asbestos

Pericardial mesothelioma

What is pericardial mesothelioma?

Pericardial mesothelioma is a serious heart condition which consists of cancerous cells building up on the lining of the heart.  Similarly to pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma, this is a terminal illness due to the importance of the area on which it grows.

What causes it and who are most at risk?

The primary cause is exposure to asbestos dust and fibres.  Therefore those at risk are those who are most likely to have inhaled these deadly fibres such as construction workers and asbestos manufacturers.  Those in contact with these people also have a chance of getting pericardial mesothelioma because these people may have asbestos fibres stuck to their clothes or hair.

What are the symptoms of pericardial mesothelioma?

The symptoms  change from patient to patient.  Usual symptoms include persistent coughing, coughing up blood, shortness of breath, chest pain and palpitations.  Other symptoms patients may experience are nausea, weight loss, vomiting and loss of appetite.

What are the treatments available?

There are various different treatments although none of these have a high success rate.  Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, dual therapy and surgery are the treatment methods available.  Chemotherapy includes using drugs to kill off cancerous cells and radiation therapy uses doses of radiation to kill cancer cells although this is difficult due to the surrounding vital organs such as the heart and lungs.  Dual therapy is a treatment combining radiation therapy with chemotherapy. Surgery comes in two forms; aggressive surgery and palliative procedures.  Aggressive surgery is a very difficult procedure and consists of removing large chunks of cancerous cells in an attempt to gain long term control over the cancer.  Palliative procedures just attempts to lessen the symptoms for the patient.

How much exposure to asbestos is needed for there to be a possibility of getting pericardial mesothelioma?

This depends on how strong and resistant the person is to disease and on the concentration of asbestos in the environment around him.  It is possible to get pericardial mesothelioma from as little as a couple of months of exposure to asbestos although on average it would take a couple of years for enough asbestos fibres to build up to cause cancer.

What is the prognosis for pericardial mesothelioma?

This is highly dependent on how early and how aggressively the cancer is treated.  If it is treated when it has fully developed and matured then the chances of a patient’s survival is very small.  The prognosis could be only a couple of months.

Is there any promising research into a cure?

Research into cures of this type of cancer and all other forms of mesothelioma is being done in numerous research labs all over the USA.  Many pharmaceutical companies are also working hard to research new drugs for chemotherapy.  So far, research has been mostly unsuccessful.

Asbestos mask

When working with asbestos it is extremely important to insure you are wearing the correct type of mask as the tiny asbestos fibers can cause lung cancer and lung diseases. Don’t risk your health!
Use suitable RPE with an assigned protection factor of at least 20 this will help protect your lungs from exposure.
Suitable types of asbestos mask are disposable respirators design to EN149 (type FFP3) standards or an EN1827 (type FMP3).
Other suitable masks are half mask respirators (EN140) Standard with a P3 filter built in or a semi-disposable respirator (EN405) also with a P3 filter.
Be warned that these are not suitable for people that have beards or stubble or if you are working with asbestos for long periods of time, these such situations need powered equipment to remain safe.
When using half-mask type respirators change the filters regularly without fail! – Your safety gear supplier or manufacturer may be able to advise how often this should be performed.

When using RPE remember these tips:

The mask should be tight against the face with no gaps.
Carry out a fitment check in accordance with the manufacturers instructions.
The hood of overalls should go OVER the straps of the respirator NOT under.
And the end of the shift always take off the mask last.
Ensure correct fitment with no gaps around the nose.
When finished ensure the mask is disposed of inside the suitable waste container.
Never remove the mask and leave it lying around the work place as it could collect asbestos fibers inside it or other dangerous particles, it must remain on your face protecting you until you have finished work and are outside any possible contamination zone.
Before using any equipment always perform safety and function checks looking for any kind of damage and replacing used filters as necessary. Ensure all seals and values have no damage or gaps/warping and clean the RPE after every use. Always ensure you are using the correct filter designed for that respirator.
Users should always be trained in how to properly use safety equipment before they enter any possible contamination zone.

Working with asbestos is extremely dangerous! never get too comfortable working with it and always exercise extreme caution.

Symptoms of Mesothelioma Cancer

There are various symptoms of Mesothelioma cancer, but sometimes they don’t appear until 30 to 50 years after exposure to asbestos, hence the importance of following the series of recommendations for prevention of asbestos-related diseases among asbestos workers.

The most common Mesothelioma symptoms are shortness of breath and pain in the chest. These symptoms occur due to a buildup of fluid in the pleura, what is known as Pleural Mesothelioma. However the symptoms of Peritoneal Mesothelioma include weight loss, abdominal pain and swelling due to an accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity.

Peritoneal mesothelioma may include other uncomfortable symptoms too, such as bowel obstruction, blood clotting abnormalities, anemia and fever.

However these symptoms can appear before if malignant cancerous cells have spread beyond the mesothelium to other parts of the body, and other symptoms such as trouble swallowing, pain, and swelling of the neck or face may appear.

Mesothelioma or other less serious conditions may caused these symptoms, therefore the importance of going to a doctor if you feel any of these symptoms, because only an expert like him can make a correct diagnosis.

Mesothelioma cancer rate has increased over the past 20 years and although this disease is not as common as other cancer pathologies, the number of new diagnosed cases in the United States has risen up to 2,000 per year.

According to experts the major risk factor for developing Mesothelioma lies in working with asbestos, so  if you are a asbestos worker remember following the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommendations in order to reduce your risk.

The Symptoms of Asbestos Exposure

Mesothelioma is a form of cancer which is being discovered more and more frequently in elderly men.  The most common cause of mesothelioma is from asbestos exposure and affects the membrane of many of the most vital internal organs such as the lungs and heart.  Mesothelioma is particularly hard to diagnose because it shows similar symptoms to many other more common diseases. The most common form of mesothelioma is called pleural mesothelioma.  This type of mesothelioma accounts for 75% of all mesothelioma cases.  Pleural mesothelioma affects the lining of the lungs and has symptoms such as chest pain, coughing, breathing and swallowing difficulties, shortness of breath, wheezing and weight loss.  These symptoms apply to many less serious diseases but anyone with signs of these symptoms are strongly advised to consult their doctor as soon as possible. A less common form of mesothelioma is peritoneal mesothelioma and this form of the cancer affects the abdomen.  The tissue lining the abdomen is called the peritoneum and this is what is affected.  Peritoneal mesothelioma accounts for 20% of all mesothelioma cases. The symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma are weight loss, abdominal pains, loss of appetite, weakness, nausea, and abdominal swelling.  These symptoms become more and more severe as the cancer develops. Those who are exposed to asbestos or have been exposed have a risk of obtaining mesothelioma.  It is important that mesothelioma is diagnosed in its early stages so that it can be treated quickly and aggressively.  The earlier it is discovered, the more likely the treatment will be successful.

Who Is At Risk From Mesothelioma Cancer?

Mesothelioma is a deadly cancer which is fairly rare although in the last few decades the number of people who have died from it have dramatically increased.  Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos without sufficient protection.  When a person is exposed to asbestos, he or she inhales tiny asbestos fibres which are suspended in the air.  These fibres pass into the respiratory system and end up becoming lodged in the lungs.  An accumulation of asbestos fibres in the lining of the lungs like this can cause nearby cells to deform and eventually leads to what is known as pleural mesothelioma.  Accumulation of asbestos fibres in the peritoneum (lining of the abdomen) can lead to peritoneal mesothelioma and build up of fibres around the tissue of the heart can cause pericardial mesothelioma.  Asbestos fibres reach these places over time or because they have been transported there by the lymphatic system.

Mesothelioma has a very large latency period (time between getting the cancer and feeling the symptoms of it).  This period is usually between 30 – 50 years and so a person who bears mesothelioma is unlikely to know that they have got it.  This is why mesothelioma is so hard to diagnose in its early stages because it shows no symptoms and the few symptoms that it does show such as wheezing and shortness of breath are typical of far more common diseases such as pneumonia.  The likelihood of being cured depends largely on how early and how aggressively the cancer is treated.  If it is treated when it has fully developed and matured then it is extremely difficult to cure.

In this way, those at risk are those who have worked amongst asbestos.  Construction workers, asbestos manufacturers or those who have lived within a mile of an asbestos factory are the people who have the largest contact with asbestos.  Those who are in contact with these people are also at risk because asbestos fibres can stick to clothes and hair.  The majority of people who are discovering that they have mesothelioma are elderly men of about 60 – 70.  This was the generation which worked with asbestos a lot without sufficient protection.  Many of these men are now lodging multi million dollar lawsuits against the companies who exposed them to the dangers of asbestos.

Mesothelioma The Sleeping Asbestos Dragon

Mesothelioma is caused by asbestos exposure. Asbestos is a substance found naturally. It is made of strong flexible fibres. It was used extensively in industry because the fibres are not affected by heat or chemicals and a poor conductor of electricity. It is estimated that over 5,000 products have or had asbestos in them.

Of the six types of asbestos, only four are used commercially. These are chrysotile, crocidolite, amosite and anthrophyllite. Of these, crysotile or white asbestos accounts for 99% used in USA.  In it natural state or well contained and maintained in products, asbestos do not pose a real hazard. It is when asbestos is broken down and fibres are released that there is concern.

Asbestos fibres are very thin and sharp. The fibre is 2,000 times thinner than a human hair. It measures under 0.3 microns or one millionth of a millimetre in diameter and five microns in length. It is not visible with the naked eye or through a microscope.
When released, the fibres remain in the atmosphere for a long time and can be carried great distances. When the fibres are inhaled, they stick to the lung tissue and are not expelled by breathing out or coughing. Some remain in the lungs, others gravitate into the pleural lining.

Asbestos exposure can lead to disease and develops over a long period of time. Asbestos related diseases are asbestosis, pleural plaques and lung cancers. The lung cancer can be either cancer of the lung itself or mesothelioma, a cancer of the lung lining. These cancers can take between 20 and 50 years to develop.
A recent article in a UK Newspaper highlighted the case of a Hospital Consultant who developed mesothelioma. He cannot recall any exposure to asbestos. It may well be that he was inadvertently exposed to asbestos without his knowledge i.e. such as living in the vicinity of a factory that leaked asbestos into the atmosphere.

Professor Peto has shown that new cases of mesothelioma will continue to increase in the early part of the twenty first century. He also said, “Every single person in the UK has asbestos in their lungs. It is the level of exposure that is important.”

We also know that people who has a history of asbestos exposure has a greater risk of lung cancer if they smoked. In a survey in 1992, 2602 individuals with lung cancer were interviewed. One in eight was exposed to asbestos and of these a third still smoked. A US study suggested that non-smokers exposed to asbestos have a five times greater risk of lung cancer. If they smoked, then the risk increased by a factor of 11. Smoking and asbestos exposure increases the risk of developing lung cancer to 52 times that of the general population.

At present no one knows how many lung cancers are due to asbestos exposure because of the long latency period and that cigarette smoking remains the major cause. Mesothelioma, however, is caused by asbestos exposure and this has been the basis of numerous high value legal claims.

What is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is an uncommon form of cancer, usually associated with previous exposure to asbestos. Signs and symptoms of the disease include among other things, shortness of breath and rapid unexpected weight loss as in patients with Mesothelioma, nutrients in the blood stream cannot always be absorbed resulting in malnutrition and weight loss.

Aside from Mesothelioma, these people can acquire asbestosis, a non-cancerous chronic lung sickness and other forms of cancer of the lungs, cancer of the larynx and kidney. There are treatments used to keep the patient comfortable, but there is currently no cure for mesothelioma. Erionite fibres were found in biopsies of lungs of the mesothelioma cancer afflicted people.

The physicians empanelled by mesothelioma treatment support groups analyze each patient. A legal counseling along with aid from housing, utilities, transportation, accurate medical treatment, pharmaceutical supplies and services should be the prime motto of mesothelioma support. The compensation could be millions of dollars for victims of mesothelioma who have been exposed to asbestos.

Because mesothelioma is caused by direct exposure to asbestos or asbestos dust, and nearly 30 million tons of asbestos was used in buildings of every description until the mid 1970′s, it has kept Mesothelioma lawyers in high demand, as they pursue Mesothelioma settlements for the victims and their families. Approximately 2,000 to 3,000 new cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed each year in the United States alone.

‘What is Mesothelioma’, the website contains useful resources on Mesothelioma lawyers and attorneys, as well as causes by asbestos exposure, asbestos removal, asbestos attorneys and lawsuits, and asbestos cancer. Mesothelioma thus becomes a deadly disease when no remedial measures are taken to overcome it and when exposure to asbestos is not controlled. However it would take 10-40 years after the first exposure for the first symptoms of mesothelioma to become noticeable, which made it very difficult to diagnose.

It is important to stress that once you start experiencing the symptoms of pericardial mesothelioma (shortness of breath, chest pains, coughing up blood, and palpitations) you should immediately seek specialized help. Mesothelioma can result from very small fibres or dust particles at low exposure levels. Generally, it is believed that sustained exposure to asbestos is more liable to give one mesothelioma.

Due to the difficulty of diagnosing mesothelioma in its early stages, many mesothelioma treatments focus on improving the quality of life for patients. There are many variables in evaluating a mesothelioma case, so only the patients doctor can determine the best treatment and possible prognosis on an individual basis. Pericardial mesothelioma sufferers may experience chest pain, shortness of breath, persistent coughing and palpitations.

Chemotherapy of mesothelioma is being improved regularly as research labs and pharmaceutical companies are discovering new and more effective drugs. Pleural mesothelioma: A type of lung cancer which attacks the pleura surrounding the lungs, this is the most common type of mesothelioma, affecting approximately two-thirds of all mesothelioma patients.

Asbestos Mesothelioma – Deadly Disease From Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos mesothelioma is a rare but dangerous cancer caused by exposure to asbestos particles suspended in the air. Asbestos is a group of naturally occurring silicate minerals. It is made up of strong and durable fibers that are resistant to heat and fire. Thin long and flexible structure of asbestos fibers allows you to weave them even into cloth. These inherent qualities of asbestos prompted the manufacturers of industrial, automotive, maritime, scientific, building and consumer products to use it widely during 1890-1970.

Different Types of Mesothelioma and Their Symptoms

Asbestos mesothelioma affects the lining of lungs, abdominal organs or heart. Asbestos mesothelioma affecting lining of lungs or pleural membrane is called pleural mesothelioma. Peritoneal mesothelioma affects the lining of abdominal organs or peritoneum. When this disease shows its effect in the lining of heart or pericardium, it is known as pericardial mesothelioma. Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma are pain and swelling in abdomen, weakness, loss of weight, loss of appetite and nausea. In most of the cases, fluid accumulates in the peritoneal space. Symptoms of pleural mesothelioma are persistent cough, difficulty in breathing, weakness, loss of weight, loss of appetite, chest pain, lower back pain and difficulty in swallowing. In most of the cases, a fluid accumulates in pleural space.

Asbestos Mesothelioma Kills Silently

Most unfortunate thing about the asbestos mesothelioma is its long latency period. Any individual, who had asbestos exposure even 20 to 50 years back, may have asbestos mesothelioma lying dormant in his body without any appearance of aforementioned symptoms. By the time, symptoms become noticeable, it is already too late. The average survival time of all types of mesothelioma patients is not more than 24 months.

Diagnosis of Asbestos Mesothelioma

Diagnosis of asbestos mesothelioma involves x-ray, CT-scan, peritoneoscopy and bronchoscopy. After finding any abnormality doctor may suggest biopsy. In biopsy, we send a tissue sample for pathological examination. After examining tissue sample an expert pathologist can confirm about the development of disease.

Chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery are some treatment options available for the patients suffering from asbestos mesothelioma. People suffering form asbestos mesothelioma can filer lawsuits to recover damages for the persons or industries responsible for their asbestos exposure.

Cancer mesothelioma – It is an asbestos born killer

What is mesothelioma?

The pericardium is the mesothelial tissue that surrounds and acts as a safeguard to the heart. The pleural mesothelium membrane covers the lungs and chest cavity and peritoneum is the mesothelial tissue that enfolds the organs in the abdominal cavity.

What is actually cancer mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects the mesothelium, a dual layered membrane with which our chest, lungs, abdomen and the heart is wrapped safely.

Cancer Mesothelioma can damage any of these cells, although pleural mesothelioma is more common; it metastasizes and at an advanced stage the disease reach to the other parts of the body like the lymph nodes, lungs, chest wall, or abdominal organs.

How is cancer mesothelioma caused?

Though asbestos exposure is the primary reason in 70% to 80% of the cases, mesothelioma can be caused by other means, like exposure to the chemical zeolite that is also present in asbestos.

Asbestos has become part of our daily life being in cement, brake linings, roof shingles, flooring products, textiles, and insulation. The asbestos fibers take their toll by going into our windpipe and settling in the internal organs causing the formation of carcinogenic tumors.

The overall scenario regarding cancer mesothelioma

Though there is a ban on certain asbestos products, around 1000 people in France and above 2000 people in the U.S are faced with this nightmare each year.

Mostly, workers from shipyards, asbestos mines and mills are prone to this mishap, due to a constant exposure to asbestos. However, it takes 30 to 50 years for the disease to surface and show symptoms though they are not always accurate.

Cancer mesothelioma is proving more than a menace and the average person live for 12-24 months; the earlier it is detected, the better is the cure process.

The recent picture

Today, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have put restrictions towards maintaining acceptable levels of asbestos exposure in the workplace. People who work with asbestos are geared up with individual protective equipment to lower their risk of exposure. Even the family members of the workers are prone to the disease, so they are advised to take a shower before leaving for home.

Symptoms of cancer mesothelioma

-    Feeling out of breath and pain in the chest due to an accretion of fluid in the pleura
-    Peritoneal mesothelioma comprises weight loss and abdominal pain and a bulging abdomen due to accumulation of fluid
-    Bowel obstruction, blood clotting abnormalities, anemia, and fever
-    Pain, trouble swallowing, or swelling of the neck or face

However, a registered medical practitioner can diagnose you correctly.

Diagnosis of cancer mesothelioma

Diagnosis commences with an assessment of the patient’s medical history, as well as any history of asbestos exposure. A complete physical examination may be performed, including:
-    X-rays of the chest or abdomen
-    A CT (or CAT) scan or an MRI may also be useful. A CT scan is a sequence of comprehensive pictures of areas inside the body created by a computer linked to an X-ray machine
-    In an MRI, a strong magnet connected to a computer is used to draw meticulous pictures of areas affected by cancer mesothelioma inside the body. These pictures are viewed on a monitor and can also be printed
-    A biopsy regarding the taking out of a sample tissue for examination is needed to verify a diagnosis of mesothelioma. Types of biopsy depending on the location of the tumor are thoracoscopy, peritoneoscopy

Lastly, the stage of the disease is important to the doctor for the correct diagnosis.

Cancer mesothelioma treatment

Treatment of cancer mesothelioma yields results depending on the site of the cancer, the phase of the disease, and the patient’s physical condition. The usual treatments for cancer mesothelioma are surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Occasionally, these treatments are combined.

Surgery is an effective way to remove tumor but the age of the person matters. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy are good ways to ward off the symptoms.

Often, high-end drugs are given to the patient to reduce the fluid formation in body.

Thus, it is better for the workers to get a medical check up at equal intervals and be aware of its symptoms. If a patient is diagnosed with cancer mesothelioma at the earliest stage, the treatments might do wonders for him.

The work place killer

Asbestos is the biggest work place killer today.  Those who have worked with asbestos or who are regularly in contact with someone who has are at risk from asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.  All these are fatal respiratory diseases which are extremely difficult to cure.  Research is being carried out in various research labs all over the USA and many pharmaceutical companies are also endeavouring to find new drugs and treatment methods.

One rare disease caused by asbestos which is becoming increasingly common is mesothelioma.  Although unknown by many today, it is almost certain that awareness of this disease will be broadcasted worldwide because of its increasing occurrence in men aged between 55 and 70.  Many of these men are now lodging multi million dollar lawsuits against the companies who subjected them to asbestos.  Those most at risk from mesothelioma are those who have been in regular contact with asbestos dust and fibres without sufficient protection.  Just a couple of months of exposure to asbestos can lead to mesothelioma 30 years later.  The latency period (amount of time the disease takes to start taking effect) of mesothelioma is 30 – 50 years which is one of the reasons it is so difficult to cure because it is very difficult to tackle in its early stages.  Another reason it is so difficult to cure is that its early symptoms are characteristic of many other more common diseases such as pneumonia.

Asbestos symptoms include:

- Chest pains
- Coughing that worsens over time
- Weight loss
- Shortness of breath
- Coughing up blood
- Nausea and vomiting
- Fatigue
- Wheezing
- Lung infection
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Loss of appetite

A patient will feel symptoms depending on which type of mesothelioma he or she has got.

In the next 35 years it is estimated that over 1 million people will die from asbestos related diseases in developed countries.  Most of these people will die from lung cancer and mesothelioma as these two are the most prolific asbestos related diseases.