If you were diagnosed with mesothelioma, a deadly cancer that develops in the protective lining of the lungs, abdomen, and/or the cavity around the heart, you will have questions about just about every aspect of living with the disease. You may be wondering how to deal with financial issues due to medical treatments, how the disease was caused and how to treat it.
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Symptoms & Types
Patients usually do not discover that they have mesothelioma until they are in the doctor's office because they attribute their symptoms to common everyday ailments.
Mesothelioma is caused by asbestos exposure and generally symptoms don't appear until 30 years after exposure.
Several methods and procedures are used in order to reach a complete diagnosis including:
- Tumor markers/blood test
- CT/CAT Scan
- PET scan
- Immunohistochemistry or IHC
Your treatment plan will generally involve surgery, radiation and/or chemotherapy. There are two general types of treatment: curative and palliative. Curative surgery is performed to seek a cure for your pleural mesothelioma. Palliative procedures are performed to reduce severity of symptoms.
A pneumonectomy and extrapleural pneumonectomy are two types of curative surgeries that may be performed on you in order to remove the tumor from your body. A pleurodesis and pleurocentesis are two types of treatments that may be performed on you to decrease the severity of your symptoms.
An important part of your treatment is staging of the cancer. There are generally four stages that are identified to gauge how far your cancer has progressed.