Mesothelioma Cancer, pericadial Mesothelioma Cancer,pleural Mesothelioma Cancer, peritoneal Mesothelioma Cancer
Prognosis and Survival of Mesothelioma PatientsWhen diagnosed with mesothelioma, the prognosis is usually poor, as there is no cure for the disease, and typically it is discovered at a late stage of development. Generally, the earlier mesothelioma is diagnosed, the better prognosis a patient has.
- How a disease will progress. A prognosis can be good or bad, and may include a life expectancy estimate.
- Life Expectancy
- How long a patient can expect to survive. This may change with treatment and other developments.
- Survival Rate
- A statistic (percentage or ratio) indicating how many people live a certain amount of time after diagnosis.
- The cell type and location of the tumor(s)
- Whether the disease has spread (metastasized)
- Overall health of the individual
- Age of the individual at diagnosis
Surviving MesotheliomaWhile prognosis is generally poor, there is still hope of survival. For example, Heather Von St. James is a 10-year mesothelioma survivor who has become an advocate for mesothelioma awareness and an outspoken proponent of banning asbestos. Other mesothelioma survivors have shared their stories, which can inspire those who have mesothelioma.
Types of Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is most commonly classified by the location in the body where it develops. Specifically, the cancer forms in the lining of certain organs or spaces within the body, known as the mesothelium. Mesothelioma typically develops in one of three specific areas.
Pleural MesotheliomaLungsThe most common type, pleural mesothelioma is caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibers.
Peritoneal MesotheliomaAbdomenInhaled or swallowed asbestos fibers can become trapped in lining of the abdomen (the peritoneum).
Pericardial MesotheliomaHeartIn rare cases, asbestos fibers can get lodged in the pericardium, the lining around the heart cavity.
Mesothelioma most commonly forms (between 80 to 90 percent of the time) in the pleura of the lungs as shown below:
SymptomsThe symptoms associated with mesothelioma can often look like conditions related to other diseases, which makes it very difficult to diagnose. Some common symptoms of mesothelioma include:
- Trouble breathing or chest pain
- Effusion (fluid buildup) in the lungs or abdomen
- Anemia (especially in women)
- Nausea / vomiting
- Loss of weight
Diagnostic TestsTypically, doctors will try to diagnose the disease by eliminating other potential or related diseases and conditions first. This often involves a variety of tests that provide differing levels of information from which to make a determination about the disease.
Imaging TestsImaging tests can include x-rays, CT scans, PET scans, and MRIs, each of which provide a different level of sight into the body without using surgical methods. Because they are non-invasive, these types of imaging tests are often the first forms of diagnostic tool used in detecting mesothelioma.
Stage 1The mesothelioma tumor is located in only one area and has not spread to other parts of the body.
Stage 2A large tumor may have progressed to nearby areas and/or the lymph nodes, but has not gone on any further.
Stage 3Tumors have typically spread beyond the local area to several nearby locations and the lymph nodes.
Stage 4The tumors have spread into multiple areas and throughout the lymphatic system, invading other organs throughout the body.
For late-stage mesothelioma patients, these treatments may be used palliatively to reduce pain and discomfort caused by the symptoms of mesothelioma.
Many treatment plans use an approach known as multimodal therapy, which employs two or more of these treatment methods in combination.
Clinical Trials and Emerging TreatmentsDepending on various factors such as the patient’s age, tumor location, cell type, staging, and other considerations, some patients may be eligible to participate in a clinical trial. These trials test new and emerging treatments that could ultimately lead to much better therapy options – and potentially even a cure.
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