Sunday, February 3, 2008

Mesothelioma / Asbestos

If you, your friends or families have been diagnosed with
mesothelioma, legal assistance is important in this complicated area of the law. Our Law Firm handles a wide variety of litigation, including mesothelioma and asbestos cases. Please call 1-800-256-1050 or e-mail us today!Mesothelioma is a form of cancer almost always caused by previous exposure to asbestos. Most people who develop mesothelioma have worked on jobs where they inhaled asbestos particles, a natural fiber that was once used in manufacturing a wide variety of industrial and household products.
Some people were exposed to asbestos dust and fiber in other ways, such as by washing the clothes of a family member who worked with asbestos, or by home renovation using asbestos products. Unlike lung cancer, there is no association between mesothelioma and smoking.
Symptoms of mesothelioma may not appear until 20 to 50 years after exposure to asbestos. Those include shortness of breath, cough, weight loss, fever and pain in the chest.
Mesothelioma occurs in the thin layer of tissue, called mesothelium that covers the majority of your internal organs. The two main areas affected are the lungs and abdomen. Mesothelioma that occurs in the tissue that surround the lung is called pleural mesothelioma and is the most common form. Mesothelioma that occurs in the tissue around the abdomen is called peritoneal mesothelioma.Mesothelioma Medical InformationMesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that involves the mesothelium, or cells that line an organ, usually the lungs, abdominal organs, and heart. The most common form of mesothelioma is pleural mesothelioma, where malignant tumors form on the pleura, the sac that lines the chest cavity and protects the lungs. Other forms of mesothelioma affect the peritoneum (abdominal cavity lining) and the pericardium the lining around the heart). It there is a reason to suspect that you have mesothelioma, your doctor will use one or more methods to find out if the disease is present. The first step in diagnosing mesothelioma is recognizing your symptoms.Diagnosis and Symptoms of MesotheliomaPeople often ignore the early symptoms of Mesothelioma or mistake them for common, minor ailments. Mesothelioma sufferers usually have symptoms for only 2 to 3 months before they are diagnosed. Pleural mesothelioma generally starts with pain in the lower back or the side of the chest. Other symptoms include shortness of breath, trouble swallowing, cough, fever, sweating, fatigue, weight loss, hoarseness, coughing up blood, swelling of the face and arms, muscle weakness, and sensory loss.Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include abdominal (stomach) pain, weight loss, nausea, vomiting, or a mass in the abdomen.If you experience any symptoms and have had any exposure to asbestos you should see a doctor immediately and report these symptoms.Diagnostic StudiesDiagnostic studies include x-rays, CT scans (computed tomography), PET scan (Positron emission tomogophy) and MRI scan (magnetic resonance imaging) help determine the location, size, and severity of the cancer).A chest x-ray can show irregular thickening of the pleura, calcium deposits, or fluid in the pleural space. These results could be from asbestos exposure causing mesothelioma.A CT scan or computerized tomography scan shows pictures of structures withing the body created by a computer that takes the data from multiple X-ray images and turns them into pictures on a screen. CT stands for computerized tomography.The CT scan can reveal some soft-tissue and other structures that cannot even be seen in conventional X-rays. Using the same dosage of radiation as that of an ordinary X-ray machine, an entire slice of the body can be made visible with about 100 times more clarity with the CT scan.The tomograms ("cuts") for CT are usually made 5 or 10 mm apart. The CT machine rotates 180 degrees around the patient's body. The machine sends out a thin X-ray machine, an entire slice of the body can be made visible with about 100 times more clarity with the CT scan.The tomograms ("cuts") for CT are usually made 5 or 10 mm apart. The CT machine rotates 180 degrees around the patient's body. The machine sends out a thin X-ray beam at 160 different points. Crystals positioned at the opposite points of the beam pick up and record the absorption rates of the varying thicknesses of tissue and bone. The data are then relayed to a computer that turns the information into a 2-dimensional cross-sectional image.The CT scanner was invented in 1972 by the British engineer Godfrey N. Hounsfield (later Sir Godfrey) and the South African (later American) physicist Alan Cormack. Ct scanning already in general use by 1979, the year Hounsfield and Cormack were awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology for its development.The CT scan is also know as the CAT (computerized axial tomography) scan.In a PET scan, radioactive glucose (sugar) is injected into your vein. Cancers use sugar much faster than normal tissues so the cancerous tissue absorbs the radioactive material. The scanner sports the radioactive deposits. This test can tell the difference between thickening tissue and cancer which helps diagnose the spread of the cancer.MRI scans use high powered magnets and radio waves to form an image. A computer can translate the pattern of radio waves given off by the tissues into a very detailed image. This can produce a cross sectional slice. CT scan and slices that are parallel with the length of length of your body. Ccontrast material can also be injected like the CT scan. MRI scans are useful in looking at the thin muscle, in the lung cage responsible for breathing, where mesothelioma can spread.Blood TestsBlood levels of a protein called osteopontin are elevated in people with mesothelioma and can be detected by a simple blood test which may indicate you have mesothelioma. Blood tests are also used to monitor your mesothelioma by tracking the levels of osteopontin.Tissue Samples and Fluid TestsSamples of fluids from the chest cavity, abdomen or pericardial fluid can be removed with a needle and tested for cancer cells. Tests are performed on the fluid to determine if the cancer is a mesothelioma, a lung cancer, or another type of cancer.A tissue sample or fluid sample of a pleural or pericardial tumor can be obtained using a technique called thoracoscopy. A thoracoscope, telescope-like instrument connected to a video camera, is inserted through a small incision into the chest. The tumor can be viewed through the thoracoscope, and special forceps can be used to take a tissue biopsy.Laparoscopy can also be used to see and obtain a biopsy of a peritoneal tumor. A flexible tube attached to a video camera is inserted into the abdominal cavity through small incisions on the abdomen. The specimen obtained from biopsy is tested for cancer.Surgery, either a thoracotomy (which opens the chest cavity) or a laparotomy (which opens the abdominal cavity), allows the surgeon to remove a larger sample of tumor or, sometimes, to remove the entire tumor.If your doctor suspects pleural mesothelioma, he can do a bronchoscopy, wherein a flexible lighted tube is inserted through your mouth, down the trachea, and into the bronchi. Masses in the airway of abnormal-appearing tissue can be removed for testing.Mediastinoscopy is a lighted tube which is inserted under the sternum (chest bone) at the level of the neck and moved into the chest. Mediastinoscopy allows the surgeon to view the lymph nodes and remove samples to check for cancer. Lymph nodes are bean-sized collections of immune system cells that help the body fight infections and cancers. Cancers in the lung often spread to the lymph nodes, less often in Mesotheliomas. Tests on lymph nodes can indicate whether a cancer is still localized or if it has started to spread, and can help distinguish lung cancer from mesothelioma.It is often hard to distinguish between mesothelioma and lung cancer by looking at the cells. Under the microscope, mesothelioma can look like several other types of cancer. Special laboratory tests are often done to help distinguish mesothelioma from other cancers.Immunohistochemistry and DNA Micro array analysis are techniques to recognize certain markers (types of chemicals) contained in mesotheliomas. The electron microscope can also help diagnose mesothelioma. This microscope can magnify samples more than 100 times greater than the light microscope that is generally used in cancer diagnosis. The more powerful microscope enables one to see the small parts of the cancer cells that distinguish mesothelioma from other cancers.
September 10, 2007
New Clinical Trial to Test Effectiveness of Vorinostat (Zolinza) on Malignant Pleural MesotheliomaA phase III clinical trial is underway, in Maryland, at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, to determine how effective vorinostat is at treating patients with pleural malignant mesothelioma. Research is underway specifically about Vorinostat, also known as suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid, is marketed under the brand name Zolinza. This mesothelioma clinical trial will try to ascertain the level of toxicity as well as any side effects that are occasioned in patients who have been prescribed Vorinostat (Zolinza) and to compare these results against those of patients who have been administered a placebo.The title for this ongoing project is "A Phase III, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial of Oral Suberoylanilide Hydroxamic Acid (L-001079038) in Patients With Advanced Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma Previously Treated with Systemic Chemotherapy" Raffit Hassan, MD, is the protocol chair for this study. The expected enrollment for the mesothelioma clinical trial study is 660 mesothelioma patients.All patients in this malignant mesothelioma research study must have a histologically or cytologically confirmed diagnosis of pleural mesothelioma, which may be of the epithelial, sarcomatoid or mixed sub-type. All patients must also have previously gone through 1 or 2 standard systemic mesothelioma treatments that included premetrexed disodium and either cisplatin or carboplatin. Researches on behalf of the mesothelioma clinical trial hope for some positive results and low side effects in the trial study of Vorinostat.For more information on this clinical trial for mesothelioma please visit National Cancer Institutes's webpage.Asbestos is the only known cause of mesothelioma, a terminal form of cancer that develops primarily in the lining of the lungs and the abdomen. Research into malignant mesothelioma has shown that mesothelioma generally occurs at least fifteen (15) years after the initial exposure to asbestos. Asbestos can cause mesothelioma even when the exposure occurs for a short duration. Asbestos fibers are microscopic and exposure can occur without a worker even knowing it. Mesothelioma occurs not only in people working directly with asbestos products but also in bystanders and family members exposed to asbestos dust.

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