Mesothelioma is a painful, depressing disease that afflicts only a small portion of the population. Mesothelioma diagnoses account for only about 3 percent of all cancer diagnoses, but it has no cure. A mesothelioma lawyer can provide you and your family with information about this pernicious cancer and your options for dealing with the medical expenses and grief associated with mesothelioma.
What Causes Mesothelioma?
Asbestos exposure is the primary cause of mesothelioma. Asbestos is a fibrous material composed of six different silicate minerals. Asbestos fibers affect the pleural lining of the lungs and cause mesothelioma. While cases have occurred in which the patient had no asbestos exposure, such cases are rare.
What Are The Types of Mesothelioma??
There are five types of mesothelioma:
- Benign Mesothelioma. Benign mesothelioma tumors are contained, and the cancer does not spread to other parts of the body. Doctors can easily treat benign mesothelioma, although it can become malignant.
- Pericardial Mesothelioma. Less than 5 percent of mesothelioma sufferers have pericardial mesothelioma, which affects the membrane surrounding the heart.
- Peritoneal Mesothelioma. About 20 percent of mesothelioma victims have peritoneal mesothelioma, which affects the abdominal cavity.
- Pleural Mesothelioma. Pleural mesothelioma is the most common form of mesothelioma, affecting about 75 percent of all mesothelioma sufferers. This type of cancer develops in the membrane surrounding the lungs.
- Testicular Mesothelioma. Testicular mesothelioma affects the testicles; it is the rarest form of mesothelioma.
Three main types of cancer cells are present in mesothelioma patients:
- Epithelioid mesothelioma. Epithelioid mesothelioma is the most common type of malignant mesothelioma; it is more responsive to treatment than sarcomatoid and leads to a longer life expectancy.
- Sarcomatoid mesothelioma. Sarcomatoid mesothelioma only accounts for 10 to 15 percent of all malignant mesothelioma. Sarcomatoid cells grow faster than epithelioid cells, and this cancer is more difficult to treat.
- Mixed or Biphasic mesothelioma. 20 to 40 percent of malignant mesothelioma victims have mixed or biphasic mesothelioma, which is a combination of epithelioid and sarcomatoid mesothelioma and which is as difficult to treat as sarcomatoid mesothelioma.
What Are The Treatment Options?
Mesothelioma currently has no cure. Doctors typically treat malignant mesothelioma with radiation, chemo and surgery, or combinations of these. Some patients, particularly those with pericardial mesothelioma, do not have surgical options because surgery is too risky.
A person with mesothelioma generally has a grim prognosis; he or she could die within days or weeks of diagnosis or live as long as two years, but death is almost certain. Only 10 percent of all mesothelioma victims live five years beyond diagnosis. More than half of mesothelioma sufferers die within one year after diagnosis. If you are living with mesothelioma or have lost a family member to mesothelioma, contact an asbestos attorney or an asbestos lawyer right away to discuss what you can do to recover for your loss.