Mesothelioma typically occurs decades after a person’s initial exposure to asbestos.
Symptoms of pleural mesothelioma include shortness of breath, chest pain and/or general symptoms such as fatigue, a persistent cough and weight loss. Peritoneal mesothelioma symptoms include stomach swelling and pain, problems with bowel movements, weight loss and fatigue. Despite treatments, mesothelioma has a poor prognosis since there is no known cure for this disease.
If you developed symptoms of mesothelioma, even if your symptoms began years after your initial exposure to asbestos, please speak with your doctor. When you are ready to take legal action, contact Waddell Anderman Law Firm online or call 225-283-8650. Your initial consultation is free.
Diagnosis of Mesothelioma
Since the symptoms of mesothelioma are often similar to those of other cancers, diagnosis can be difficult.
As with other medical problems, diagnosis begins with a review of the patient’s medical history and a physical examination. Radiographic examination by x-ray and/or CT scans or MRIs are usually performed. These radiographic findings may reveal pleural changes or stomach fluid that raises suspicion for mesothelioma.
If a large amount of fluid is discovered on x-ray, CT scans or MRI, then the fluid may be drained to see if abnormal cells may be detected by cytology. If cytology is positive for possible cancerous cells, then a biopsy is usually needed to confirm a diagnosis of mesothelioma. A biopsy is when a doctor removes a sample of tissue for examination under a microscope by a pathologist. A biopsy may be done in different ways, depending on where the abnormal area is located. Different procedures are required depending upon the location of the abnormal growth. For example, small incisions may be needed in the chest or abdomen to obtain tissue samples for examination.
Treatments for Mesothelioma
Treatment of mesothelioma is primarily based upon the staging or tumor development of the mesothelioma in the patient as well as the age and health of the patient. Options may include chemotherapy, radiation, and in some cases, surgery.
- Surgery: Surgery alone has not been an effective tool in treating mesothelioma. However, there has been some success when surgery is used in combination with radiation and chemotherapy. Delivering radiation and chemotherapy after a radical surgery has led to extended life expectancy in selected patient populations, with some patients surviving more than five years. As part of a curative approach to mesothelioma, radiotherapy is also commonly applied to the sites of chest drain insertion to prevent growth of the tumor along the track in the chest wall.
- Radiation: Although mesothelioma is resistant to curative treatment with radiotherapy alone, palliative radiation treatments are sometimes used to relieve symptoms caused by tumor growth. Radiation therapy, when given alone with curative intent, has never been shown to improve survival from mesothelioma.
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is the only treatment for mesothelioma that has been proven to improve survival in randomized and controlled trials. The most common chemotherapy treatment is a combination of cisplatin and pemetrexed (brand name Alimta). The combination of these two was proven effective in the landmark study published in 2003 by Vogelzang and colleagues that showed a statistically significant improvement in survival from 10 months in the patients treated with cisplatin alone to 13.3 months in the patients treated with a combination of cisplatin and Alimta. The study also showed improvements in the quality of life and lung function tests of the patients in the combination group.
Contact a Mesothelioma Lawyer
For answers to your questions and to discuss your rights, contact our law firm online today. You may also call 225-283-8650 to learn more about our services and how we can help.