If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you are probably trying to learn as much as you can as quickly as you can about this rare and challenging condition. Though medical science is still working to find a cure, there are a number of important things that are known and understood about mesothelioma.
- Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos. Asbestos is a mineral that was used in a number of industrial and occupational settings in the United States, as well as extensively in the United States military.
- There are four types of mesothelioma: pleural (which impacts the cavity in which the lungs are found), peritoneal (which impacts the abdominal cavity), pericardial (which impacts the cavity that holds the heart), and testicular (which impacts the testes). Pleural and peritoneal are most commonly seen.
- Mesothelioma is diagnosed in approximately 2,500 Americans each year. Life expectancy has expanded as a result of research, but is still rarely more than five years from time of diagnosis, and is most frequently between twelve months and eighteen months.
Things to Remember about Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is considered an extremely rare condition. Its incidence is falling in the United States as a result of the ban on the use of asbestos that was instituted in the mid-1980s. It is extremely common in Australia and Europe, and its incidence is on the rise in many places in the world where asbestos continues to be used. Globally over 14,000 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year.
If you have a history of exposure to asbestos it is important that you make your physician aware of this so that they can be on the lookout for symptoms. This will improve your chances of effective treatment if you are diagnosed.
- Pleural mesothelioma represents between 70 and 90% of all diagnosed cases, with peritoneal mesothelioma accounting for between 19 and 30%.
- Only a small percentage (between 2 and 10%) of those exposed to asbestos over a prolonged period of time will be diagnosed with mesothelioma.
- Women are far less likely to be diagnosed with mesothelioma but have longer survival rates. Men are diagnosed 4.6 times more frequently then women.
- Multimodality treatment approaches have proven to be most effective in fighting mesothelioma, and have provided those patients who have received it with a median survival of 29 months.
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