Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Asbestos Exposure

A Look Into Mesothelioma, The Cancer Caused By Asbestos

Often called the “asbestos cancer”, mesothelioma is a disease affecting the abdomen, chest and areas around the heart. It is believed that those exposed to even small amounts of asbestos can develop the life threatening disease. This is especially a concern for industrial/construction workers thus often affecting more men than women generally. Even more startling, one may not show symptoms until 40 years later!

Ages Affected

The average age of mesothelioma patients are 50-60 years of age. It is assumed then that one develops mesothelioma when exposed to asbestos, however the disease and its symptoms do not present itself until senior age.

Mesothelioma is a fast moving disease.

Once symptoms begin, the disease progresses rapidly. It is often misdiagnosed as lesser ailments, as the early stages show very little or no symptoms at all. Once diagnosed, it is then defined into what stage the disease has progressed depending on where the cancer is located and how much it has spread to other parts of the body and organs.

Forms of Mesothelioma

The two most common forms of mesothelioma are pleural and peritoneum. As the disease progresses, those stricken with mesothelioma experience the following symptoms:

Pleural Mesothelioma (affecting the membrane lining of the heart and lungs)

* Difficulty breathing

* Weight loss when not dieting

* Fever

* General ill feeling

Peritoneum (affecting the membrane that lines the stomach)

* Swelling of the abdomen

* Abdominal pain

* Anemia

* Fever

* Constipation

* Weight loss when not dieting

* Bowel obstruction

The symptoms described could be symptoms of other ailments, however asbestos exposure is the key element is making a proper diagnosis. Approximately 70-80% of patients afflicted with mesothelioma have been exposed to asbestos. If you have been exposed to asbestos and are experiencing any symptoms, please consult your physician for further diagnosis.


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