Pleural Mesothelioma and it’s Causative Agents » Beatnaija

Pleural Mesothelioma and it’s Causative Agents

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Inhaling asbestos particles can lead to pleural mesothelioma, a cancer that affects cells in your lungs and chest cavity. Pleural mesothelioma is an aggressive type of cancer with no known cure and high mortality rates. People who have been exposed to asbestos are often diagnosed with it over 20 years after their first exposure to asbestos fibers. But, experts suggest that people with greater exposure to asbestos may be diagnosed at a younger age (Source: Mesothelioma Knowledge Center). Unfortunately, due to the latency period associated with developing pleural mesothelioma (an average survival rate of three years), it’s important to take precautions now while you are healthy.

 

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Pleural Mesothelioma and it’s Causative Agents

Inhaling asbestos particles can lead to pleural mesothelioma, a cancer that affects cells in your lungs and chest cavity. Pleural mesothelioma is an aggressive type of cancer with no known cure and high mortality rates. People who have been exposed to asbestos are often diagnosed with it over 20 years after their first exposure to asbestos fibers. But, experts suggest that people with greater exposure to asbestos may be diagnosed at a younger age (Source: Mesothelioma Knowledge Center). Unfortunately, due to the latency period associated with developing pleural mesothelioma (an average survival rate of three years), it’s important to take precautions now while you are healthy.

Pleural mesothelioma is a hardly noticed kind of cancer that appears around the lungs and chest region. Contact and exposure to asbestos causes most cases of pleural mesothelioma. Pleural mesothelioma forms in the pleura (inner tissue linings of the lungs). This thin tissue membrane lines the walls of the chest and covers the lungs.

Pleural mesothelioma got its name from the mesothelium, the inner lining tissues that protects your internal organs. The mesothelium produces a lubricant that keeps organs from sticking together. Abnormal cell multiplication and accumulations that forms in any part of the mesothelium is called mesothelioma.
Approximately 3,000 Americans gets a mesothelioma diagnosis every year to monitor the rate of the disease. Pleural mesothelioma accounts for 3 out of 4 of these Mesothelioma cases.

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ASBESTOS:
This is a group of strong natural mineral fibers that are resistant to fire and chemical. Builders and manufacturers have used asbestos for different purposes over the year. The asbestos fibers are in shingles, floor tiles and ceilings during the construction of different households. Manufacturers use asbestos in automotive brake pads and linings, among many other uses. Asbestos fiber minerals are only hazardous when they’re airborne. Undisturbed asbestos products generally aren’t harmful.

PEOPLE AT RISK OF PLEURAL MESOTHELIOMA:
Asbestos are natural minerals that are found in air, soil and water in most cases. Every human being and animals breathes in small amounts of asbestos throughout their lives. This slight exposure doesn’t increase your chances of getting pleural mesothelioma.

Majority of human being who are diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma have had high levels of great contact with asbestos fibres/dust for a long time say 20 to 60 years. Typically, these exposures took place at their places of work.

WORKERS WITH HIGH RISKS OF ASBESTOS EXPOSURE:

1. Factory, railway and automotive staff.
2. Renovators and demolition building workers.
3. Construction workers and builders, including shipbuilding.
4. Renowned firefighters
5. Insulation producers and installers.
6. Mining sites workers.
7. Plumbers.

MAJOR CAUSES OF PLEURAL MESOTHELIOMA:
If a sample of 8 out of 10 patients with pleural mesothelioma are examined, contact with asbestos and exposure is the cause. Although majority of people who have been exposed to asbestos did not suffer mesothelioma because it takes a very long time to manifest. Only in a very rare situation would you notice that a cancer patient undergoing radiation therapy develops pleural mesothelioma.

Airborne asbestos particles splits into tiny particles too small to see. When you breathe them in, the asbestos fibres settle in your pleura. These asbestos fibres can cause scarring and inflammation. In some cases, they cause cell changes that lead to pleural mesothelioma.

Break pads, floors, ceilings and roofing materials that are intact and containing asbestos are safe and can’t cause pleural mesothelioma. Asbestos only poses a health risk when disturbing the material releases the fibers into the air.

NOTICEABLE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS:
Normally it takes up to 20 to 60 years for pleural mesothelioma to develop after direct contact with asbestos and exposure. Early signs of pleural mesothelioma can be worrisome but easy to be treated. The major signs and symptoms are ongoing chest pain and shortness of breath.

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Some symptoms are:

1. Cough and hoarseness.
2. Difficulty in swallowing food.
3. Lower back pain.
4. Swollen face and hands
5. Fast weight loss.

DETECTION OF PLEURAL MESOTHELIOMA:
Hospitals and other healthcare providers will perform a physical examination of your body, review your medical history and assess risk factors. The following tests are used to diagnose pleural mesothelioma:
1. Blood tests to check for high levels of substances (fibulin-3 and soluble mesothelin-related peptides) often linked to mesothelioma.
2. Chest X-rays to look for lung changes, such as thickening in the pleura or pleural effusion (fluid between the lungs and chest wall).
3. Imaging tests, such as an MRI, CT scan or positron emission tomography (PET) scan to check for signs of cancer.
4. Pleural fluid cytology and biopsy to check fluid in the chest and tissue for cancer cells.

PLEURAL MESOTHELIOMA COMPLICATIONS:
Pleural mesothelioma increases the risk of pleural effusion. This condition occurs when fluid builds up between the lungs and chest wall. You may struggle to breathe.

Your healthcare provider may perform a procedure called a thoracentesis to drain the fluid. Your provider inserts a thin needle into the space between the lungs and chest wall to remove fluid. Some people need a catheter (thin hollow tube) to continually drain the fluid.

TREATMENT OF PLEURAL MESOTHELIOMA:
Pleural mesothelioma is difficult to treat because it isn’t a solid tumor. The disease can spread along nerves, blood vessels and tissues.

Treatments may include:

1. Surgery (pleurectomy): A surgeon removes part or all of the pleura. Sometimes, the surgeon also removes the diseased lung.
2. Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy can shrink the cancer or slow its growth.
3. Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy treatments are now approved and can also shrink cancer or slow its growth.
4. Thoracentesis or catheters: These treatments remove excess fluid from the chest to ease breathing. They can reduce symptoms, but they don’t treat the cancer.
5. Clinical trials: Several therapies show promise in clinical trials. For example, targeted therapy harnesses specific immune-system elements to attack genes and proteins in cancer cells. Talk to your provider to see if you might benefit from a therapy still in development.

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PREVENTIVE MEASURES OF PLEURAL MESOTHELIOMA:
Since the late 1970s, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has regulated the use of asbestos in building materials. EPA also regulates the cleanup of asbestos-containing materials. Many homes, buildings, cars and products made before 1980 are still likely to have asbestos.

Workers at risk for asbestos exposure should wear protective gear to prevent breathing in asbestos. It’s also important to avoid getting the particles on clothing, hair and shoes.

Before you remodel an older home, have an asbestos abatement expert check your home. Removing asbestos in ceilings or walls is unnecessary if you aren’t disturbing those parts of the home. If you plan to take out a wall or drill into a surface that has asbestos, you need to hire an asbestos abatement company to do the job. You should never try to remove materials containing asbestos yourself. This step is important to protect your family’s health.

CARING FOR PATIENTS WITH PLEURAL MESOTHELIOMA:
There isn’t a cure for pleural mesothelioma. Treatments can provide longer life, relieve symptoms and help you stay more comfortable. You can also try therapies that show promise in clinical trials.

Unfortunately, for most people with pleural mesothelioma, life expectancy is one to four years after diagnosis.

VISIT A HOSPITAL ANDSEE A DOCTOR:
You should call your healthcare provider if you’re at risk for pleural mesothelioma and experience:

1. Back or chest pain.
2. Chronic cough or hoarseness.
3. Difficulty breathing or swallowing.
4. Face and body swelling.
5. Instant weight loss.

ENQUIRIES FROM YOUR DOCTOR:
You may want to ask your healthcare provider:

1. Has the cancer spread?
2. What is the best treatment for me?
3. How can I manage symptoms or treatment side effects?
4. Should I look out for signs of complications?
5. A note from Cleveland Clinic

Frequent contact with asbestos and exposure is the top most cause of pleural mesothelioma. Until now, majority of people who have been exposed to asbestos at work or home do not suffer from this cancer. If you have a known asbestos exposure, it’s especially important to be familiar with disease signs and symptoms. Finding out you have pleural mesothelioma can be difficult. The disease has no cure. Your healthcare provider can discuss treatment options with you.

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