Asbestos and the risk of Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Asbestos is a natural mineral that was once used in the construction and home improvement industries. It was put on ceilings when it was mixed with aertex, it was used to make surfaces semi flame resistant and it was also mixed with cement as it is very strong. At one point asbestos was seen as a revolution for these industries as it was just so versatile - it was also deadly. No one realised at the time that every time they were exposed to asbestos that they were taking their life in their hands and putting themselves in grave danger. Asbestos is now banned but its legacy lives on in the thousands of people who are feeling the after effects of being exposed to it over the years. Exposure to asbestos is directly related to certain types of cancer, including peritoneal mesothelioma which is cancer of the membranes in the abdominal cavity. Peritoneal mesothelioma is the second rarest form of mesothelioma and each year it is responsible for around 20% of the cases of diagnosed mesothelioma. As exposure to asbestos is the only known cause of peritoneal mesothelioma there are two main ways that doctors believe that it can actually reach the abdominal wall. One way is through the digestion of asbestos fibres which is actually easy than most might think. Once in the digestive system the asbestos fibres get stuck in the peritoneum and over time this can result in peritoneal mesothelioma. The second way that asbestos gets to the abdomen is through the lymph nodes and lungs when asbestos is inhaled. In some cases pleural mesothelioma will result in peritoneal mesothelioma ad the asbestos moves through the lungs and into the abdominal cavity if left untreated and undiagnosed for some months. Suspicion of peritoneal mesothelioma is usually made when a patient exhibits signs such as pain in the abdomen, chest or stomach and many suspect hernias are actually created by a tumour caused by peritoneal mesothelioma. Often a misdiagnosis that does not include peritoneal mesothelioma can be made and this can have severe repercussions on the life expectancy of a patient. It is usual for someone who is thought to have peritoneal mesothelioma to have to undergo many tests to get a correct diagnosis and these tests are imaging scans and tissue biopsies. Patients who are found to have peritoneal mesothelioma do not have a good prognosis. However if a diagnosis of peritoneal mesothelioma is made early enough they could have surgery to remove the disease and some cases it can extend a patient's life span for a few more years. If surgery is not an option then chemotherapy or radiotherapy can help although there is no guarantee that this will make much of a difference. It is essential that a person with peritoneal mesothelioma gets the right kind of treatment for any pain that they experience so that they are as comfortable as they can be. Peritoneal mesothelioma, like the other forms of mesothelioma is highly unpleasant and hard to live with.

Reference: Mesothelioma?


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