Getting To Know The Causes Of Mesothelioma

Gone were the days when Methuselah enjoyed life for 969 years without even being stricken by a disease, that is so life-threatening. The big C, as we often call cancer, was never heard then. At this day and age, the ill-effects of our own unhealthy lifestyle plague us; of the environment, we thrive and varied toxic substances that we, knowingly or unknowingly take-in everyday. It becomes a bonus when we reach the age of 69, that is, by the way, 900 years behind Methuselah’s long life. Despite the age of scientific finds and technological advancement, it is an irony that life span is cut short by a staggering 93%.

One of the primary causes of death in the 21st century is Cancer. The most- dreaded disease has overwhelmed the world with a record high of 33,900 deaths each year in the United States alone. Cancer is always believed to carry the “death sentence” most of which, we all know causes prolonged pain, agonizing effects on family members and results to untimely and painful passing away.

Although the number of deaths caused by cancer in the United States has actually decreased for the very first time in a period of 70 years, (the early cancer records began in the 1930’s), the fact still prevails, Cancer is a dreadful disease, deadly and shattering. One of the rarest forms of cancer is Mesothelioma. As uncommon as its name suggests, this cancer starts its development from the methoselium, the protective lining of the body’s internal organs. The most common cause of Mesothelioma is the overexposure to asbestos. This just reinforces the fact that environmental factors are likely the distinguishing causes of cancer, basically from poor nutrition, too much sunlight, smoking, obesity, free radicals and air pollutants in the environment.

Four parts of the body to which Mesothelioma take place are the following: pleura, the lungs’ outer lining and internal chest wall; peritoneum, the abdominal cavity lining; pericardium, a sac that surrounds the heart and the tunica vaginalis, a sac that covers the testis.

People who suffer from Mesothelioma can trace back their life and exposure to asbestos and glass particles. Most often than not, these people are directly exposed with jobs using either asbestos or indirectly involved with them like washing clothes with a loved one exposed to asbestos or inhaling residue from a nearby asbestos company. Although Lung Cancer is largely related to Mesothelioma, smoking is not the main cause of this dismaying disease, but it still intensifies the plausible risk of it.

The main causes of Mesothelioma would greatly comprise weight loss, loss of appetite, chest pains and shortness of breath. Although rare, Mesothelioma, when detected early can be countered with chemotherapy, radiation therapy and sometimes, surgery.

What Organs Are Affected by Lung Cancer?

As lung cancer is seldom diagnosed while at an early stage, and usually only by accident after a doctor has ordered a routine chest X-ray for another health issue, other vital organs in the body have already been affected by metastasis (its spread). It is quite common for 25% of all lung cancer sufferers to show no signs at all of having lung cancer present.

Unfortunately for many, the damage that has been caused to these organs is usually permanent. As the disease develops, metastasis is usually found not only in regional tissue, but in distant tissue too, allowing for it to move with relative ease throughout the body while infecting whatever gets in its way. Organs commonly affected by lung cancer are:

The Liver – Often the liver and adrenal glands (endocrine [glands that secrete hormones directly into the blood, and not through a duct] that sit at the top of the kidneys) are affected over a considerable amount of time without any noticeable symptoms to the sufferer.

The Brain – Usually the first symptoms that the brain has been affected by lung cancer metastasis is when the sufferer begins to have visual problems, memory loss problems, headaches, a noticeable loss of strength, or a partial seizure has occurred.

The Bones – When the bones have been affected, usually a noticeable discomfort will be present either in the vertebrae (backbone), or the ribs and thighs. Although these symptoms may be present much more earlier on, they usually either go unnoticed, or just get put down to the after-effects of something else.

The Nerves – Also prone to lung cancer metastasis are the nerves, when affected can cause many sufferers to experience aching pains in the shoulders that may also run along the outer-side of either arm.

The Vocal Cords – When the esophagus (the conduit that connects the mouth and stomach) has been affected, a sufferer may experience difficulty in swallowing. Often, this is when part of the lung has collapsed, resulting in an infection in the lung that can be extremely difficult to treat.

General Symptoms – When more organs in the body have been affected, a lack of appetite, weight loss (usually occurring when no exercise or dietary regime has been put in place), bleeding, and blood clotting may be noticed. Often when these symptoms are present, they easily go unnoticed due to being similar to the after-effects of other less serious illnesses.

However, if symptoms are persistent, it is always prudent to get them checked out by a doctor as soon as possible, as when lung cancer has metastasized to other vital organs in the body, a patients 5-year prognosis after diagnosis, is usually very poor.

Popular Procedures for Lung Cancer Treatment

Lung Cancer is the most fatal and responsible for the most number of deaths among all cancers. But thankfully, it is not beyond treatment, especially in its earlier stages. The best type of Lung Cancer Treatment depends on the stage and nature of the cancer. Appropriateness of the recommended treatment depends on the expertise of the Lung Cancer Specialist and goes a long way into ensuring a successful recovery. This article provides an overview of the most popular methods of treating Lung Cancer and the common side-effects associated with them.

Surgery

Surgery is the most common way of treating Lung Cancer. It involves removal of the tumor along with the affected part of the lung. Though this is a popular step, its feasibility largely depends on the stage of the cancer. Surgery is preferably not opted for, if the cancer has spread to other places. The types of surgery for Lung Cancer are determined by the size of the lung tissue which requires to get removed.

The procedure is termed Wedge Resection when only a small part of the lung has to be removed. Lobectomy or Bilobectomy is the removal of an entire lobe of the lung. In extreme cases, the entire lung may be required to be removed, in which case, it is called Pneumonectomy. Both Thoracotomy (large incision) and VATS or Video-assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery (small incision) can be used for Lung Cancer Surgery. The side-effects include complications due to surgery and pain.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation Therapy is used in 3 cases. It is used to shrink the tumor before surgery, kill the remaining cancer cells that may be left after surgery, or as the primary method of Cancer Treatment. Radiation Therapy, as the primary treatment, is mostly used when the cancer has spread too far for surgery to be feasible. The radiations can be administered either from outside the body or from right within the tumor.

Radiation Therapy is however a complicated process with a host of side-effects, like skin reactions, sore throat, nausea, pain, tiredness, etc. Reaction to Radio Therapy is usually quite fast but managing the side-effects is the task of an expert.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy, just like Radiation Therapy, attempts to destroy the cancerous cells. However, in this case, special drugs are used in place of radiation. The drugs are administered through tablets or intravenous lines. Chemotherapy has a huge risk of killing the healthy cells too leading to side effects like appetite loss, hair loss, fatigue, and more. Chemotherapy is being replaced with targeted therapy which is more accurate in attacking the cancerous cells.

Complementary Therapies

Many patients are going for complementary therapies to accompany their regular treatment regime. Techniques like meditation, Yoga, Therapeutic Touch, Ayurved, etc. have shown to lessen the effects of side effects and provide relief. However, it is highly recommended to consult your Lung Specialist on the same.

Consultation

Lung Cancer, being fatal, can take a lot of toll on the mental health of the patient and his near and dear ones. The Top Lung Cancer Treatment Centers have facilities for consultation on the same in their own premises or tie ups with those that provide the same.

The above are the some of the most popular methods that are being used to treat cancer. As further study on the matter brings newer facts to light, we are hopefully moving towards a world where Lung Cancer can kill no more. Till that times, ensure good health for your lungs with regular visits to a Lung Specialist.