The mesothelium is a membrane that lines parts of the body including the abdomen and chest, along with most organs. The function of the mesothelium is to provide lubrication to allow organs to move against the neighboring tissue.
There are different names for mesothelium depending on where it is in the body:
• pleura – lungs
• peritoneum – inside the abdomen including organs within
• pericardium – heart
• tunica vaginalis — testicles
Tumors in the mesothelium can grow on any of the above membranes. Mesothelioma is a tumor that grows on the mesothelium. Tumors are not always cancerous but can be.
Causes & Symptoms of Mesothelioma
Researchers believe there is a combination of factors that contribute to the cause of mesothelioma.
The main cause of pleural mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos. That said, the majority of people who have experienced asbestos exposure, even in large quantities, do not contract mesothelioma.
Risk factors of Mesothelioma include:
• asbestos exposure
• zeolites exposure
• radiation exposure
Other possible risk factors include:
• SV40 — Simian virus 40
Factors not associated with mesothelioma:
In the early stages, mesothelioma may present no symptoms. In the case of pleural mesothelioma, symptoms may not present for up to 20 to 40 years after asbestos exposure. Often, symptoms will present when a tumor grows and invades surrounding organs. Some of the following symptoms can be caused by things other than mesothelioma, so it is important to visit your physician for a proper diagnosis.
Symptoms can vary depending on where the mesothelioma is located.
Symptoms of pleural mesothelioma include:
• pain in the chest area
• shortness of breath
• difficulty swallowing
• persistent cough
• edema of face and arms
• weight loss
• fever / sweating
Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include:
• swelling of the abdomen
• pain in the abdomen
• mass in the abdomen or pelvis
• weight loss / loss of appetite
• bowel blockage
• nausea / vomiting
Who Gets Mesothelioma
People with African or Asian ancestry ar less likely to develop mesothelioma than whites or Hispanics. The risk for mesothelioma rises with age, with 69 years of age being the average age of diagnosis. Men have a 5-fold higher risk for developing mesothelioma. This may be related to the type of work both men and women typically participate in, with men working jobs that have a higher risk for exposure to asbestos.
Prognosis if You Have Mesothelioma
Because mesothelioma is generally not found in the early stages, the survival rates are generally poor.
5-Year Survival Rates for Mesothelioma:
• Stage I- IV — 5-10 percent
Median Survival Rates for Mesothelioma:
• Stage I — 21 months
• Stage II — 19 months
• Stage III — 16 months
• Stage IV — 12 months
Conventional medicine’s main types of treatment for Mesothelioma include:
• Radiation therapy
• Regular Follow Ups
• Palliative therapy
How to Prevent Mesothelioma
By far, the largest contributing factor for mesothelioma is being exposed to asbestos, so try to minimize exposure as much as possible.
Immune System Health
A healthy immune system remains your body's best defense. Not only is a weak immune system a major reason patients have cancer — and cancer itself can further weaken the immune system.
Beta glucans help regulate the immune system, making it more efficient. In addition, beta glucans stimulate white blood cells (lymphocytes) that bind to tumors or viruses and release chemicals to destroy it.
Beta Glucan has been approved in Japan, Australia, South Korea, and Taiwan as an immunoadjuvant therapy for cancer. In fact, helping with cancer is just the beginning with Beta Glucan. There are studies showing the product can protect against infections, lower your cholesterol, lower blood sugar, reduce stress, increase your antibody production, heal wounds,and help radiation burns. Harvard Medical School suggests following general good-health guidelines is the single best step you can take toward keeping your immune system strong and healthy:
• Don't smoke.
• Eat a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and low in saturated fat.
• Exercise regularly.
• Maintain a healthy weight.
• Control your blood pressure.
• If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
• Get adequate sleep.
• Take steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently and cooking meats thoroughly.
• Get regular medical screening tests for people in your age group and risk category.
More Information: Building the Immune System
Your diet plays a role in a healthy immune system. The top vitamins your immune system needs to perform include:
• Vitamin C — helps to repair and regenerate tissues and aids in the absorption of iron
• Vitamin E — a powerful antioxidant that helps your body fight off infection
• Vitamin B6 — supports adrenal function and is necessary for key metabolic processes
• Vitamin A — aids immune function and helps provide a barrier against infections
• Vitamin D — modulates cell growth, promotes neuromuscular and immune function, and reduces inflammation
• Folate — key in development of red blood cells (a lack of Folate can make the body susceptible to cancer)
• Iron — helps your body carry oxygen to cells
• Selenium — slows the body's over-active responses to certain aggressive forms of cancer
• Zinc — slows the immune response and control inflammation in your body
Sources: American Cancer Society, National Cancer Institute, Cancer Research Society