The Mesothelioma Cancer Network has created and developed this site to provide answers and support for people diagnosed with mesothelioma, as well as their families and loved ones. Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos and has long been considered a mystery and incurable. However, over the past two decades, physicians, scientists and researchers have begun to unravel this mystery and help people diagnose mesothelioma in its earlier stages, while providing more extensive forms of treatment, vast resources, and general information to make coping and survival more about optimism rather than uncertainty.
Previously, diagnosing mesothelioma in its early stages had been a difficult, almost impossible task, because the early symptoms of this disease resemble those of similar diseases and sometimes even basic illnesses. The severity of mesothelioma is defined by four stages, with prognosis becoming bleaker as each stage progresses, so the discovery of symptoms in the first two stages is essential for ensuring a greater life expectancy. Additionally, the difficulty in diagnosing mesothelioma is caused by a large latency period, meaning that it can take decades between the initial exposure to asbestos and development of symptoms. However, if you or a loved one has been exposed to asbestos and experiences initial symptoms such as chest pain, violent coughing, and fatigue, it is essential that you consult with a physician immediately.
Because of mesothelioma’s great latency period, treating mesothelioma is difficult, but there is hope in recent research and clinical trials. Current medical treatment options include chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery, and most patients choose to undergo a combination of these processes in order to increase their life expectancy. But survivors of mesothelioma have shown that treatment goes beyond hospitals, and that prognosis can be better for patients through healthy dieting, regular exercise and a variety of alternative therapies. Additionally, experimental treatments are available to individual patients depending on their stage progression.
The prognosis for malignant mesothelioma is rarely favorable, which is why early diagnosis is so incredibly important. Yet as mentioned above, there are great strides being taken in the medical and scientific communities to ensure that life expectancy and survival rates continue to climb for patients as researchers continue to find a cure.