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Mesothelioma cancer patient resource with questions and answers about mesothelioma

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									Mesothelioma is a cancer that develops within the mesothelium of the
body. The mesothelium is the protective covering in the body. It covers
various organs, including the lungs. The mesothelium is made up of two
thin layers. When cancer develops in the mesothelium it is between these
layers. The narrow space makes it very difficult to diagnose mesothelioma
in the early stages.       Mesothelioma is a difficult cancer to treat.
Once a diagnosis of mesothelioma is made, the majority of patients will
not live longer than eighteen months. There are a variety of reasons for
this, including the advanced nature of the disease once it is diagnosed
and the lack of an effective surgical method of removing the tumors.


  While most cases of mesothelioma occur around the lungs, it can also
occur in the abdominal mesothelium, called the peritoneum, or the
pericardium. While mesothelioma is most common in the lungs, it is
important to differentiate between mesothelioma and lung cancer. They are
two very different types of cancer and require different types of
treatment. The symptoms of mesothelioma include shortness of breath due
to pleural effusion (fluid between the lung and the chest wall) or chest
wall pain, and general symptoms such as weight loss. The diagnosis may be
suspected with chest X-ray and CT scan, and is confirmed with a biopsy
(tissue sample) and microscopic examination.       A thoracoscopy
(inserting a tube with a camera into the chest) can be used to take
biopsies. It allows the introduction of substances such as talc to
obliterate the pleural space (called pleurodesis), which prevents more
fluid from accumulating and pressing on the lung. Despite treatment with
chemotherapy, radiation therapy or sometimes surgery, the disease carries
a poor prognosis. Research about screening tests for the early detection
of mesothelioma is ongoing. Diagnosing mesothelioma is often difficult,
because the symptoms are similar to those of a number of other
conditions. Diagnosis begins with a review of the patient's medical
history. A history of exposure to asbestos may increase clinical
suspicion for mesothelioma.       Mesothelioma cancer patient resource
with questions and answers about mesothelioma, a deadly cancer caused by
asbestos exposure.


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