Friday, April 15, 2011
The prognosis for malignant mesothelioma remains disappointing, although there have been some modest improvements in prognosis from newer chemotherapies and multimodality treatments. Treatment of malignant mesothelioma at earlier stages has a better prognosis, but cures are exceedingly rare. Clinical behavior of the malignancy is affected by several factors including the continuous mesothelial surface of the pleural cavity which favors local metastasis via exfoliated cells, invasion to underlying tissue and other organs within the pleural cavity, and the extremely long latency period between asbestos exposure and development of the disease. The histological subtype and the patient's age and health status also help predict prognosis.
Working with asbestos is the major risk factor for mesothelioma. In the United States, asbestos is the major cause of malignant mesothelioma and has been considered "indisputably" associated with the development of mesothelioma. Indeed, the relationship between asbestos and mesothelioma is so strong that many consider mesothelioma a “signal” or “sentinel” tumor.
Chest wall pain
Pleural effusion, or fluid surrounding the lung
Shortness of breath
Fatigue or anemia
Wheezing, hoarseness, or cough
Blood in the sputum (fluid) coughed up (hemoptysis)
Blood clots in the veins, which may cause thrombophlebitis
Disseminated intravascular coagulation, a disorder causing severe bleeding in many body organs
Jaundice, or yellowing of the eyes and skin
Low blood sugar level
Pulmonary emboli, or blood clots in the arteries of the lungs