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Mesothelioma Cancer | Asbestos Exposure & Risk | Mesothelioma Symptoms & Statistic | Diagnostic Methods | Treatment And Side Effects
Initial symptoms of mesothelioma are similar to the ones that appear in pneumonia. These include shortness of breath, difficulty while breathing, persistent cough, chest and abdominal pain. People, usually tend to ignore these symptoms. At times, fluid build-up between pleura and chest cavity (called pleural effusion) leads to hypopnea (or even apnea) or dyspnea. Where hypopnea refers to low breathing rate, apnea refers to negligible breathing. Dyspnea stands for painful brathing. Some people might not develop any symptoms at all.
Most of the people die within 4-12 months of appearance and diagnosis of first visible symptoms. Very rarely, people may live longer. Over 50% of the patients suffering from malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) have pain in the lower back, or at the side of the chest. Many people also report trouble while swallowing, cough, fever, sweating, fatigue, and weight loss. Other symptoms that are less common include hoarseness, coughing up blood, swelling of the face and arms, muscle weakness and sensory loss.
Number of people suffering from diffuse mesothelioma has nearly doubled in 10 years. In 1991, 520 cases of mesothelioma were reported in males and 20 in females in the U.S. In 2001, this number went up to 755 for males and 40 for females. The statistics of 2003 show the number to be 1170 and 80 respectively. No age-specificity for the disorder has been discovered as yet.
# Though mesothelioma is considered to be a rare form of cancer, approximately 2000 cases of this form of cancer are reported annually in the US.
# For every death due to mesothelioma, there are between one and two lung cancer deaths.
# As per a report published in 1995, asbestos epidemic would continue for another 30 years (from 1995). For men born in 1940s, nearly 1 in 100 would die due to mesothelioma eventually.
# For building workers, the risk ratio is 1:40.
# Presence of asbestos in lungs/ pleural cavity can be picked up by X-ray in around 4 out of 5 cases.
# Anti-cancer drug Alimta was approved after a clinical trial of 448 patients. These patients showed an increased survival time by about 30%. Patients who received Alimta and the standard chemotherapy drug cis-platin lived an average of about 12 months, compared to about 9 months for patients treated with cis-platin alone.
# The drug Alimta is given in a single 10-minute infusion every 3 weeks.
# The median age of diagnosis of mesothelioma is 60.
# Out of 4 mesotheliomas, 3 originate in the chest cavity (pleural mesotheliomas). Another 10-20% of the cases are reported to have originated in the abdomen (peritoneal mesotheliomas).
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