Monday, March 12, 2012

What Everyone Should Know About Malignant Mesothelioma

Malignant mesothelioma is a term that refers to nearly every case of mesothelioma. Although previously some medical professionals used the term benign mesothelioma to refer to some forms of mesothelioma, this has changed in recent years. Conditions that were formerly called benign mesothelioma have now been reclassified as another, separate condition.

What does malignant mean?

In general, malignant is a term used to describe conditions that are getting worse. For cancer, this usually means that the tumor is growing; affecting healthy tissue located nearby, and that it may metastasize.

What is malignant mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a cancer that affects the mesothelium, the tissues that supports and protects organs within the body. There are four types of malignant mesothelioma, although testicular mesothelioma is so rare that less than one hundred cases have been reported. The three more common forms of this cancer include pleural, peritoneal, and pericardial.

- Pleural mesothelioma affects the tissues around the lungs and the lungs themselves. This is the most common form of mesothelioma. About three out of every four cases of mesothelioma are classified as pleural mesothelioma.

- Peritoneal mesothelioma affects the abdominal region of patients who are diagnosed with this disease. It is concentrated in the tissues surrounding these organs. Peritoneal is the second most common form of the disease, comprising between 10 and 20 percent of all cases.

- Pericardial mesothelioma, the most rare of these three forms, affects the tissues surrounding the heart. It is far less common than the other two forms but more common than testicular mesothelioma.

Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos. Asbestos is a toxic compound used in a variety of industries and still found in buildings and workplaces in the United States. Patients are diagnosed with mesothelioma when they report symptoms of the disease to their doctors. However, the symptoms of malignant mesothelioma are similar to those of many other conditions, so it is extremely important to tell your doctor if you have been exposed to asbestos so he or she will know to test for this form of cancer.

There are several forms of treatment for mesothelioma including surgery to remove tumors when possible, chemotherapy, and radiation. In general, these treatments are more successful when the disease is caught earlier.

Finding out that you have malignant mesothelioma can be a frightening realization. For the legal guidance you need, contact the Louisiana mesothelioma attorneys at Landry and Swarr who have experience working with families in this area of the law, and can help you make the best decisions for yourself and your loved ones.

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