This year during the last week of November, from Monday November 21 until Friday November 25, Asbestos Awareness Week will be held in Melbourne, Australia. The Occupational Health and Safety (OHS...
Mesotheliomaprognosis.org was developed by the Seeger Weiss and Newsome Melton law firms to provide support and information for those diagnosed with mesothelioma, as well as their family and loved ones. Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that has been strongly linked to asbestos exposure and currently has no known cure. During the past two decades, doctors, researchers and scientists have attempted to gain more knowledge concerning this disease. As more information becomes available doctors will not only be capable of diagnosing this cancer in its earlier stages, but can also provide more extensive and curative treatment options. This information would also benefit patients directly, serving to promote optimism and improving their overall sense of well-being. The Seeger Weiss and Newsome Melton law firms provide, help, support and legal representation for families and individuals affected by mesothelioma.
After being diagnosed with mesothelioma a patient’s doctor or specialist will discuss their prognosis and treatment options with them. Prognosis refers to the likely outcome of the patient’s particular case. Prognosis will also include the patient’s life expectancy, which is dependent upon several factors:
• Cancer type
• Location and size of tumor
• Cell type
• Cancer stage at the time of diagnosis
• Patient ability to receive and respond to treatment
• Patient’s age and overall health
• Amount cancer has metastasized
As it pertains to the cancer mesothelioma, prognosis is usually unfavorable due to the cancer’s long latency period. Malignant mesothelioma often lies dormant in the body for two to five decades following exposure to asbestos, resulting in diagnosis not occurring until the cancer has reached an advanced stage. Later stages of mesothelioma are generally characterized by the malignancy having spread to other organs and systems outside of the point of origin. This metastasis and tumor growth is responsible for the lower treatment success rates which can also affect prognosis.
A doctor’s prognosis of their patient is dependent upon several factors including type, location and size of the tumor, staging, metastasis and the patient’s general health.
Staging is directly related to a patient’s prognosis, as the stage of the cancer will greatly determine the treatment options available. Mesothelioma, due to its aforementioned latency period, is usually not diagnosed until the cancer is in an advanced stage. There are three distinct staging systems that can be utilized to determine the progression of mesothelioma: the Brigham system, the Butchart staging system, and the TNM system. All three of these systems order the stages one through four, increasing in severity. In stage I of mesothelioma the tumor has yet to spread to other areas of the body and surgery remains an option. As the stages progress and metastases occurs, surgical treatments become less and less likely, affecting prognosis.
Improving Patient Prognosis
There are continual advancements in both research efforts and diagnostic testing associated with mesothelioma. New therapies are also in development, serving as both palliative and curative treatments aimed at complementing more traditional modes of cancer treatment. Recently, the Division of Thoracic Surgery and the Department of Pathology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Massachusetts studied 636 patients diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma. Results indicated that those who had an extrapleural pneumonectomy (an aggressive surgical procedure) experienced an extended rate of survival compared to those who underwent less invasive forms of treatment.
A diagnosis of mesothelioma is most often linked to asbestos exposure occurring in either the workplace or home through the use of—or proximity to—materials containing the hazardous mineral. Following diagnosis there can be an overwhelming sense of emotion, as well as mounting medical bills and related financial obligations. Patients, upon learning their prognosis, may also be concerned with the future of their family and loved ones. Fortunately, there are legal options available for mesothelioma victims to assist them in receiving just compensation.