Why is Mesothelioma Called the Silent Killer?
Mesothelioma is a silent killer that lies in wait for decades in your body before finally making its presence known and causing fatal results.
It is a form of cancer that is very rare. But since it is so rare, most people have never heard of the disease and its symptoms.
Mesothelioma is a cancer that affects the Mesothelium.
The Mesothelium is a protective lining that covers all of the body's internal organs as well as lines the inside of the abdomen. While it covers all of the organs, the most common organs affected are the lungs and heart.
Cancer of the lung Mesothelium (pleural Mesothelioma) is the most common of all cases.
What Causes Mesothelioma?
Asbestos exposure is the method by which Mesothelioma is contracted. Asbestos used to be one of the most common building materials used in the United States.
However concerns over its effects on the health of people who came into contact crept up in scientific circles.
By 1975, the use of asbestos had been banned.
This does not put us all out of the woods yet.
The symptoms of the disease can lie dormant for decades (typically two to four decades) after the initial exposure to asbestos fibers.
To illustrate this point, in 2005 (30 years after its ban) there were over 2,700 cases of malignant Mesothelioma.
What Are The Symptoms Of Mesothelioma?
It is called a silent killer for a reason.
Until it reaches the end stages there are previous little observable symptoms. The disease lies dormant inside the body for decades and then all of a sudden it aggressively attacks the Mesothelium.
The result is that the disease is almost always fatal. Over 75% of the people who have symptoms of Mesothelioma die within a year with the remaining 25% a few years later.
Types of Mesothelioma
There are two main types of the disease.
Plueral Mesothelioma (lungs) are about 75% of the cases presented.
The symptoms of this type of the cancer are difficulty breathing and chronic coughing. The problem, and the one that is most insidious, is that these are the exact same problems that someone with allergies or a cold might have.
Since the symptoms are similar, the disease can go undiagnosed for a long time.
Peritoneal Mesothelioma (stomach/intestines) represent another 15%-20% of cases and with symptoms such as anemia and fever, also are hard to diagnose.
If you find yourself with any of these symptoms and you think you may have been exposed to asbestos earlier in your life, consult a physician now.