Mesothelioma: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

Mesothelioma Tittle

Let me start by telling you what Mesothelioma is. Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer affecting the membrane lining of the lungs and abdomen. With October being National Healthy Lung Month I am sharing this information to help raise awareness of this disease.

Let me introduce you to Heather Von St. James

Heather Sharing my story

Eight years ago, Heather was diagnosed with Pleural Mesothelioma, The Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance describes Pleural Mesothelioma as a rare cancer often diagnosed in people who have been exposed to high levels of asbestos. The malignancy affects the pleura, which is a thin membrane of lubricating cells that lines the lungs and chest wall. It can sometimes take up to ten years or more for changes to appear that are indicative of Pleural disease, and even longer for symptoms to manifest. When Heather was diagnosed she had just given birth to her beautiful daughter Lily. Heather was told that she might not live to see Lily’s first birthday. Heather had to endure series of treatments and the removal of her left lung. But thankfully she is now a part of a very small group of Mesothelioma survivors.


Heather is now working with the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance to help educate others about the dangers of inhaling toxic substances, like asbestos. Asbestos is still not illegal in the US. I am helping Heather on her mission to keep others safe from it by writing this post.

Mesothelioma: Symptoms

Anemia: Mesothelioma patients diagnosed with anemia have a lower than normal red blood cell count or hemoglobin in the blood.

Blood Clotting Disorder: A symptom experienced by many mesothelioma patients that can lead to anemia and other serious complications if not given appropriate medical attention.

Bowel Obstruction: Bowel obstructions can be a direct effect of the cancer. It is a very painful symptom that can sometimes develop in peritoneal mesothelioma patients.

Chest Pain: Often experienced in pleural mesothelioma and pericardial mesothelioma patients, chest pain can develop as the tumor grows and places strain on the lungs and heart.

Dysphagia: Pleural mesothelioma patients often develop difficulty swallowing (esophageal dysphagia) as the mesothelium continues to grow on the lungs.

Fluid Effusion: An effusion can occur in mesothelioma patients when there is fluid buildup affecting either the pleura or pericardium. This may need to be drained in a relatively limited surgical procedure to control the effusion and associated symptoms.

Hemoptysis: Hemoptysis, or the symptom of coughing up blood, can have its origins in the lungs, bronchi or trachea of mesothelioma patients.

Nausea: Nausea is experienced in a number of cancer patients, as it is often a side effect of chemotherapy treatment and sometimes the underlying cancer. Those diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma may also experience nausea as a result of increasing abdominal pressure.

You can read more about the symptoms on the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance’s Website from which this information was taken.

Mesothelioma: Causes

Mesothelioma generally results from occupational asbestos exposure, but there are instances of environmental exposure that can also cause the disease. Often times a family member can be affected indirectly by secondhand exposure from an asbestos worker’s soiled work clothes. As was Heather’s case, her cancer was caused by wearing her dad’s work jacket that was covered in asbestos fibers to do outside chores when she was little.
Mesothelioma Causes

Image courtesy of the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance.

You can read about more contributing factors by Clicking Here.

Mesothelioma: Treatment

If there’s one thing we know about mesothelioma treatment, it’s this: we continue to be challenged to find the most effective way of treating the disease. The very rareness of the cancer—only about 3,000 people a year are diagnosed in the United States—makes it difficult to run the kind of research studies needed to compare treatments and determine the ideal therapy at each stage of the disease.  Read more about what treatments are being done and how choosing the right Mesothelioma doctor is an important first step in planning for treatment by Clicking Here.

You can connect with the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance on their Website,  Facebook,  Twitter and Google+

I want to thank Heather for sharing her story with me,  letting me share it with you,  and teaching me about Mesothelioma.  

You can connect with Heather on Twitter,  FacebookGoogle+ and this Website

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