Advancements in medical research have not yet been able to find a treatment to cure the aggressive cancer, mesothelioma.
Today, various types of asbestosis treatments, from chemotherapy, radiation and improved palliative care can help to extend a patient’s prognosis and quality of life.
It was too often the lack of asbestos awareness in traditional asbestos manufacturing industries throughout the UK’s peak industrial period of the twentieth century that allowed many thousands of workers to be daily exposed to the deadly asbestos mineral fibre dust.
From first exposure and inhaling of the fibres, which would become permanently embedded in the linings of the lungs or other other organs such as the heart or stomach, the disease would slowly develop over a long gestation period of between 15 to 50 years. Invariably, the first asbestosis symptoms emerged and diagnosis confirmed at a very late stage in the spread of the disease, which left the patient with between 4 to 12 months or possibly, up to two years left to live.
Catching mesothelioma cancer at an early stage is critical to a better survival rate. Unfortunately, the symptoms of mesothelioma cancer at an early stage often resemble those of other common ailments such as bronchitis and pneumonia, which leads to many mesothelioma patients to be misdiagnosed.
Early stage mesothelioma may still be ‘localised’, i.e. the cancer cells are found only at the site where the cancer originated but if the cancer cells have spread – or metastasized – to more sites beyond the original location, the mesothelioma is considered advanced and can be difficult to treat and life expectancy is reduced.
Patients who confuse early symptoms with several other common illnesses such as cold, flu, bronchitis, pneumonia or because of smoking, are fairly common. Doctors will often prescribe antibiotics or other types of treatment which do not have any effect at all on mesothelioma, delaying treatment and enabling the disease to spread.
Symptoms of Mesothelioma cancer may include the following: chest pain, shortness of breath, a chronic cough, weight loss, fever, abdominal swelling and pain, blood clotting abnormalities, bowel obstructions, lowered red blood cell count, irregular heartbeat.
Symptoms of the Common Cold, which normally lasts 4 to 10 days, are a sore throat, runny nose, followed by sneezing, fatigue and a slight fever, normally 100 F or less.
Symptoms of Influenza, which appears more suddenly than a cold and the symptoms, which exclude the stomach or intestine, are more severe and include fever typically over 100 degrees, sweats and chills, headache, dry cough, sore throat, and runny nose. Muscle pain and body aches in the back, arms, and/or legs, fatigue and an overall feeling of weakness and a loss of appetite, nasal congestion.
Symptoms of Bronchitis usually start after some type of upper respiratory infection like a cold or the flu, about 3 or 4 days later and lasts from 2 to 3 weeks, but often up to a month or more. The symptoms begin as a dry cough without mucus eventually leading to mucus, low fever under 101 degrees, fatigue, pain, tightness, or burning in the chest, wheezing sounds when breathing, particularly during any type of exertion.
Symptoms of Pneumonia, which are caused by bacteria and normally starts after a cold or influenza, are: mucus producing cough, fever, chills and shaking, shortness of breath and shallow breathing, pain in the chest wall made worse when coughing and breathing, rapid heartbeat, fatigue, nausea and vomiting.