Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Causes of Plueral Mesothelioma

Monday, April 21, 2014

Mesothelioma Vaccine

Recent studies by researchers in the Netherlands have found promising results in preventative therapies for mesothelioma. Using cancer-fighting antigens within the body's immune system, mesothelioma patients have responded positively in most cases when treated with the mesothelioma vaccine. The hope is now that this therapy can be applied to those who may be at risk of developing mesothelioma in the future, particularly those who have been exposed to asbestos but have yet to develop asbestos disease.

Mesothelioma Prevention

Mesothelioma is known only to be caused by exposure to asbestos, a naturally occurring fibrous mineral that was used for many years as an industrial insulation component. As such, the best mesothelioma prevention is the avoidance of exposure to asbestos. However, in recent years, physicians and cancer specialists have been developing a mesothelioma vaccine that will arm the body's immune system with cancer fighting anti-bodies and antigens in those who are at risk for the development of mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma and Women

Many women that have been diagnosed with mesothelioma had no direct exposure to asbestos from working in industrial job settings. Instead they discover that they are victims of second-hand asbestos exposure that occurred while washing their husband's clothes that came home from work with asbestos fibers on them.

Child Mesothelioma

Childhood diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma is extremely rare, although it has been documented. Mesothelioma is known only to be caused by exposure to asbestos and takes many years following exposure to asbestos to manifest in adults. Generally speaking, childhood mesothelioma is considered to be unrelated to asbestos exposure.

Adult Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is most common in adults. Adults who have asbestos exposure history are typically those most at risk for the development of malignant mesothelioma. It can take many years for those exposed to asbestos exposure to exhibit the effects of exposure and, as such, mesothelioma is most often diagnosed in older individuals, often up to 40 years following exposure.

Mesothelioma Latency Period

Typically, there is a great deal of time between an individual's exposure to asbestos and the development of asbestos-related health complications. Mesothelioma is associated with a long-latency period (often 20-50 years) after exposure. Over a long period of time, lodged asbestos fibers slowly inflame the lung's external tissue, often serving as a pre-cursor to the development of malignant mesothelioma.

What are Typical Patient Survival Rates Following a Mesothelioma Diagnosis?

As mesothelioma is often diagnosed in its advanced stages, the prognosis from mesothelioma is often in the range of a year after diagnosis. If diagnosed early enough, however, survival may potentially extend over many years. Patient survival rates are often contingent on the treatments available to the particular patient.

Does Mesothelioma Occur in a Particular Sex or Racial Demographic More than Another?

Mesothelioma is much more common in men than women, due mostly to occupational asbestos exposure being more common among men of industrial labor sites. That is not to say, however, that women cannot be diagnosed with mesothelioma. In fact, recent evidence suggests that mesothelioma incidence in women may rise in the coming years as secondary exposures to asbestos can manifest in the form of a positive mesothelioma diagnosis. Also of note is that mesothelioma is much less common among African Americans than in Caucasians, the reasons for which researchers are still investigating.

What is the Typical Age at Diagnosis?

The first diagnosis of mesothelioma typically occurs in men and women between the ages of 50 and 70 years. Mesothelioma patients, certainly, have been diagnosed at ages younger than 50 and older than 70, but diagnoses for those age groups are considered statistical anomalies.

How Common is Mesothelioma

New cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed in between 2,500 and 3,000 Americans each year. These numbers, while significant, would indicate that mesothelioma is still a relatively rare disease, though incidence is expected to rise in the next decade according to projections.

What is Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma (or, more precisely, malignant mesothelioma) is a rare form of cancer that develops from cells of themesothelium, the protective lining that covers many of the internal organs of the body. Mesothelioma is most commonly caused by exposure to asbestos.The most common anatomical site for mesothelioma is the pleura (the outer lining of thelungs and internal chest wall), but it can also arise in the peritoneum (the lining of the abdominal cavity), the pericardium (the sac that surrounds the heart), or the tunica vaginalis (a sac that surrounds the testis).
Most people who develop mesothelioma have worked in jobs where they inhaled or ingested asbestos fibers, or were exposed to airborne asbestos dust and fibers in other ways. Washing clothes of a family member who worked with asbestos also creates a risk for developing mesothelioma. Unlike lung cancer, there seems to be no association between mesothelioma and tobacco smoking, but smoking greatly increases the risk of other asbestos-induced cancers.

Signs and symptoms of mesothelioma include shortness of breath due to pleural effusion (fluid between the lung and the chest wall), chest wall pain and constitutional signs such as unexplained weight loss. The diagnosis may be suspected based on chest X-ray and CT scan findings, but must be confirmed either by examining serous effusion cytology or with abiopsy (removing a sample of the suspicious tissue). A thoracoscopy (inserting a tube with a camera into the chest) can be used to acquire biopsy material, and allows the introduction of substances such as talc to obliterate the pleural space (a procedure called pleurodesis), preventing more fluid from accumulating and pressing on the lung. Despite treatment withchemotherapy, radiation therapy or sometimes surgery, mesothelioma carries a poor prognosis. Research about screening tests for the early detection of mesothelioma is ongoing.