system in order to promote protective laws. Mesothelioma, it´s just another case of many others. There are a lot of similar cases where human lifes were spoiled because of money. That´s not right. If we want to change how things are working right now we have to fight for what we believe is right ASAP. No one is going to spend time and dedicate efforts for something that does not cash into revenue. That´s exactly what´s going on with mesothelioma cases right now. Since a lot of money is involved in the whole legal process, the pieces move really fast. Should this kind of reward always be our source of inspiration?


by: Nick Collebechi

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Monday, July 31, 2006

Mesothelioma

What Exactly Is Mesothelioma ?

Mesothelioma the medical name for cancer of the lung or the abdomen lining, and is usually caused by exposure to asbestos.

Asbestos is a type of building material used in thermal insulation products and ceiling tiles. Asbestos usage peaked during the 1950s - 1970s, but during the late 1960s, concerns over the health consequences of asbestos exposure began to arise, thereby decreasing the amount of asbestos manufactured over the following two decades. But even though new measures where brought in to get rid of it, many schools and public buildings still contain asbestos.

Small asbestos fibers that enter the air do not evaporate and can remain suspended in the air for a long time. These fibers, when breathed into the body, are toxic. The people most at risk are :-

People working in factories that manufacture asbestos are likely to have a high exposure to asbestos and are most at risk of developing asbestosis or mesothelioma.

Family members of workers exposed to asbestos in the workplace are susceptible to exposure from asbestos dust brought home by the worker on his clothes or skin.

Those who live in the vicinity of an asbestos manufacturing plant are also at risk.

Symptoms of mesothelioma may not appear until between twenty and fifty years after exposure, which explains why so many new cases of this form of cancer are coming to light now. Many people who haven't been in contact with asbestos for decades, are now showing symptoms of this dreadful desease.

As with many forms of cancer, mesothelioma can spread rapidly. Symptoms include shortness of breath, coughing, loss of weight, and chest pains. If it is diagnosed early enough, the tumor can be surgically removed, and with chemotherapy and radiation treatment, a full recovery is often possible.

However, in more advanced cases, cure is usually not possible. In such cases, chemotherapy and radiation treatment can be used alongside other pain relief treatments, to ease the symptoms. Where cure is not possible, the average survival time is between four and eighteen months, depending on the stage of the tumor and the general health of the patient.

I was prompted to write about mesothelioma because as a child I lived near a factory which produced asbestos, and I personally know families who have suffered due to this terrible desease.
by: wesley exon
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