Malignant Mesothelioma - Pleural Mesothelioma & Peritoneal Mesothelioma
Malignant mesothelioma could become possibly the greatest health crisis ever faced by the American public. This disease does not discriminate in its victims; although the great deal of people that struggle with malignant mesothelioma now are into their 60s or 70s or 80s, some doctors and other healthcare professionals believe there could possibly be a mesothelioma epidemic in the decades to come due to the fact that virtually everyone in the United States has been asbestos at some point in their lives.
The latency period between exposure and malignancy is quite long, making this disease extremely difficult to detect, and in some cases it only takes an single contact with asbestos to begin the domino effect that will eventually result in malignant mesothelioma.Malignant mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects the mesothelium, the lining that surrounds many important organs. The mesothelium is a mucous membrane that secretes lubrication so that the organs can move and function properly. Correspondingly, there are three main types of mesothelioma:
- Pleura: this sac surrounds the lungs and the thoratic cavity
- Peritoneum: this sac surrounds the stomach and lower intestines
- Pericardium: this sac surrounds the heart
When asbestos enters the body through inhalation or ingestion, its jagged, microscopic shards pierce the organs it settles in and tear through them into the mesothelium. Once the shards pierce the mesothelium, the tissue can develop malignant mesothelioma plaques and cancerous tumors. Although pleural mesothelioma is the most common type of malignant mesothelioma because asbestos fibers are easily carried through the air, due to the location in the chest and natural function of the lungs this deadly cancer can spread easily from them through the circulatory system.
Once malignant mesothelioma is entrenched in the mesothelium the organ in question will begin to malfunction. The organs can no longer move easily; this means the lungs cannot inhale or exhale, the heart cannot pump, and the gastrointestinal tract cannot process food properly. Treating mesothelioma is often difficult because the initial stages are often confused with less dangerous conditions, and by the time symptoms appear they are often too advanced to treat. This is a quite painful and unpleasant experience, and most victims of malignant mesothelioma rarely live longer than a year after diagnosis.
Asbestos was used throughout the United States because it is sturdy, pliable, and an extremely effective insulator. Schools, churches, office buildings, private homes, virtually every structure had asbestos in the walls, ceilings, or floors. Unfortunately, as the material breaks down it can release its deadly fibers into the air where they can be inhaled or ingested by anyone in the area. Another deadly aspect of this material derives from the fact that it is extraordinarily small and extraordinarily light. Asbestos fibers can settle on the hair and clothes of those that have initial contact with it, and they can carry it with them and potentially expose others to malignant mesothelioma.
It will take decades to determine what effect asbestos has had on the population of the United States. Time will tell if the worst fears of malignant mesothelioma held by some doctors and scientists come true. Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/488568