Mesothelioma Asbestos Cancer Cases on the Rise
Mesothelioma asbestos cancer is steadily on the rise in the United States and will probably continue to claim lives for the next several decades. Many people are surprised to hear this, assuming that with the reduction in asbestos-containing materials used in the United States since the late 1970s came a reduction in cases of mesothelioma and other types of asbestos-linked cancers. Sadly, this isn’t the case.
Although the government determined that asbestos was extremely dangerous and contributed to various incurable ailments as early as the 1920s, asbestos was still used regularly in thousands of products until the 1970s. At that time usage was severely curtailed although not stopped altogether. In fact, hundreds of products today still contain asbestos that can cause mesothelioma asbestos cancer.
Experts predict that we will have at least two more decades during which mesothelioma cancer diagnoses will continue to rise rather than fall. There is also concern that as more buildings that contain asbestos are renovated or destroyed, there may be an upsurge in new cases.
History Shows Long Latency Period
The history of mesothelioma confirms a long latency period for asbestos cancer. The latency period of a disease is the length of time between exposure to a carcinogen (cancer causing agent) and when the symptoms of the disease are apparent. In the case of mesothelioma asbestos cancer, the latency period can be extremely long. Many individuals who were exposed regularly to asbestos in the 1970s are only now showing the symptoms of this fatal disease called mesothelioma cancer.
Surviving Mesothelioma and Other Cancers
In fact, statistics reveal that in most patients, diagnosis of this virulent asbestos cancer isn’t often made until the patients are suffering from end stage mesothelioma. This often happens because patients make little or no connection between their current symptoms and asbestos exposure decades ago. Because it doesn’t occur to them that they may have a form of cancer; instead, they assume their breathing problems may be simply allergies, progressing age or lack of fitness and will put off seeing the doctor until the mesothelioma cancer is too wide-spread for any chance of treatment.
Malignant Mesothelioma is Difficult to Treat
Mesothelioma asbestos cancer makes sufferers increasingly uncomfortable as chest pains, a dry, hacking cough and difficulty processing oxygen make their life unbearable. For this reason, many patients even in end stage mesothelioma undergo a variety of treatments so that they can be more comfortable and able to enjoy the last few years or months of their lives. Unless caught extremely early on, asbestos or mesothelioma cancer treatment is usually focused on prolonging life for a few years or, in more advanced stages of malignant mesothelioma, on making the patient more comfortable.
Fortunately, mesothelioma in childhood is extremely rare, primarily because few children are exposed to asbestos on a regular basis. The one exception is in children raised in a household where a parent or loved one brought home asbestos dust every day. Of course, children are affected by mesothelioma cancer in dozens of other ways, particularly when they lose a parent or grandparent to this disease.
In order to find out if your particular form of mesothelioma is treatable, talk to a physician who specializes in it. With several different types of treatment available, the quality of life for those with mesothelioma asbestos cancer can be improved.
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