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Learn Mesothelioma Causes and Prevention

Mesothelioma Causes and Prevention
Mesothelioma Causes and Prevention

What is Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a cancer that occurs in mesothelioma, the membrane that lines various organs in the body. Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that is aggressive, dangerous but quite rare. In most cases, patients diagnosed with mesothelioma are usually in the age range between 60-80 years.

Types of Mesothelioma

There are four types of mesothelioma cancer, namely:

1. Pleural mesothelioma

Is cancer that attacks the lining of the lungs or is called the pleura. Pleural mesothelioma is the most common type of cancer

The following are symptoms that usually occur in pulmonary mesothelioma, including:
  • Voice becomes hoarse
  • Difficulty swallowing food
  • Chest pain often
  • Cough with unbearable pain
  • Having shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Often experience pain either in the arm area or in the shoulder area
  • Frequent fever and sweating, especially at night
  • The body always feels very tired
  • Experiencing drastic weight loss for no apparent reason
  • There is swelling or there is a change in the shape of the fingertips
  • A lump that appears in the tissue under the skin surface of the chest

2. Peritoneal mesothelioma

Is a type of cancer that occurs in the area of the lining of the abdominal cavity or peritoneum.

The following are common symptoms that often occur in abdominal or Peritoneal Mesothelioma:
  • Having bowel disorders such as frequent diarrhea and constipation
  • Having trouble urinating
  • Frequent constipation
  • Frequent abdominal pain
  • Frequent nausea and vomiting
  • Frequent fever or sweating, especially at night
  • Loss of appetite
  • Experience drastic weight loss
  • A lump or swelling appears in the abdominal area

3. Pericardial mesothelioma

Is a type of cancer that occurs in the area of the protective layer of the heart organ

Pericardial mesothelioma is usually characterized by the appearance of symptoms in the form of respiratory problems and chest pain.

4. Testicular mesothelioma

Is cancer that occurs in the area of the testicles or the protective layer of the testes

Testicular mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer. If someone has this cancer, it will be marked by a feeling of swelling or a lump appearing in the testicular area.

Mesothelioma stage

Although mesothelioma is a type of malignant cancer, in fact, its presence can be treated if detected at an early stage. Unfortunately, many people who suffer from mesothelioma are already in a late or advanced stage so treatment becomes difficult, and the chances of recovery get smaller. For your information, the growing process of Mesothelioma takes a long time. 

The time it takes for cancer cells to develop is usually ranging from 20 to 60 years until the symptoms appear. Therefore, mesothelioma sufferers will not feel any symptoms during the early stages. But over time, cancer cells will grow and at some point will begin to press the nerves and other organs, and the symptoms begin to be felt. Because of this, one of the preventive measures that can be taken is to carry out regular and periodic checks to prevent delays in handling if cancer has infected any area of your body.

Mesothelioma itself has 4 stages which are measured by the level of spread and size. The division of the stages aims to assist doctors in determining the appropriate treatment process and to find out how far the development of cancer cells, is and how long the life expectancy of the patient is.

The following is the stage and life expectancy of people with mesothelioma:

Stage 1

At this stage, cancer cells have not spread to other organs or tissues, and are still in one area of ​​the body. At this stage, the patient's life expectancy is still quite long with an estimate of at least 21 months or more.

Stage 2

At this stage, cancer cells begin to spread and enlarge. Spread is usually to nearby tissues or organs. It is estimated that life expectancy will be slightly shorter assuming between 19 months or less.

Stage 3

At this stage, the cancer cells have spread to various surrounding tissues and organs, and it is known that the estimated life expectancy is much shorter to around 16 months.

Stage 4

This stage is the final stage, in which cancer cells are known to have spread to various tissues and organs throughout the body through the bloodstream in which the patient's life expectancy has become very low, which is only about 12 months or less.

Causes of Mesothelioma

According to research, the exact cause of mesothelioma cancer is unknown, however, based on the results of studies and reports, it is known that mesothelioma cancer is often associated with asbestos exposure. Asbestos itself is a mineral that is often used as a part of building construction, especially on the roof, because asbestos has fire-resistant, heat-resistant, and durable properties. In addition, the cheaper price makes asbestos one of the most popular choices.

Mesothelioma will occur when the asbestos powder is inhaled or swallowed. This usually happens because during the house repair process or the mining process there will usually be a lot of crushed asbestos, not to mention the cutting process which also produces a lot of fiber and powder or dust. Fine dust or lint may be inhaled or swallowed. If inhaled, the fiber or asbestos powder that enters will settle in the lungs. Meanwhile, if swallowed, the asbestos fiber or powder will spread to all parts of the lymphatics and settle there. And these deposits will cause cancer in the peritoneum area or the lining of the abdominal cavity.

Mesothelioma is known to affect anyone, but some people with the following factors have a higher risk of getting the disease.
  1. People who work in fields that are directly related to asbestos such as workers in mineral mines, construction workers, people who work in the automotive industry, workers in steel factories, those who work in the textile industry, and workers work in the power plant area
  2. There is a family member who works in an area that contains a lot of dust or asbestos powder so that the dust can stick to the skin or clothes of the worker which is then carried into the house, thus making other family members also experience asbestos exposure.
  3. Live in an area that is heavily polluted by asbestos or soil that contains a lot of asbestos
  4. Hereditary factors, where there is a family member who suffered from mesothelioma before or the presence of genetic disorders that increase the risk of forming cancer cells
  5. People exposed to the mineral erionite or direct radiation from thorium dioxide
  6. People infected with simian virus or SV40

Mesothelioma Prevention

Here are some ways to minimize the occurrence

1. Always avoid direct contact or exposure to anything known to contain asbestos. If you happen to work in an environmental area that is at high risk of asbestos exposure, then always follow the work safety regulations that have become company stipulations and standards, such as:
  • Always use special clothing or personal protective equipment that has been provided by the company while working in areas prone to asbestos exposure
  • Always follow the instructions on how to properly and safely handle asbestos
  • Do not take home clothes, shoes, or other items that are likely to be exposed to asbestos when doing work in the field or at work sites.
  • Always and must dispose of the remaining asbestos material in a predetermined place and make sure the location is safe and does not endanger the area in the surrounding environment.
2. Always routinely carry out comprehensive and periodic health checks so that symptoms or signs of related diseases can be detected, especially if the work has a high risk of exposure to asbestos

3. Quit smoking. This is because smoking has been shown to increase the risk of various types of cancer, and one of them is mesothelioma

Mesothelioma Treatment

Mesothelioma is a type of malignant cancer and although so far it cannot be cured, several treatments can be taken to relieve symptoms that arise in the hope of prolonging the life expectancy of the sufferer.

Some of the treatment methods that can be carried out are determined by the following factors:
  • Age of patient
  • The patient's overall health condition
  • Based on the type and location of cancer cells are located
  • Based on the size of cancer cells
  • Based on the rate of spread of cancer cells
Taking into account some of the factors above, the treatment steps that can be taken by doctors are:

1. Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is one of the most widely used cancer treatments. Chemotherapy works by giving drugs that can suppress the growth of cancer cells and can even kill cancer cells. This therapy is often done before the surgery stage to shrink cancer cells so that they can be easily removed, and sometimes also done at the post-operative stage in the hope of reducing the risk of cancer cell growth again.

2. Radiotherapy

Radiotherapy or radiation therapy is a cancer treatment technique that is carried out by shooting proton rays or X-rays in areas where cancer cells are present. Radiotherapy is usually done postoperatively to prevent the growth of cancer cells from returning and to eliminate any residual cancer cells. Radiotherapy is also often used in patients with advanced cancer to relieve symptoms of cancer because the patient's body condition does not allow surgery.

3. Surgery

Surgery can usually be done in patients with mesothelioma who are still at an early stage. In this process, the doctor will usually be given several choices of actions that can be taken,
  • Surgery to remove as many cancer cells as possible in the patient's body. This operation is usually supported by radiotherapy to relieve pain and inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
  • Surgery by sucking fluid in the chest causes disruption of the respiratory system. This action can be accompanied by injecting medicine into the patient's chest to prevent fluid from building up again. This procedure is also known as pleurodesis.
  • Surgery by removing tissue infected with cancer cells around the abdominal cavity, lungs, ribs, or other parts.
  • Surgery by removing the part of the lung infected with cancer cells and the surrounding tissue will then be followed by radiotherapy treatment.

4. Multimodality therapy

Multimodality therapy is a combination treatment technique of three or more treatment methods, such surgery, radiation therapy, and postoperative chemotherapy. This is done to increase the success rate of cancer treatment.

To help the treatment process run better, the doctor will advise the patient to do the following:

1. Breathing exercises

This is so that patients can control their breathing when experiencing symptoms of difficulty breathing

2. Body relaxation exercises

This is important to do to reduce the occurrence of tension in the respiratory tract muscles so that the patient can breathe better

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