Mesothelioma


LS 120, Lab LS 111


Bio 20


May 6, 2003


Asbestos is the name given to a group of six different fibrous minerals (amosite, chrysotile, crocidolite, and the fibrous varieties of tremolite, actinolite, and anthophyllite) that occur naturally in the environment. Asbestos minerals have separable long fibers that are strong and flexible enough to be spun and woven and are heat resistant. Because of these characteristics, asbestos has been used for a wide range of manufactured goods, mostly in building materials (roofing shingles, ceiling and floor tiles, paper products, and asbestos cement products), friction products (automobile clutch, brake, and transmission parts), heat-resistant fabrics, packaging, gaskets, and coatings. Some vermiculite or talc products may contain asbestos.


It is known that breathing asbestos can increase the risk of cancer in people. There are two types of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos: lung cancer and mesothelioma.


Mesothelioma is a cancer of the thin lining surrounding the lung (pleural membrane) or abdominal cavity (the peritoneum). Cancer from asbestos does not develop immediately, but shows up after a number of years. Studies of workers also suggest that breathing asbestos can increase chances of getting cancer in other parts of the body (stomach, intestines, esophagus, pancreas, and kidneys), but this is less certain.


Early identification and treatment of any cancer can increase an individual\'s quality of life and survival.


Malignant mesothelioma attacks the lining of the lungs, heart and/or abdomen.


Mesothelioma strikes over 3,000 people each year. The disease is almost exclusively caused by asbestos exposure. Asbestos is a known toxin that irresponsible companies continued to market for decades in the face of scientific evidence proving its danger.


Mesothelioma is a highly aggressive cancer that comes in two forms (peritoneal or pleural) and is almost always caused by asbestos exposure.


Mesothelioma is the term used to describe a cancerous tumor that involves the mesothelial cells of an organ. Mesothelial cells are cells that form a protective lining over the lungs, heart and abdominal organs. The most common type of mesothelioma is pleural mesothelioma. The pleura are a thin membrane found between the lungs and the chest cavity. It provides a lubricated surface so that the lungs do not rub and chafe against the chest walls.


Virtually all cases of mesothelioma are related to inhaling of asbestos fibers. There are about 3,000 cases per year (mostly men over the age of 40) and there will be about 300,000 cases before 2030.


Mesothelioma usually spreads rapidly through the mesothelial cells to the heart and abdominal organs. The life span is typically 24 months after diagnosis, but it depends on what stage the cancer is detected, the health of the patient and other factors. Although asbestos exposure causes mesothelioma, it has a latency period after exposure that could last 15 to 50 years. This means that someone who worked in a factory with asbestos 40 years ago could be developing mesothelioma now. Anyone who knows they were exposed to loose asbestos fibers should be tested regularly for mesothelioma.


The onset of mesothelioma is usually very slow. The first symptom is a constant pain in the chest. This pain is later accompanies by difficulty breathing due to an accumulation of fluid in the chest. Other symptoms include coughing, fever and weight loss. Mesothelioma can be by your doctor with a diagnosed with a chest CT-scan.


Mesothelioma advances in 4 stages:


Stage I - the tumor is limited to the area of the lining of the lung and usually limited to only one side of the chest. Stage II - the tumor extends to other organs within the chest cavity, such as the heart or lymph nodes in the chest. Stage III - the tumor expands to the other side of the chest or it spreads into the abdominal organs. The lymph nodes outside the chest are affected. Stage IV -the cancer spreads to different parts of the body far outside the chest area (liver, brain, bone, etc.)


Mesothelioma is an extremely deadly disease. The average survival time is about one year from date of diagnosis. About 20% of patients who find their cancer early and treat it aggressively will reach the five-year mark.


Mesothelioma is nearly always related to Asbestos exposure. Asbestos is an extremely dangerous material and low exposure levels can trigger Mesothelioma. This means that even family members