Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that attacks the mesothelium, which is the inner lining that surrounds the organs. The only known cause of this disease is asbestos exposure.
The most common types of mesothelioma include pleural and peritoneal cancer. Pleural Mesothelioma attacks the pleura or the thin lining that surrounds the lungs and accounts for about 75 percent of all mesothelioma diagnoses. Peritoneal Mesothelioma targets the lining that surrounds the abdominal area and accounts for 10 to 20 percent of all diagnoses.
Mesothelioma develops when unsuspecting workers breathe in asbestos fibers. These fibers get lodged in the lungs and remain there undetected for decades. The disease is often not diagnosed until it is in the late state, limiting life-saving treatment options. Up to 30 percent of all mesothelioma victims have served in the military. Railroad workers, ship and boat laborers, and steel mill workers are also at a high risk for developing mesothelioma.
In most cases, asbestos cancer takes 20 to 50 years to develop. There are four stages of the disease that indicate how far the cancer has progressed. For many patients, most symptoms are not noticeable until stages III and IV, which are considered the later stages.
- Dry or raspy cough
- Lumps under the skin
- Pain while breathing
- Buildup of fluid in chest
- Pain while breathing
- Abdominal swelling
- Fluid in abdomen
- Nausea and vomiting
- Night sweats or fever
Patients who get an early and accurate diagnosis have greater treatment options, a better long-term prognosis and better access to funds to pay for treatment. An early diagnosis allows doctors to determine the best treatment plan based on the type and location of the cancer. If you are diagnosed through your local oncologist, you are encouraged to seek a second opinion through an asbestos cancer treatment specialist.
A confirmed diagnosis is vital to getting access to several types of financial assistance for treatment, living expenses and other medical expenses. Mesothelioma trust funds, legal settlements and VA compensation, in some cases, are among the several types of financial assistance available. It is important to note a statute of limitations to file a claim typically expires one to two years after the date of diagnosis.
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Lung Cancer vs. Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is frequently misdiagnosed as lung cancer because both diseases have similar symptoms, including shortness of breath, chest pains and coughing. Many mesothelioma cases are misdiagnosed each year leaving patients and families with the burden of covering the costs of medical care and other expenses.
Mesothelioma is so rare, general or local oncologists do not have the experience to diagnose and treat the disease effectively. Our patient advocates can help you connect with a specialist that can provide help you determine the treatment plan that is right for you.
How to Pay for Treatment
Mesothelioma bankruptcy trust funds, settlements, workers’ compensation and VA claims are just a few ways patients pay for treatments. The goal is to ensure patients and their families can live comfortably and financially secure while undergoing treatment. Financial assistance can cover the following expenses and more:
- Diagnostic Testing – Imaging, Biopsies, and Blood Tests
- Travel Expenses – Angel Flights
- Lodging Costs – Housing During Treatment
The Role of Patient Advocates
Patient advocates provide medical, financial, and emotional assistance for mesothelioma patients and their families. We have a nurse and doctor on staff to answer medical questions. Patient advocates provide guidance with financial resources, social security, treatment grants, veteran disability claims, and asbestos trust funds.
When a patient has been diagnosed with mesothelioma it is imperative the see a doctor that specializes in mesothelioma. Our doctor match program connects patients with the top doctors and cancer centers in the nation. Patient advocates serve an important role with helping patients to get cancer recommendations to the best treatment facilities. When a patient is matched with a specialist we communicate with the doctor and his/her staff to make an appointment. This expedites the process typically getting a patient an appointment within 7 days.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Asbestos. Retrieved From http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/asbestos/ – Accessed June 12, 2013
- National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health. Asbestos Exposure and Cancer Risk. Retrieved From http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/asbestos Accessed June 12, 2013
- Radiopaedia.org. Mesothelioma. Retrieved from http://radiopaedia.org/articles/mesothelioma
- RRoswell Park Cancer Institute. Mesothelioma Treatments. Retrieved from https://www.roswellpark.org/cancer/mesothelioma/treatment
- Bridda, A, et al. Peritoneal Mesothelioma: A Review. Retrieved from http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/555473_4
- Cancer.org. Surgery for malignant mesothelioma. Retrieved from http://www.cancer.org/cancer/malignantmesothelioma/detailedguide/malignant-mesothelioma-treating-surgery