Mesothelioma Case Study – Mesothelioma is a malignant growth or cancer affecting the membrane of the lung surface or inner chest wall. Although there appear to be other causes of this disease, there is a significant association between it and exposure to asbestos, especially crocidolite. Although in some recorded cases this exposure has been considerable, in others it has taken the form of an association with asbestos mining or people involved in asbestos mining. Mesothelioma has a long latency period, the interval between first exposure and the development of symptoms varying in the United Kingdom between 25 and 50 years with an average of 33 years.
- Mesothelioma that occurs in the pleura or in the lining of the lungs is called pleural mesothelioma. It is the most common form of mesothelioma.
- Mesothelioma that occurs in the lining of the abdomen called peritoneum is referred to as peritoneal mesothelioma. It is the second most common form.
- Mesothelioma that occurs in the protective layer of the heart is referred to as pericardial mesothelioma. This type is the rarest. It occurs more in males than in females.
In 2015, about 60,800 people had the disease and 32,000 deaths were recorded. Only about 9% of people diagnosed with the condition live longer than five years.
- The most common cause of mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos. Asbestos refers to a set of six types of silicate mineral that is naturally occurring.
- Asbestos is made up of fibers that are soft and flexible yet resistant to heat, fire, and several chemicals.
- Asbestos is used in a wide variety of applications such as insulation, brakes, shingles, flooring, and many other products.
- When asbestos is broken down such as when removing asbestos insulation, or during the mining process, the dust has created the fibers can be airborne.
- They can then be inhaled or swallowed and can settle permanently in the lungs or stomach, where they cause irritation that causes mesothelioma.
- After asbestos exposure, it can take 20 to 40 years before mesothelioma can develop.
There are different types of mesothelioma, depending on where it is found in the body. In the abdomen, it is called peritoneal mesothelioma; on the lungs, it is called pleural mesothelioma; and if it develops on the heart, pericardial mesothelioma. Here you can find specific descriptions of them:
- Pleural Mesothelioma
- Peritoneal Mesothelioma
- Benign Mesothelioma
Pleural mesothelioma is a cancer of the cells that make up the pleura or lining around the outside of the lungs and inside of the ribs. Its only known cause in the U.S. is previous exposure to asbestos fibers, including chrysotile, amosite, or crocidolite. This exposure is likely to have happened twenty or more years before the disease becomes evident since it takes many years for the disease to “incubate.” It is the most common type of mesothelioma, accounting for about 75% of all cases.
Mesothelioma is sometimes diagnosed by coincidence before there are any symptoms. For instance, tumors have been discovered through routine chest x-rays. However, when symptoms occur, they may include shortness of breath, weakness, weight loss, loss of appetite, chest pains, lower back pains, persistent coughing, difficulty in swallowing, alone or in combination. An initial medical examination often shows a pleural effusion, which means an accumulation of fluid in the pleural space – the area between the lungs and the chest wall.
The first step in detecting pleural mesothelioma is, typically, a chest x-ray or CT scan. This is often followed by a bronchoscopy, using a viewing scope to look inside the lungs.
The actual diagnosis usually requires obtaining a piece of tissue through a biopsy. This could be a needle biopsy, an open biopsy, or through a tube with a camera (thoracoscopy or chest scope.) If an abnormality is seen through the camera then a tissue sample can be taken at the same time, using the same tube. This is a hospital procedure that requires anesthesia but is not usually painful. The tissue sample is tested by a pathologist.
Factors that may increase the risk of mesothelioma include:
A personal history of asbestos exposure is seen in people who minus(-) asbestos, work with asbestos products, produce products from asbestos, or work in a building containing asbestos, living with asbestos workers.
symptoms vary depending on the type of mesothelioma.
1.Pleural mesothelioma: shortness of breath, unintended weight loss, coughing often painful, chest pain under the ribcage, fatigue. In severe cases, pneumothorax, lung collapse, tumor under the skin of the chest.
2. Peritoneal mesothelioma: Abdominal swelling, pain in the abdomen, weight loss, fever night sweats, poor appetite, constipation, vomiting. In cases where cancer has spread to other parts of the body, trouble swallowing, swelling of the neck and face.
3. Pericardial mesothelioma: shortness of breath, low blood pressure, chest pain, extreme fatigue, heart palpitations.
Diagnosis (Mesothelioma Case Study)
Diagnosis is suspected with imaging scans but biopsy is used for confirmation. The doctor will review your medical history and carry out a physical examination to check for lumps or any unusual signs followed by chest x-ray and lung function tests. A CT scan or MRI is also usually used to check for abnormalities. A biopsy can be used to confirm the diagnosis. The type of biopsy depends on where the symptoms are options include fine-needle aspiration, thoracoscopy, laparoscopy, thoracotomy, laparotomy. Diagnosis will check if cancer is present and how far it has spread. we can read in Mesothelioma Case Study that The stage of the cancer is between stage 1 to stage 4.
Stage 1 mesothelioma: The cancer is confined to the mesothelium and has not spread.
In stage 4 mesothelioma: cancer has spread around the chest and to different organs.
Treatment options depend on the location the stage age and the patient’s general health. For most people, a cure isn’t possible because the condition is usually diagnosed at the late stage when it is impossible to remove cancer with surgery. The only remaining option in many cases is trying to control cancer to make you more comfortable.
Treatment options may include:
- Surgery: when the condition is diagnosed early surgeons work to remove the tumor. In cases where it is impossible to remove the tumor surgery may help to reduce symptoms.
- Surgical options may include: surgery to decrease fluid buildup, surgery to remove the tissue around the lungs, or pleuractimy, or the tissue lining the abdominal cavity apronectomy.
- Radiation therapy that uses powerful energy beams such as x-rays to kill the cancer cells.
- Chemotherapy that involves using medication injected intravenously or taken orally to kill the cancer cells.
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