Mesothelioma Cancer: A Brief Explanation

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer. Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer in which malignant cells are found in the mesothelium, a protective sac that covers most of the body's internal organs. These cells cover the outer surface of most of our internal body organs, forming a lining that is sometimes called the Mesothelium. They can invade and damage nearby tissues and organs. Cancer cells can also metastasize from their original site to other parts of the body. Most cases of mesothelioma begin in the pleura or peritoneum.

Although reported incidence rates have increased in the past 20 years, mesothelioma is still a relatively rare cancer. Statistics show that, because of their work history, the disease most often affects men between the ages of 50 and 70 who were employed in an asbestos-laden environment before asbestos warnings and bans were in place in the 1970s. Though women still have a much lower frequency of the disease, cases of second-hand exposure to asbestos has prompted more diagnoses among women, especially those whose male family members worked with asbestos. The occupations most associated with mesothelioma are shipyard workers, electricians, plumbers, construction industry workers, pipefitters, boilermakers, and anyone subject to heavy exposure to dangerous asbestos and airborne asbestos fibers. About 2,000 new cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed in the United States each year.
Treatment for mesothelioma depends on the location of the cancer, the stage of the disease, and the patient's age and general health. Standard treatment options include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Sometimes, these treatments are combined.


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