Friday, July 30, 2010

Mesothelioma Cancer Diagnosed- Questions to ask

Following diagnosis, uppermost amongst a patient's thoughts will be these..."Am I going to die?", "Will I be in much pain?". As there is no cure for mesothelioma it is important that the patient is advised that with modern treatment they can, for months or years, live a normal life for most of the time. And that the modern drugs are very effective at keeping pain under control and relieving it.
Obviously the treatment aspect is extremely important and the patient and close relatives must ensure that they get the consultant and doctors to explain comprehensively how it is all going to work. It is advisable to compile a list of questions to put to the medical staff prior to any appointments or consultations and to get a relative or close friend to go along with the patient.
I would advise taking a look on the internet for information about the disease and printing out relevant bits. I did this when my father was diagnosed with stomach cancer. When I showed the consultant what I had been studying, I sensed a more open discussion and perhaps a few more technical details were covered that otherwise might not have been.
There is no harm in taking notes with you and you might even consider taping the discussion. These are potentially highly stressful and upsetting meetings which might mean that you don't remember all that was said. You'll want to know where and when the treatments will take place.
Include questions about possible side effects and the range and type of drugs they will be taking. And how the drugs will be taken, injection, by mouth, intravenous etc.
Difficulties arise when a question is asked about how long the patient has got to live. It is impossible for the doctor to predict the future exactly for an individual patient and they would be putting unecessary pressure on themselves if they did. This uncertainty is not good for the patient and vague answers never satisfy anyone. I would push the doctor for an educated guess based on his experience and the results he has at hand. This is only my opinion. I would want to know if I've got months (which could be two or three) or years (which could be 12 months).

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Signs Of Mesothelioma Lung Cancer

Exposure to Asbestos can be an occupational or environmental hazard. People who live in central Turkey are environmentally exposed to the naturally occurring asbestos in that area with some families having a genetic predisposition to the erionite in asbestos which causes Mesothelioma. Others at risk are families that live in old buildings containing asbestos. Children that are exposed are at a much higher risk to contract Mesothelioma. People who are occupationally exposed to asbestos are those who work in mines, mills, factories, naval shipyards that use the mineral in manufacturing. Other people subject to exposure to asbestos are construction workers who remodel old buildings or are involved in their demolition. Also asbestos can be brought home on clothing which can cause second hand exposure to family members.  Finally, studies show asbestos exposure and cigarette smoke (a carcinogen) put you at a 90 times greater risk for lung cancer.
Symptoms to the conditions above include coughing, shortness of breath (due to pleural effusion which is fluid between the lung and chest wall), chest wall pain, and weight loss. Diagnosis is suspect by chest x-ray and CT scan. It is confirmed with a biopsy and microscopic examination. A thoracoscopy test (camera and tube into the lung) may also be done. Treatment involves chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery. Sadly to say, all carry a poor prognosis and screening tests for early detection are ongoing. At this time an elevated serum osteopontin level may be the only clue available to the onset of these illnesses.
Since asbestos exposure is unhealthy and hazardous and leads to serious health conditions, today occupational safety standards against exposure in the work place are in force. The use of respirators, protective clothing, exposure monitoring, hygiene facilities and practices, warning signs, labeling, record keeping, and medical exams. The key factor against exposure is the wearing of personal protective equipment which is essential to lowering the risk.
Because asbestos has been in use for over a century now, millions of American workers have been unknowingly exposed to its devastating effects to the body if inhaled. If you have become a mesothelioma patient yourself you need to be aware of your rights and pursue legal action if necessary. Hopefully this article has made you aware of the dangers and warning signs to you and your family that you may be able to avoid exposure and its serious consequences