Sunday, July 09, 2006

Because mesothelioma's symptoms are not unique to it and the disease's relative rarity, cases of mesothelioma misdiagnosed are not uncommon. A review of the patient's medical history is an important part in assessing the risk of mesothelioma.

As a first step in diagnosing the disease, the doctor may order an x-ray of the chest or abdomen or a CT (or CAT) scan or MRI may be performed. Although mesothelioma typically cannot be seen on an x-ray, the tumor often causes a pleural effusion, or fluid collection between the lung and chest wall. This abnormal finding is associated with shortness of breath and warrants clinical follow up. Lung function tests may also be completed.

The doctor may look inside the chest cavity with a special instrument called a thoracoscope. A cut will be made through the chest wall and the thoracoscope will be put into the chest between two ribs. This test, called thoracoscopy, is usually done in the hospital. Before the test, the patient will be given a local anesthetic (a drug that causes a loss of feeling for a short period of time). Some pressure may be felt, but usually there is no pain.

The doctor may also look inside the abdomen (peritoneoscopy) with a special tool called a peritoneoscope. The peritoneoscope is put into an opening made in the abdomen. This test is also usually done in the hospital. Before the test is done, a local anesthetic will be given.

If tissue that is not normal is found, the doctor will need to cut out a small piece and have it reviewed under a microscope to see if there are any cancer cells. This is called a biopsy. Biopsies are usually done during the thoracoscopy or peritoneoscopy.

Diagnosing mesothelioma is very difficult, and cases of mesothelioma misdiagnosed are unfortunately not uncommon. It is important to share your case history of work experience (especially in shipyards and at construction sites) and asbestos exposure potential with your physicians if you feel mesothelioma is a risk. Asbestos fibres can also be carried into the home on clothing, inadvertently exposing the deadly fibres, and the risk of mesothelioma, to family members.

A mesothelioma diagnosis is serious, but treatments are available. The chance of recovery (prognosis) depends on the size of the cancer, where the cancer is, how far the cancer has spread, how the cancer cells look under the microscope, how the cancer responds to treatment, and the patient's age. As with most types of cancer, early diagnosis is an excellent first step in fighting the disease.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Palliative Procedures

Palliative surgical procedures are those which treat a symptom of mesothelioma, without aggressively treating the disease itself.

Chest Tube Drainage and Pleurodesis is considered the most common of palliative treatments. Fluid build-up, or pleural effusion, is most often the first symptom which will prompt mesothelioma patients to seek medical attention. Once this effusion has occurred, it is many times persistent, returning rapidly after initial thoracentesis (draining of the fluid). In order to eliminate this problem, the pleural space must be closed. This is accomplished by use of a talc slurry or other sclerosing agent which produces an adhesion.

Thoracoscopy and Pleurodesis is done in conjunction with VATS using a powdered form of talc versus talc slurry. Both this and chest tube drainage and pleurodesis will be only effective if there is no tumor encasing the lung which restricts its expansion.

Pleuroperitoneal Shunt plays a limited role in palliation for several reasons. It involves placement of a catheter run under the skin from the pleural to the peritoneal cavity. Obstruction of the catheter and possible seeding of the tumor into the abdominal cavity may be concerns.

Pleurectomy, used as a palliative procedure, may be performed where more extensive surgery is not an option. In these cases, it is understood that all visible or gross tumor will not be removed. It is considered the most effective means of controlling pleural effusion in cases where the lung's expansion is restricted by disease.

TIME MATTERS

People diagnosed with this disease are often told the expected survival rate is only eight to twelve months. However, specialists in treating malignant mesothelioma at the leading cancer centers often have better statistics. For instance, the five-year survival rate has approached 40% for selected patients.


What is MESOTHELIOMA?

Mesothelioma is one of the deadliest diseases known to man; the average life span of an inflicted person from the time of diagnosis until death is less than 24 months. It’s a disease that strikes approximately 3,000 United States citizens each and every year; hard working people who have labored for a lifetime to provide for their families, doing the work that keeps this country running and a great place to live. They worked in factories, at shipyards, in mines, for the US military, as engineers, as pipefitters, as steel workers, as auto mechanics, and in so many other professions. They came home to their loved ones exhausted and covered in dirt and dust; tired, but content that they had a job and were providing for their family. Content that they were putting food on the table and a house over their loved one’s heads. Content that they were working to make a better life for their families in this generation and the next...

But what they didn’t know was that while they were working so hard, they were not only slowly killing themselves, but those that they were working so hard to help; their family, their loved ones.


Sincere Thanks To "http://www.mesolink.org/"


Abdominal mesothelioma, also known as peritoneal mesothelioma, is one form of a rare asbestos-linked cancer, mesothelioma. The abdominal mesothelioma, as the name suggests, is a cancer of the tissues in the abdominal cavity. Abdominal mesothelioma generally affects men ages 50-70, although women make up about one-fifth of all abdominal mesothelioma cases.
Abdominal pains, abdominal weakness, weight loss, loss of appetite, nausea, and abdominal swelling are all abdominal mesothelioma symptoms. Patients exhibiting these symptoms are usually scheduled for further examinations to search for other abdominal mesothelioma signs. If an X-ray or CT scan indicates signs that the patient indeed may have abdominal mesothelioma, a biopsy is conducted, allowing the physician to determine the malignancy level. Any abdominal mesothelioma treatment will be determined by the physician and patient, taking into account the stage of the abdominal mesothelioma, the location and sizes of any tumors, and the age and health of the patient. Abdominal mesothelioma has a very high mortality rate, and in many cases, diagnosis occurs when the abdominal mesothelioma has already progressed too far. In such cases, all actions focus on making the abdominal mesothelioma as comfortable as possible, often removing portions of the tumor to relieve pressure.Abdominal mesothelioma patients may be able to recover part or all of the costs of treating abdominal mesothelioma, due to its strong links to asbestos exposure.