The Role of Surgery in the Palliative Care of Mesothelioma

The Role of Surgery in the Palliative Care of Mesothelioma
The Role of Surgery in the Palliative Care of Mesothelioma
July 6, 2016

Millions of people are still oblivious of the health risk of using asbestos in roofing of their houses. Such ignorance may prove costly in the later part of their lives as exposure to asbestos has been linked to a form of cancer known as mesothelioma.

Asbestos particles lodge in the lung tissues

The risk is higher among those that work in factories where asbestos is produced. Although those that use the material are at lower risk, they are not totally out of the picture. Asbestos is easily reduced into tiny dust and when inhaled will travel to the lungs and get stuck in the lung tissues where they eventually cause accumulation of fluids and swelling.

Read also: Breaking Bad News to Mesothelioma Victims and Families

The long latency period exacerbates the situation

Mesothelioma has a long latency period of twenty to fifty years meaning that those who have come down with the disease will only get to know at the later part of their lives (some only know in their seventies). Early diagnosis is a key to surviving in this disease.

Malignant mesothelioma leads to cell confusion

The cells of every living organism continue to divide until they have come in contact with other cells. Then they stop to divide. This phenomenon is known as contact inhibition. In the case of malignant mesothelioma, like every other malignant cancer, they make the cells lose their ability to communicate with other cells leading to continuous and abnormal growth referred to as tumor.

Read also: The Need for Mesothelioma Patients to Plan Realistic New Year Resolution

Surgery is an attempt to remove the tumor

When such tumors occur, doctors will normally recommend surgery. The essence of the surgery is to remove the tumor and the portion of the body where the cells have lost the cell to contact inhibition communication. Surgery is often the last resort in malignant mesothelioma.

Tumor will lead to death if not removed

Since the tumor is developing in the chest cavity or lung tissues, depending on the rate of its growth, the patient could experience difficulty in breathing as the tumor cells press against the alveoli. It could also press against arteries and veins, interrupting the supply of blood to certain regions of the body. When this occurs, necrosis would follow.

Read also: Different Questions You are Expected to Ask Your Mesothelioma Oncologist

Pleural mesothelioma can be diagnosed with tissue biopsy

Proper diagnosis of pleural mesothelioma does not follow the widely known diagnosis. Here, an adequate sized tissue biopsy is needed for effective and efficient diagnosis and assessment of the tissue biopsy can be done by either mini-open pleural biopsy or video assisted thoracic biopsy.

The difficulty in cure of mesothelioma is associated with wrong diagnosis

Most times, when people go to hospital for diagnosis because they have cough and other symptoms, they are often wrongly diagnosed as respiratory tract infections. The right diagnosis often comes only when the disease has progresses far into the body and little can be done at such moments.

It is difficult to cure mesothelioma with surgery

Even when the right diagnosis is made, it is still difficult to cure mesothelioma with surgery because there is no way for the doctors to tell how aggressive the disease is because of its nature and the part of the body it affects.

Read also: How Mesothelioma Caregivers can Cope with the Stress

Article highlights

  • Mesothelioma is a type of cancer caused mainly for the exposure to asbestos.
  • If the disease is discovered early, the patient has a higher chance of survival.
  • Pleural mesothelioma affects the lung tissues and chest cavity.
  • Mesothelioma is often wrongly diagnosed as respiratory infections.
  • It is not easy to cure with surgery because of the morphology of the disease.
  • Tumor occurs because of uncontrolled cell division.
  • Surgery would aim to remove the tumors where possible.
  • The right and confirmatory test can be done using tissue biopsy.
  • A high percentage of people with the disease usually get to know at their old age.
  • Mesothelioma has a long latency period that often reaches fifty years.

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