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Mesothelioma Claim - Symptoms Diagnosis and Prognosis

What is mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that develops in the outer lining of a number of internal organs.

Approximately 75% of mesotheliomas occur in the chest. The tumour develops in the lining of the lung which is called the pleura. This is called pleural mesothelioma.

Most other mesotheliomas occur in the lining of the abdomen. This is called the peritoneum. This is called peritoneal mesothelioma.

What Causes Mesothelioma?

The only known cause of mesothelioma is breathing in asbestos dust. This will have happened anywhere between 10 and 70 years ago.

Mesothelioma is not caused by smoking.

You can bring a claim for compensation if you are diagnosed with mesothelioma.

You should contact a specialist mesothelioma solicitor who can help you bring a mesothelioma claim.

What are the symptoms of mesothelioma?

Pleural Mesothelioma

Chest Pain

Shortness of breath

Feeling tired

High temperature

Sweating

Loss of weight and appetite

Difficulty swallowing

Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Stomach ache

Swelling in abdomen

Nausea and being sick

Loss of weight and appetite

Diarrhoea or constipation

 

How is mesothelioma diagnosed?

  1. The role of the GP

    If you have been exposed to asbestos dust and develop one or more of the symptoms above you should see your GP.

    If you have been exposed to asbestos dust your GP will refer you for a chest x ray if you have one or more of the following symptoms: Cough, tiredness, short of breath, chest pain, weight loss or loss of appetite.

    If you have chest pain or shortness of breath your GP should refer you to a specialist urgently.

    There are no NHS guidelines for referral to a specialist for peritoneal mesothelioma.

    It is always very important to let your GP know that you have been exposed to asbestos dust in the past.

  2. The role of the Specialist

    Diagnosis


    To reach a diagnosis of mesothelioma some of the following procedures are carried out:

    X-ray of the chest or abdomen

    Ultrasound of the abdomen

    CT scan of the chest or abdomen

    Drain any fluid around lungs or abdomen and send off to be tested.

    Thoracoscopy / Laparoscopy. This is done under local or general anaesthetic.  A small cut is made in the chest / abdomen wall and a tube with a camera is inserted. A small sample of tissue called a biopsy is taken and sent off to be tested.

    PET scan. This is used to see if the mesothelioma has spread outside the lung.

    When mesothelioma has been diagnosed further tests may be carried out to see how the mesothelioma has progressed and spread so that the appropriate treatment can be considered.

    What treatment is available?

    There is no known cure for mesothelioma and treatment is aimed at extending and improving the quality of life for as long as possible.

    Chemotherapy

    Anti-cancer drugs are generally given intravenously to destroy mesothelioma cancer cells. This is normally given weekly or once every 2 to 3 weeks. The aim of chemotherapy is to control symptoms and to shrink and slow down the growth of the mesothelioma.

    Radiotherapy

    Radiotherapy uses high energy rays to destroy mesothelioma cancer cells. This is normally only used for pleural mesothelioma. It is used to try and slow the cancer down, prevent the spread of the mesothelioma and in advanced cancer to try and control pain.

    Pleurodesis

    This is often carried out at the same time as a biopsy sample is taken for pleural mesothelioma. This involves sticking the pleura together to prevent the build-up of fluid in the pleura. This will often relieve symptoms of breathlessness.

    Cordotomy

    Under local anaesthetic a needle is used to destroy some nerves carrying pain in the neck. The procedure is used to provide pain relief for mesothelioma patients with one sided chest pain.

    Types of surgery

    The following surgery is sometimes undertaken for pleural mesothelioma. It is not a cure but aimed at extending and improving the quality of life. Surgery for peritoneal mesothelioma is very rare.

    1. Pleurectomy
    This is the removal of the lining that coats the inside of the ribcage.

    2. Radical Pleurectomy
    This is the removal of as much of the tumour as is possible. The lining that covers the inside of the ribcage, the lining of the lung, part of the lining of the heart and the diaphragm are removed.

    3. Extrapleural Pneumonectomy
    This is the removal of the whole lung, the lining of the lung, part of the lining of the heart and part of the diaphragm on the affected side.

    4. Decortication
    This is the removal of the lining of the lung.

  3. Clinical Trials

    Trials are carried out to find new and better treatments for mesothelioma. These are constantly changing. A list of current trials is kept on: www.nhs.uk/conditions/mesothelioma/pages/clinical-trial.aspx

This page was last updated on: 9 May 2017, 3:43 p.m.

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