Malignant mesothelioma is a cancer of mesothelium. The mesothelium surrounds the lung and abdomen, allowing organs to slide past each other (like when the lungs expand and contact or the digestive system moves food through the intestines).
Two thirds of mesothelioma cases diagnosed are pleural mesothelioma, or a cancer of the lining of the lungs. Most of the remaining cases are peritoneal mesothelioma, or a cancer of the lining of the abdomen. Mesothelioma can affect, however, the lining of the heart (or pericardium) or the lining of the reproductive organs.
Since it often takes between 20-30 years from the initial exposure for mesothelioma to develop, people with exposure to asbestos in the 1950's , 60's, and 70's are now being diagnosed. Because of mesothelioma's aggressive nature, most patients with this rare cancer live only a short time; however, a wide variety of new treatments and procedures are constantly being researched and tested, and many of these have successfully extendedand improvedthe lives of mesothelioma patients.
In many industries, specialists focus on certain areas of practice. Perhaps filling a common need, or focusing on a unique situation. Plaintiffs' attorneys who specialize in mesothelioma litigationand the other asbestos diseasesfocus on the needs of those who have suffered asbestos exposure. Asbestos lawsuits fall under an area of law sometimes referred to as toxic torts (torts being injuries).
For over three decades, GPW has specialized in the practice of asbestos law, representing many individuals throughout the US who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, lung cancer, or other asbestos-related diseases. As a result of this focus, our mesothelioma lawyers have the knowledge and experience to fight for the best possible asbestos compensation.
Just as you would seek out the opinion of an oncologist to treat cancer, when you are seeking a lawyer for your mesothelioma lawsuit, it is important you find an attorney experienced in asbestos litigation. Learn more about our law firm's asbestos experience, our mesothelioma attorneys, or our Ask an Asbestos Attorney for answers to common questions. Or feel free to contact us directly for more information.
Because our mesothelioma attorneys represented many individuals that have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, as well as other asbestos-related cancers, we have become familiar with many of the treatments and protocols that victims may be offered. The purpose of the following information and links is to educate our clients and visitors to our web site about the various treatments that we know about. This information has been compiled for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Visitors with medical questions should promptly consult with a physician licensed in their state of residence. For more information on mesothelioma and the latest news on new mesothelioma treatments, please visit the Mesothelioma Center.
Surgery is sometimes offered to victims of mesothelioma and is often a consideration for victims of lung cancer and other asbestos-related cancers. With respect to mesothelioma and lung cancer, there are at least three major operations that many of our clients have undergone: lobectomy, pneumonectomy and extrapleural pneumonectomy. The goal of all three operations is to surgically resect (cut out) the cancerous tissues. A lobectomy is the surgical removal of one or more lobes of the lung. A pneumonectomy entails the removal of the entire lung. An extrapleural pneumonectomy involves the removal of an entire lung, as well as portions of the pleura and diaphragm. There are eligibility criteria for each operation which you need to discuss with your physician. Some of the criteria considered by physicians in determining eligibility for these surgeries include pulmonary function reserve, cell type of the cancer, staging (progression) of the cancer and other treatment received to date. Results of surgery, offered alone or in conjunction with other therapy, varies widely.
The goal of radiation therapy is to kill cancerous cells and shrink tumors. Radiation therapy is offered in two forms: external radiation therapy and internal radiation therapy. External radiation therapy, which is the most common form of radiation therapy, involves precise application of radiation to the specific cancerous organs and surrounding tissues from an external machine. Internal radiation therapy entails the insertion of radioactive isotopes directly in the body through a surgical procedure. Radiation is sometimes offered to Mesothelioma patients in an attempt to control pain. This type of radiation therapy is known as palliative radiation.
Chemotherapy, in contrast to radiation therapy, is a systemic treatment in that the chemotherapy drugs circulate throughout the entire body with the goal of killing cancer cells. Chemotherapy is sometimes prescribed by injection or by oral administration. Chemotherapy comes in a wide array of forms and treatment protocols, some of which are still considered experimental or radical. Similar to internal radiation therapy, described above, chemotherapy is sometimes implanted directly in the chest and/or pleura. Chemotherapy is sometimes prescribed in conjunction with radiation therapy or offered alone.
If you are suffering from mesothelioma, please ask your physician if you qualify for any of these treatments.
Though mesothelioma has no cure, there are clinical trials currently underway to test new drugs and procedures in the fight against the disease. All clinical trials or studies are divided into different phases:
In order to be sure the study results are accurate, trial participants in all phases must fit a certain profile. Eligibility for mesothelioma trials are often specific as to age, how long it has been since therapy, stage of disease, and other characteristics. To find out about the eligibility requirements and other information for the trials listed below, click on the clinical trial web site listed after each trial.
Learn more about lung cancer and mesothelioma clinical trials.
From the Mesothelioma Center:
The mesothelial membrane which lines the chest and lungs is known as the pleura. This thin membrane folds over on itself, creating two layers which can then easily slip against one another, allowing the lungs to expand and contract.