Malignant mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer caused by asbestos. It can develop in the linings of your lungs, abdomen, or heart. There is currently no cure for mesothelioma, but many treatments exist that can extend a patient’s life and make them more comfortable. Our resources can help you take steps toward a better quality of life.
What Is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a rare and deadly form of cancer that develops decades after exposure to asbestos, a highly durable construction material. When inhaled, asbestos fibers lodge into the body and cause chronic issues for your lungs and other organs. It is critical to be diagnosed as early as possible to improve your prognosis.
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There are four different stages of pleural mesothelioma but due to the slow growth of the disease, it is often not diagnosed until a patient is in a critical or end-of-life state. Patients who are diagnosed at stage 1 or stage 2 often have a host of available treatment options that later stages may not.
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Types of Mesothelioma
There are currently two main types of mesothelioma. Pleural mesothelioma develops in the lining of your lungs and is the most common location for the disease. Peritoneal mesothelioma develops in the lining of the abdomen. Medical advancements have led to improved prognoses.
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A mesothelioma prognosis is dependent upon when a diagnosis is made and how severe the tumors are at that point. The most successful treatments include a three-pronged approach combining radiation, chemotherapy and surgery to eradicate as much of the disease as possible.
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Mesothelioma Treatment Options
Mesothelioma treatments allow patients to manage their symptoms and increase their chances of long-term survival. Each form of mesothelioma — and each patient—responds differently to treatment methods. It is important to know about each as the treatment process begins.
Surgery enables doctors to remove malignant mesothelioma tumors in an effort to stop the growth of cancerous cells throughout the body. Surgical procedures have been successful in many patients and help with discomfort and pain.
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Anti-cancer drugs are administered through your bloodstream to kill cancer cells in your body. Chemotherapy drugs, when administered over several weeks in cycles, can slow the spread of the disease and ease pain.
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Late-Stage Mesothelioma Care
Because there is no current cure for mesothelioma, learning your options for late-stage care can make a world of difference. End-stage facilities and treatment options help you or your loved one find the peace and care everyone deserves. By staying prepared, you can ease emotional and physical suffering in you or someone you love.
Cancer centers can provide inpatient care for late-stage mesothelioma patients. Doctors and other health care professionals work full-time to ensure each patient gets the care they need to stay comfortable.
With the help of new surgeries and treatments, mesothelioma survival rates have improved over the past 20 years. An accurate diagnosis and continued treatment can help increase your survival rate.
Remission involves the extent to which a patient's mesothelioma symptoms have decreased or diminished. If you were diagnosed with mesothelioma, you still have a chance at long-term remission with ongoing treatment.
Getting a Second Opinion
If you are faced with a mesothelioma diagnosis, getting a second opinion is critical no matter the stage of your condition. Getting a second opinion helps ensure you get the right treatments and care for your mesothelioma case.
Caring for someone with mesothelioma requires strength and skill, and losing a loved one presents its own unique set of challenges. Various late-stage care resources exist to help families and caregivers navigate a mesothelioma diagnosis.
Mesothelioma and Veterans
Throughout the 20th century, veterans ran one of the highest risks for asbestos exposure. Asbestos was used throughout our armed forces and in multiple wars, so many soldiers inhaled the dangerous fibers while serving their country. Though more veterans are being diagnosed, additional treatment and support options are being developed.
Veterans at Risk
United States Veterans from every branch of the military, including the Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force and Marine Corps, run a risk of developing mesothelioma. The risk rate for developing mesothelioma depends on when you served and what jobs you worked during your service.
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Asbestos on United States Navy Ships
Asbestos was used in the construction of ships, planes, vehicles, warehouses, army barracks and many other military assets for over 60 years. Materials containing asbestos were used on every U.S. Navy ship constructed between 1930-1970.
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Veterans who developed mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure while serving have options for compensation including VA disability benefits. These benefits can support you or a loved one while seeking treatment options, often provided at VA hospitals that feature specialized doctors.
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Resources for Mesothelioma Patients
You may feel isolated or frustrated during your battle with mesothelioma. You may also need additional financial assistance to afford life-extending treatments. Many options exist for you and your family to get the help you deserve.
As mesothelioma has developed into a nationally recognized crisis, more insurance companies are including mesothelioma treatment and therapy in their policies. Insurance is just one financial resource that can ease the financial burden on you and your family.
Manufacturing companies hid the truth about asbestos's dangers for decades. The government mandated that these companies set up trust funds for victims of mesothelioma. With legal guidance, you can access these funds and reduce your financial strain.
Support groups allow mesothelioma victims and their families to navigate the emotional turmoil that a diagnosis brings. You will gain valuable insight and work alongside others who have been in your shoes. Your family will also learn important coping and management skills throughout their journey.