Lung mesothelioma is a lethal medical situation arising from the infection of mesothelium by asbestos fibers. It is a rare form of cancer that affects people who had been in continuous contact with asbestos, either at homes or workplace. Medical science describes the disease as a rare cancerous growth affecting the mesothelial tissues that surrounds our vital organs as a protective cover. Three different types of this cancer, the pleural, peritoneal and pericardial, have been identified and named according to the areas they inhabit.
Mesothelium is a protective membrane found around vital organs like abdomen, lungs and heart. It helps in proper functioning of the organs too, albeit indirectly. Asbestos particles, after entering this lining, cause abnormal cell function, causing cancerous growths. In most incidents, it takes decades for the disease to show up and this prolonged latency is a limiting and disruptive factor affecting diagnosis and treatment.
Lung cancer and lung mesothelioma are two entirely different types of cancers. The former attacks the inside of the lung while the latter its protective lining. The prognosis of the disease is very poor and most patients die within 24 months after diagnosis. As in the case of any other cancer, this kind is also classified into four depending on its severity. Timely detection has saved many patients, but it never materializes in most cases because the disease attacks when it is not at all expected.
Asbestos exposure is the definite criminal here. The mineral, which is a naturally occurring silicate, was once considered a wonder material due to its all-around qualities like resistance to high temperature and electric shocks, ability to overcome chemical reactions etc. It was put to use in manufacturing a wide range of products like insulation products, construction material etc. But the workforce, who worked in asbestos-contaminated atmospheres, inhaled the airborne asbestos fibers and developed asbestos cancer. Many have died and many others are being diagnosed with the cancer even now.
In the present context, the emphasis is almost totally on taking proper precautions while handing the material to avoid future infections and providing suitable compensation to patients who are suffering from the cancer for no fault of theirs. Additionally, experiments and field trials are going on to explore more potent curse for lung mesothelioma as existing therapies have been proved to be ineffectual in a number of cases.