When malignant/cancer cells are shown on a CT Scan or MRI in the layer of tissue lining the chest cavity that covers the lungs, your doctor will give you a mesothelioma prognosis. The news will not be good and time will become a very important factor to you. The mesothelioma prognosis will detail that you will probably only survive for up to two years. The treatments you select to prolong your prognosis will actually determine not only how long you have left to live but the quality of life you will experience.
Once you have come to terms with your mesothelioma prognosis, you might want to find out about how you contracted the disease. The normal culprit is asbestos exposure. This could have occurred upwards of 30 years or more in the past and normally happened at a work place. The percentages are high if you worked in an industry – say construction or perhaps in the Navy – that had high levels of exposure before strict regulations were put into place by the EPA in 1980.
Working in close proximity to asbestos means you could have inhaled or swallowed the microscopic fibers. The time between exposure and actual mesothelioma diagnosis is usually decades because the symptoms of mesothelioma so closely resemble those of common winter ailments.
Many people with mesothelioma were employed or had homes in places where they could have swallowed and breathed in asbestos. After the exposure, it normally takes a long period of time for a mesothelioma malignancy to form. Other risk factors for malignant mesothelioma include having daily and close contact with someone who worked near asbestos or even washing the clothes of someone who worked heavily with asbestos. If the microscopic fibers adhered to their clothing, if handled by someone, they could again become airborne and enter the body the same way.
Symptoms of mesothelioma include pain under the rib cage and shortness of breath. Because of the fibers, fluid buildup can occur in the abdomen and around the lungs. If this has taken place, the patient most likely will be given a diagnosis of a malignancy. A medical professional and specialist should request a chest x-ray of the bones and organs within the chest. There will also be other examination requests to check for signs of disease such as lumps or anything else that appears out of the norm. These exams can include a CT scan which is a series of detailed pictures that will focus on the abdomen and chest cavities at different angles. A dye is used to show contrast between organs. Your doctors can also request a biopsy be performed. This is the removal of cell tissue from the affected area(s) so that it can be viewed under a microscope by a specialist called a pathologist. They will examine the tissue for any signs of cancer cells. Once all of the necessary tests are performed, your doctor can provide you with a more accurate mesothelioma prognosis.