Mesothelioma or Malignant mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer involving the linings of the lungs or peritoneum called pleura or the peritoneum. Pleura is the thin layer of tissue that is between the chest cavity and the lungs and the peritoneum is a thin layer of tissue that lines most of the organs in the abdomen.
Mesothelioma has so far been an incurable cancer and once diagnosed most patients will die within a year. The link between asbestos exposure and mesethelioma is now well established. Asbestos as a result has been named the 'The feared fibre of death' by some researchers.
The link between asbestosis and mesothelioma was proved in a paper in the British Medical Journal in 1960. In the UK, asbestos use in homes has been totally prohibited from 1999.
Mesothelial cells are special cells that line the chest cavity, abdominal and heart cavity. The tissues formed by the mesothelial cells are called as Mesothelium. The mesothelium helps protect your organs by producing a special lubricating fluid that allows organs to move around. This fluid makes it easier for the lungs to move inside the chest during breathing.
A malignant tumor of the mesothelium is called a malignant mesothelioma. Because most mesothelial tumors are cancerous, malignant mesothelioma is often simply called mesothelioma.Some facts about Mesothelioma are as follows
• Asbestos has been used since ancient times by Greeks and Romans and used as tablecloths, napkins or clothes. The slaves whom used them lived for a shorter time and usually died of breathing or respiratory problems.
• Asbestos companies have always known of this material and have often ignored the normal precautionary norms for their workers like wearing masks and having regular medical check-ups.
• In the medical journals the first report of death due to this condition appeared in 1924.
• Death from this condition is expected to rise to at least 1 million over the next 30 years.
• In USA 3000 people are diagnosed of mesothelioma or other asbestos-related conditions and worldwide this number is 10,000 people.
• India, asbestos consumption grew from 5,600 metric tons in 70s to 123,000 tons in the 90s.
• In USA Mesothelioma cases settle on average between $750,000 and $8 million.
• Victims who are exposed to asbestos and who smoke have a 50-90% increase in the likelihood of developing mesothelioma lung cancers.