Mesothelioma is one of the most challenging forms of cancer for a number of reasons. One of the most difficult aspects of the condition is not only that it is always fatal, but that even given that poor prognosis it is very difficult to provide the patient or their family with any kind of concrete information about what to expect. Patients who would be anticipated to have good outcomes and extended survival times can suddenly succumb to the disease, while those who are initially told that they have only a matter of weeks can find themselves responding well to treatment and living for months, or even years. Malignant mesothelioma has been the subject of a great deal of investigation, yet in many ways it remains a mystery.
For those who are suffering from malignant mesothelioma, the difficulties of the disease are made worse by the financial uncertainty that it brings. We are here to help, and can provide you with valuable information about significant compensation that you may be eligible to receive. Contact us today to receive a free Financial Compensation Packet, or to speak with one of our compassionate professionals about your legal rights.
The Importance of Early Diagnosis
Mesothelioma is an illness that has a long latency period. This means that there is generally an extended period of time between when the illness first takes hold – when the patient is exposed to asbestos – and the time that symptoms begin to appear. During this period, the cancer is slowly growing within the victim’s body. Though it is impossible to know who will actually get mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos, it is imperative that those who know that they have been in the presence of this toxic material remain vigilant about their own health and inform their physician about their history of exposure. The earlier that a diagnosis can be made, the better the chances of having a good prognosis that offers a longer period of survival.
The Different Areas That Are Vulnerable to Mesothelioma
There are several different types of mesothelioma, and each impacts a different area of the body. Though pleural mesothelioma – which impacts the lungs – and peritoneal mesothelioma – which impacts the abdominal organs – are the two most commonly diagnosed forms of the disease, it can also appear in the pericardial region around the heart or in the area around the testes.
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that specifically attacks the mesothelium, a specialized organ that provides a slippery lining for other organs. The mesothelium allows the various organs to slide next to one another without impeding function. When asbestos fibers, which are pointy, become embedded in the cells of the mesothelium, it causes cell death and mutation of the surrounding cells. Malignant tumors form and eventually compress the organs, eventually infiltrating the areas that are close by.
It is believed that pleural mesothelioma occurs when asbestos fibers are ingested and become trapped in the cells lining the lungs, while peritoneal mesothelioma forms when those same fibers are ingested or swallowed and become lodged in the cells lining the abdominal organs. Testicular and pericardial mesothelioma is more of a mystery, and many scientists believe that it has spread from tumors in the lungs or the abdomen.
Though the prognosis for mesothelioma is never good, patients who have been diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma generally have the longest anticipated survival rates. This is in large part due to the fact that the tumors are easily accessible for surgery.
Different Types of Mesothelioma Cells
In addition to being differentiated by where it is located in the body, mesothelioma is also made up of three distinctly different cell types. They are:
- Epithelioid mesothelioma
- Biphasic mesothelioma
- Sarcomatoid mesothelioma
Epithelioid is the most commonly seen cell type, appearing in 50 to 60% of mesothelioma patients. By contrast, biphasic mesothelioma is seen in only 30 to 40% of patients and sarcomatoid mesothelioma cells are seen in only 10 to 20% of patients. Though all cell types are considered fatal, patients who are diagnosed with epithelioid mesothelioma generally respond better to available cancer protocols and have the most extended survival rates.
How to Determine a Mesothelioma Patient’s Prognosis
When a patient is told that they have mesothelioma, the first thing that they want to know is how long they have to live. Though it is impossible to provide an accurate answer to that question, there are a number of different factors that determine overall prognosis. These include:
- How soon the mesothelioma is diagnosed? Of all of the contributing actors, the most important is when the cancer has been detected and how far it has spread. The earlier the cancer is diagnosed, the more treatment options are available and the higher the likelihood that they will be effective.
- How much of an impact the disease is having on the patient’s life? If the mesothelioma patient is already having difficulty in breathing or eating, or is experiencing a great deal of pain or other symptoms, these are indications that their prognosis is poor.
- How healthy is the patient at the time of diagnosis? The younger and healthier a mesothelioma patient is when they are diagnosed, the better their chances of having a longer survival period. Health factors that have the biggest determining factor include the patient’s age, whether they live an active lifestyle and eat healthy food, whether they are a healthy body weight and whether they have a strong and positive outlook. A patient who is diagnosed when they are already battling other illnesses such as obesity or diabetes has a significantly reduced prognosis.
Mesothelioma is one of the rarest and most challenging forms of cancer to treat. It can be extremely frustrating for the patient as well as for the practitioner providing their care.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you need as much information as you can get in order to make sure that you are taking advantage of all of the services and options that are available to you. For information on compensation that you may be eligible to receive, contact us at 1-800-706-5606, to request receive our free Financial Compensation Packet. that is filled with helpful information.