This year’s October National Healthy Lung Month is looking at a cancer that is not normally talked about very much when the media talk about the big C. This cancer is called Mesothelioma Cancer and to be honest I had never even heard of it until Heather from Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance Blog contact me and asked if I would join in with National Healthy Lung Month.
- Amazingly around 2,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year, with men being five times more likely than women to develop a mesothelioma cancer.
- Most people are aged between 40 and 70 years when they are diagnosed.
- Mesothelioma most commonly occurs in the pleura which is the lining of the lungs. There are two layers of pleura, one lining the lungs and the other lining the chest wall. These two layers have some fluid in between them so they can slide over each other easily when you breathe in and out.
- Mesothelioma also occurs in the lining of the abdomen which also has two layers. (One lining the bowel and abdominal organs and the other lining the abdominal wall.) But this type of mesothelioma is around twelve times less common than a mesothelioma occurring in the pleura.
- Asbestos is the most common cause of Mesothelioma, the risk is greater to people who were exposed to large amounts of asbestos from an early age for a very long period of time. Which is why people in their 40’s are more likely to be diagnosed with mesothelioma after being in contact with asbestos through their work. (Building industry, Shipbuilding industry, Manufacture of household appliances, Motor industry, Power station, Telephone exchanges)
- Radiation has been link to some cases of Mesothelioma but these cases have been extremely rare. In the 1950’s a chemical called thorium dioxide (Thorotrast) was used in some X-ray tests.
The symptoms depend on weather the mesothelioma is in the pleura or the abdomen but either way it often takes many years after being exposed to asbestos for mesothelioma to occur. Resulting in the early stages showing no symptoms at all and both types of mesothelioma can cause nonspecific symptoms such as increasing tiredness, weight loss, increased sweating and a reduction in your appetite.
- When mesothelioma develops in the pleura, this causes the pleura to thicken and it may press inwards on the lung causing symptoms such as Shortness of breath, Chest pain, Cough and Hoarse voice.
- When mesothelioma develops in the abdomen the lining of the abdomen becomes thickened and fluid can collect in the abdomen causing symptoms such as Pain in the abdomen (tummy), Swelling in the abdomen, Feeling or being sick, Poor appetite, Losing more than 10% of your weight when not dieting and Diarrhoea or constipation.
I think its important that cancers such as Mesothelioma are talked about as well as the main stream cancers that are in the media everyday.
In my opinion it should not take a National Healthy Long Month to bring these cancers to the full front of peoples minds.
I am no doctor, have no medical training at all and after being asked by Heather to be part of this important National Healthy Lung Month. I carried out research into Mesothelioma and everything I have talked about in this post I have found throughout the internet. If you have any health concerns I advice you speak to your doctor and follow any advice they give you.