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Mesothelioma has plagued our nation for decades, yet it only recently seems to be getting the kind of attention it deserves.
It is a unique form of cancer unlike lung, breast or prostate cancer. With mesothelioma, it can take only a little exposure to asbestos, whether at work in a shipyard, in an old factory or even in the insulation of a person’s own house, to cause the illness.
But mesothelioma is different because the victim likely won’t know they are affected for years or even decades after the fact. It isn’t until they feel the typical symptoms, such as chest pain, trouble breathing or heavy coughing, that they get checked out by a doctor. And it can take several doctor visits before the diagnosis is given. Typical survival time after diagnosis is only about 12 months.
But there is hope.
As the Zimbabwe Guardian is reporting, researchers in the Netherlands are looking in to whether it’s possible to detect mesothelioma from a breath testing machine. Others have also published research into early detection devices for this terrible disease.
Based on scientific articles written on the topic, the article reports that it’s possible a new technology — electronic nose — could be the least invasive way to detect mesothelioma. Because it typically isn’t diagnosed until decades after exposure to asbestos the elderly are often at risk. And because of their frail state, exploratory surgery often isn’t an option.
Doctors in Amsterdam have been experimenting with a device called the Cyranose 320, which they hope will be able to tell the difference between a person who is healthy, one who has mesothelioma and one who has been exposed to asbestos, but who hasn’t been diagnosed with mesothelioma.
The device is handheld and has a 32-sensor chip inside. It can be used to recognize many molecules with scent; there are more than 3,000 organic compounds in a single exhaled breath.
The study used 13 people who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and another 13 people who were exposed to asbestos, but who haven’t been diagnosed, the article states. Another 13 people who were healthy were considered the control group.
The article reports that the device distinguished the mesothelioma patients from those who have been exposed to asbestos with ease. Mesothelioma patients were also distinguished from the control group of healthy people as well. Several measurements and tests repeated results.
This is encouraging news as it means there may be a quicker, easier way for people to determine if they have mesothelioma. Rather than going from primary care physician to lung or breathing specialists, wasting months of wondering what could be the problem, it’s possible that a simple breath test and analysis could hold the key to diagnosis. The quicker a person is diagnosed, the longer they may have to live and that’s something everyone wants.
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Frequently Asked Questions: Mesothelioma & Asbestos
What is asbestos?
Asbestos is a carcinogenic, naturally occurring fibrous mineral. Known for its heat resistance and durability, asbestos has historically been used in insulation, construction materials, automotive parts, and shipbuilding materials.
Why is asbestos dangerous?
Asbestos is made up of small shard-like fibers that can easily become airborne when disturbed. If inhaled or ingested, these fibers can embed within the lining of the lungs, heart, stomach, or testes where they can cause cancer to form years or decades later.
What are asbestos-related diseases?
Asbestos exposure can cause mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer.
What causes mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is an aggressive and incurable form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. Unfortunately, symptoms of mesothelioma may not appear until decades after exposure.
What are the different types of mesothelioma?
Three of the most common types of mesothelioma are pleural mesothelioma, peritoneal mesothelioma, and pericardial mesothelioma.
What are common mesothelioma symptoms?
Common symptoms of mesothelioma include difficulty breathing and chest pains. Peritoneal mesothelioma, which affects the stomach, may cause abdominal swelling, loss of appetite, constipation, abdominal pain, and nausea.
Do I qualify for compensation if I have mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a preventable form of cancer most commonly caused by asbestos exposure. If you were exposed to asbestos while serving in the U.S. military or while working in construction, mechanics, or a similar field, you may be eligible for compensation. Contact The Ferraro Law Firm for a free legal consultation.
What is the life expectancy for someone with mesothelioma?
There is no cure for mesothelioma. However, patients can receive treatments for mesothelioma that may extend their initial prognosis with proper treatment. Those diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma usually have a life expectancy that is greater than three years, though a large part of this depends on the stage the patient is diagnosed. The earlier the diagnosis, the longer the life expectancy and chance of long-term survival.
Do I qualify for compensation if I have mesothelioma?
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you should immediately seek long-term medical treatment. After that, you should contact our firm to examine your legal rights. Since 1985, The Ferraro Law Firm has represented individuals with asbestos-related diseases and pursued fair compensation on their behalf. Our firm is one of the top five law firms in the U.S. handling mesothelioma and asbestos cases.