Mesothelioma Treatment Costs: Insurance And Coverage – Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer caused by inhaling or swallowing airborne asbestos fibers. This aggressive cancer is characterized by tumors arising from the mesothelium, the protective layer that covers most internal organs.
Malignant mesotheliomas are cancers that begin in the mesothelium of the pleura (chest), peritoneum (lining of the stomach), pericardium (heart cavity). There are four main types of mesothelioma: pleural, peritoneal, pericardial, and testicular.
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Mesothelioma cancer is a known cause of this condition – asbestos. Asbestos is a fibrous mineral that has been used throughout the country for decades. When inhaled or ingested, the fibers often become lodged in the lining of internal organs, causing tumors.
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The survival rate for mesothelioma patients with treatment is 18 to 31 months. Cancer treatment can improve a patient’s quality of life and well-being. Common types of treatment for mesothelioma include traditional cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, surgery and radiation, as well as newer methods such as immunotherapy.
Life expectancy after diagnosis (usually expressed as five-year survival rate) is often poor; Approximately 46 percent of patients are alive one year after diagnosis. Therefore, timely diagnosis is important.
Early symptoms of mesothelioma are usually mild and may develop 10 to 50 years after initial exposure to asbestos. Additionally, many patients diagnosed with mesothelioma have had symptoms for several months before seeing a doctor for a diagnosis.
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Early symptoms of mesothelioma can be difficult to recognize because they are subtle. Studies show that early symptoms include chest or abdominal pain and fluid accumulation in the form of inflammation or swelling. Some warning signs of mesothelioma include anxiety, dry cough, fever, pain and fatigue.
Chest or lower back pain, shortness of breath, persistent cough, difficulty swallowing, swelling of the face and/or hands.
When these symptoms appear, patients and doctors often misdiagnose them for different, less serious illnesses such as the flu or pneumonia. In addition, malignant tumors often cause mild symptoms, and it is only when patients become seriously ill that they notice their severe symptoms. This means that most patients diagnosed with mesothelioma have symptoms for several months before seeing a doctor for a diagnosis.
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If you or someone you love believes you have a history of asbestos exposure, it is a good idea to share this information with your doctor. This can lead to an earlier, better diagnosis and treatment plan. Early detection of mesothelioma often improves the prognosis of the cancer.
Mesothelioma patients often experience anxiety because of their symptoms or diagnosis. In addition, when the body is sick, the immune system releases stress hormones and other chemicals that may negatively affect the patient’s mental health. Anxiety, the feeling of dread or worry, is a natural reaction that the body produces in response to danger or threat. There are two types of anxiety: acute and chronic. While living with mesothelioma, a patient may experience ongoing concerns:
Pleural mesothelioma develops in the lining of the lungs. Most patients diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma develop chest-related symptoms. A common symptom is a dry cough. Patients often experience a dry cough in stage I or stage II. As the cancer progresses, the dry cough becomes more severe and painful. In the later stages of cancer, the growth of the tumor can increase the pressure on the lungs, which causes a persistent dry cough.
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Other possible symptoms of mesothelioma are fever and night sweats. When the body temperature rises, causing a fever, the body sweats profusely to cool itself down. The body tries to regulate its temperature to fight the disease. These diseases include tumor growth, inflammation and many other conditions.
Tumors often cause pain to patients as they grow and press against nerves and organs. As the cancer progresses, fluid accumulation can cause pain with activities such as breathing, coughing, and eating. More than 60 percent of pleural mesothelioma patients experience chest pain, and 30 to 50 percent of peritoneal mesothelioma patients experience abdominal pain. In addition, cancer treatment can cause complications and pain for patients.
When a patient is suffering from cancer and undergoing treatment, they may feel weak and tired. Patients with weakness and fatigue may show signs of low energy and difficulty walking. People with fatigue often feel “tired” and have trouble staying alert. More than 80 percent of mesothelioma patients experience weakness and fatigue.
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Asbestos causes latent mesothelioma. Do you think you have been exposed? Request a case review to determine the cause and who is responsible.
Cancer cells form when the DNA of healthy cells is damaged. Although the exact mechanisms that cause mesothelioma are still unclear to cancer researchers, exposure to asbestos is believed to be the main cause of pleural mesothelioma. About 80 percent of people diagnosed with mesothelioma have been exposed to asbestos at some point in their lives.
When asbestos enters the body (usually as fine fiber dust), the tiny particles travel deep into the respiratory tract. Once there, these particles enter the pleura surrounding the lungs, causing inflammation and tissue injury. If the venom is ingested, it can travel through the digestive system into the peritoneum that connects to the stomach.
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Radiation therapy has been studied as another possible cause of some types of mesothelioma. Even the types of radiation used in cancer treatment can cause changes in the DNA of cells. Eventually, these changes spread, leading to cancer.
When a person is exposed to asbestos, the tiny fibers can enter the body in different ways. People can inhale or inhale asbestos fibers, which allow them to enter the body and bloodstream. Asbestos fibers are then deposited in the stomach, heart, lungs and/or testicles. Over time, these fibers cause the tissue to swell, leading to scarring of the tissue. Within the scar tissue, cancerous tumors grow, leading to mesothelioma.
About three out of four cases of mesothelioma are related to asbestos exposure, most of which are related to occupational accidents in a previous occupation. People at higher risk of being diagnosed with mesothelioma include jobs such as:
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The attacks on September 11, 2001 in New York also put many people at risk. Thousands of residents, Manhattan workers, and first responders inhaled huge amounts of asbestos dust released from the collapsed buildings.
Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer that starts in mesothelial cells in different parts of the body. Mesothelial cells can be found in the lining of the chest, heart, and lungs. These cells are also found in the mesothelium of the testes.
Lung cancer refers to tumors that grow in the lining of the lungs, or pleura. This type of mesothelioma is very common, accounting for 80 percent or about 2,500 to 3,000 cases each year.
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Patients with lung cancer often have symptoms related to the chest and lungs. Symptoms usually begin with persistent chest pain or coughing. Patients may have chest pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, or unexplained weight loss.
Tumors that grow in the peritoneum or lining of the stomach are called peritoneal mesothelioma. It is the second most common type of mesothelioma, accounting for 15 to 20 percent of annual diagnoses.
Symptoms of peritoneal cancer usually include abdominal swelling and abdominal pain caused by tumor growth. Stomach acid and weight loss are signs of advanced cancer.
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Mesothelioma can also develop in the muscular sac that covers the heart, known as the pericardium. Pericardial mesothelioma is very rare, with only a fraction of cases starting in the pericardium.
A rare form of mesothelioma is testicular mesothelioma, with only a few hundred people diagnosed in the United States.
Because of its absence, it is difficult to recognize the symptoms of testicular mesothelioma. The most common symptom among patients diagnosed with testicular cancer is a lump in the testicles that does not cause pain.
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When they do the test, doctors look at different cell samples from the affected area. The three main types of mesothelioma cells are:
A common type of cell and also easy to identify. These types are usually easier to remove surgically, giving patients better options.
Sarcomaoid cells account for 15 to 20 percent of cases. This species spreads rapidly, resulting in limited results.
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A combination of epithelioid and sarcomatoid cells accounts for 20 and 30 percent of cases. This type of treatment is more difficult than epithelioid.
Doctors use a combination of physical exams and tests to find and diagnose tumors. Because mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer, your doctor may ask about your occupation and medical history during the symptom evaluation. If your doctor believes you are at risk, he or she may order diagnostic tests.
Malignant mesothelioma does not recommend screening tests for those who are asymptomatic or at high risk for the disease. If you have been exposed to asbestos at work, doctors recommend regular imaging tests (such as X-rays), although they may not be completely effective in detecting cancer. CT scans, PET scans, MRIs, and echocardiograms may be used to determine if there are suspected lesions or inflammation.
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