Mesothelioma is a devastating disease that affects 2,500 to 3,000 people each year. Statistics show that this rare form of cancer has caused more than 18,000 deaths between 1999 and 2005. Less than 10 percent of all mesothelioma patients live five years after diagnosis. Individuals who are diagnosed in early stages have more chances of survival. Statistics show that on average, patients live between four and 12 months after being diagnosed with this form of cancer.
Occupations at Risk for Mesothelioma
Malignant mesothelioma usually occurs in people who have been exposed to asbestos at work. Approximately 80 percent of mesothelioma patients have worked with products containing asbestos. Due to its resistance to heat, this mineral was commercially used in the automotive industry, the aerospace industry and the construction industry. Oil fields, paper mills, chemical plants and shipyards are the main job sites at risk for asbestos exposure.
This aggressive form of cancer affects those who worked as mechanical engineers, firefighters, drill press operators and tool makers. These individuals have been exposed to high concentrations of asbestos on a constant basis. Most people are diagnosed 20 years or more after exposure to asbestos.
Due to their small size, asbestos fibers can be easily inhaled or swallowed. These microscopic particles make their way to the chest cavity, heart or abdomen. Numerous studies have associated asbestos exposure with the development of gastrointestinal cancer, asbestosis, lung disease, carcinoma of the larynx and other deadly diseases. Even those who have been exposed to asbestos for one to three months can develop mesothelioma.
In most cases of mesothelioma, the aim of treatment is to control symptoms. Since this form of cancer is detected in advanced stages, doctors can only alleviate pain and control the cancer for as long as possible. Individuals who are diagnosed with mesothelioma typically undergo chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. The prognosis for asbestos cancer remains disappointing, although there have been discovered new drugs and treatments.
The main types of surgery used for treating mesothelioma include pleuroctomy and external pneumonectomy. Doctors use these procedures to remove all or most of the tumor and stop the build-up of fluid in the lung. Radiation helps reduce the size of the tumor and alleviates pain. Chemotherapy kills malignant cells and reduces the symptoms associated with this disease.
Mesothelioma Prognosis and Survival Rate
The patient’s age at diagnosis and his overall health can affect survival rates. Other factors that may influence a patient’s life expectancy include the extent of the tumor, the amount of fluid in the lungs, stage of cancer development and size of the tumor. Based on these factors, the doctor will determine how many years will live after diagnosis. Although survival rates are very low for mesothelioma patients, it is important to remember that research studies are being conducted across the globe to find a cure. Numerous clinical trials and alternative therapies have proven their efficiency in treating this disease.
People diagnosed with mesothelioma have been unknowingly exposed to asbestos at the workplace. Diagnosing and treating this rare form of cancer is very expensive. Enter your information in the form below to find out more about your legal options. We can help you find the best mesothelioma attorneys and receive financial compensation.