Wednesday, November 23, 2011
So I have been doing a research paper for one of my classes on a types of cancer and came across mesothelioma. This is what I have so far and I know I have got a long way to go before its professional. All the same outside critiques are welcome, and I hope this is informative to you because it was to me.
Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that targets the cells surrounding the heart, lungs, and abdominal cavity. This is usually caused by the inhalation of asbestos for long periods of time. And since we as a country used asbestos until 1989 as we gradually stopped and banned entirely in Dec 2003. But what is asbestos? It is a set of six silicate minerals desired for the fact that it had good sound absorption, tensile strength; and a resistance to fire, heat, electrical and chemical damage. This stuff was used in almost every way imaginable such as drywall and joint compound, clutch plates, "transite" panels, siding, counter-tops, pipes, dental cast linings, gas mask filters pre 1960s, plaster, brake pads, shoes, roofing tars, felts, siding, shingles, vinyl floor tiles, sheeting, adhesives, mud and texture coats, acoustic ceilings, fireproofing, caulk, gaskets, systems for sealing rotating shafts, stage curtains, fire blankets, interior fire doors, fireproof clothing for firefighters, thermal pipe insulation, filters for removing fine particulates from chemicals, liquids and wine, HVAC flexible duct connectors, and drilling fluid additives. Now of course most of the uses were relatively safe if they were solid pieces in an unbroken state, but once broken or jagged it would release fibers into the air that could be inhaled. And after awhile the body’s cells in the linings would try to digest the fibers although they cannot. This would cause an immune response and cause the cells to divide which would give way to the cancer known as mesothelioma. Diagnosing this cancer is extremely hard because it takes decades to be recognized, and by this time the cancer was in very late stages. Mesothelioma's symptoms include shortness of breath, chest wall pain, and weight loss. A doctor must do a complete physical examination and microscopic examination; thoracoscopy, imaging tests, biopsies, lung function tests, fluid biopsies, computed tomography scans, X-rays, and blood tests, and magnetic resonance imaging scans. With these procedures the type of cancer cells and the extent can be identified. Because of mesothelioma latency from the initial asbestos fiber inhalation treating it is very difficult. Currently mesothelioma is treated by a mix of chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. And outside of the hospital good diet and exercise is shown to give a better chance of surviving. When it comes to cancers like mesothelioma, early diagnosis is inexorably important. As doctors and scientist continue to increase the life expectancy of patients and one day find a cure.