Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Death From Mesothelioma

About Death From Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a very dangerous type of cancer that ends in death within an average of just 2 years after diagnosis. This rare disease inflicts about 2,000 to 3,000 individuals in the US each year. Most people who develop this disease do so after inhaling asbestos particles.

The Facts

Though the vast majority of mesothelioma cases are caused by asbestos exposure, approximately 20 percent of all cases are found in individuals who have no history of exposure. When a person develops this disease, malignant cells develop in the membrane that protects most of the body's internal organs, which is called the mesothelium. The cancerous cells spread to other tissues as well as other parts of the body, leading to the death of the patent. The disease is so deadly not because it is particularly aggressive, but because it reaches an advanced stage before it is discovered. More than 90 percent of those who are diagnosed with mesothelioma die.


There are four types of mesothelioma: pleural malignant, peritoneal, pericardial and mesothelioma of the tunica vaginalis. Pleural malignant mesothelioma is the most common form of the cancer, destroying the tissues surrounding the lungs. Peritoneal mesothelioma affects abdominal tissue, and the pericardial type is found in the heart area. Mesothelioma of the tunica vaginalis affects the testicle lining. Though treatments do exist for mesothelioma, the disease is hard to control and many treatments simply serve to make the patient more comfortable.

Risk Factors

Asbestos exposure is the main risk factor for developing this disease, and people are often exposed to it occupationally. Men are about four times as likely as women to develop the rare cancer, and risk tends to increase with age. Those who work with asbestos or live with someone who does are more at risk, as are smokers. Some studies have found a link between mesothelioma and the simian virus 40 (SV40). This virus is found in monkeys and may have been in polio vaccines given in the late 50s and early 60s, as monkey cells were used in the immunizations.


In its early stages, mesothelioma causes no symptoms. By the time symptoms are obvious, the disease has been present for quite some time. Symptoms of pleural mesothelioma include shortness of breath, breathing and coughing accompanied by pain, chest pain and lumps, unexplained weight loss and a dry cough. Peritoneal mesothelioma causes such symptoms as abdominal pain and swelling, bowel changes, unexplained weight loss and lumps in the abdominal area. Pericardial mesothelioma symptoms may include shortness of breath and chest pains while tunica vaginalis causes a testicular mass.


Some people assume a person who hasn't developed mesothelioma in a couple of years after exposure is safe from this deadly form of cancer. However, the truth is that this disease has a rather long latency period. In fact, a person may not show any signs of mesothelioma for about 20 or 30 years after exposure. Surprisingly, there have even been cases that have developed 50 years later. Additionally, many think the length of exposure plays a big role in death from mesothelioma. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Even short-term exposure can lead to the disease.


The diagnosis rate of mesothelioma has increased in the past 20 years, despite the fact that the disease is still considered rare. In a given population, the levels of diagnosis depend upon the exposure rates in the preceding decades. Some evidence suggests that rates in the US may have peaked in 2004, coming in at about 15 affected for every 1,000,000 people. From 1980 to 1990, there was a 1,000-person increase in the death rate from the disease. It began at about 2,000 deaths per year and ended at about 3,000 per year in 1990. Today, US death rates tend to be between 2,000 and 3,000 people per year.

Tags: this disease, tunica vaginalis, years after, after exposure, Death From Mesothelioma, form cancer