Who is at Risk From Mesothelioma Cancer?

Mesothelioma is a deadly cancer which is fairly rare although in the last few decades the number of people who have died from it have dramatically increased. Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos without sufficient protection. When a person is exposed to asbestos, he or she inhales tiny asbestos fibres which are suspended in the air. These fibres pass into the respiratory system and end up becoming lodged in the lungs. An accumulation of asbestos fibres in the lining of the lungs like this can cause nearby cells to deform and eventually leads to what is known as pleural mesothelioma. Accumulation of asbestos fibres in the peritoneum (lining of the abdomen) can lead to peritoneal mesothelioma and build up of fibres around the tissue of the heart can cause pericardial mesothelioma. Asbestos fibres reach these places over time or because they have been transported there by the lymphatic system.

Mesothelioma has a very large latency period (time between getting the cancer and feeling the symptoms of it). This period is usually between 30 - 50 years and so a person who bears mesothelioma is unlikely to know that they have got it. This is why mesothelioma is so hard to diagnose in its early stages because it shows no symptoms and the few symptoms that it does show such as wheezing and shortness of breath are typical of far more common diseases such as pneumonia. The likelihood of being cured depends largely on how early and how aggressively the cancer is treated. If it is treated when it has fully developed and matured then it is extremely difficult to cure.

In this way, those at risk are those who have worked amongst asbestos. Construction workers, asbestos manufacturers or those who have lived within a mile of an asbestos factory are the people who have the largest contact with asbestos. Those who are in contact with these people are also at risk because asbestos fibres can stick to clothes and hair. The majority of people who are discovering that they have mesothelioma are elderly men of about 60 - 70. This was the generation which worked with asbestos a lot without sufficient protection. Many of these men are now lodging multi million dollar lawsuits against the companies who exposed them to the dangers of asbestos.

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Chronotherapy Helps Lung Cancer Patient on the Road to Recovery

Margaret Olszowka was diagnosed with lung cancer on New Year's Eve, 2002. The prognosis was very grim: her disease had advanced to Stage 4 and was inoperable. Doctors at a very well known university hospital told her there was nothing they could do for her. They didn't even offer chemotherapy as an option; she was told she had months to live. However, instead of giving up, she decided she was going to fight the disease, and ultimately found her way to cancer specialist, Keith Block, MD, where she received chronotherapy as part of her treatment plan. Today, she is doing very well and enjoying her two children and six grandchildren. She wants the world to know about the role chronotherapy played in her survival in the hopes of helping other cancer patients.

What is chronotherapy?

Chronotherapy takes into account how our body's natural rhythms' impact our ability to process medications. Patterns like sleeping, menstrual cycles, even our physical response to the changing seasons, are different for everyone. In the old days we called these biorhythms. Today, doctors are finding that understanding a patient's biorhythms, and coordinating the timing of their medical treatments to these biorhythms, can profoundly affect the outcome of their treatments. This is called "chronotherapy."

"Every drug has an optimal time when it is least toxic and most effective." says Keith Block, MD, editor-in-chief of the peer-reviewed journal Integrative Cancer Therapies, and Clinical Professor, Department of Medical Education, at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago (UIC), and at the Department of Pharmacology. For cancer treatment, this is determined by several factors, including the biological uniqueness of the particular drug being given, the time when the specific type of cancer cells divide the most, when the normal healthy cells of the patient generally divide the least, the patient's circadian clock and individual rest-activity cycles, and even the time zone the person resides in."

According to Dr. Michael Smolensky, co-author of the book The Body Clock Guide to Better Health, "When cancer medications are given in a chronobiological manner, patients may be able to tolerate higher, more potent doses than would be possible otherwise."

"This method of administering chemotherapy is revolutionary and has demonstrated in large randomized trials its potential to improve survival," states Dr. Block. "We have found that often patients receiving chronotherapy reduce what would have been recurring side effects of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and fatigue. This is important because the debilitation caused by chemo can cause patients to reduce or even stop treatments that could otherwise help them win their battle with cancer."

Chronotherapy is being widely researched around the world:

There are over 62,000 references in PubMed (the National Institute of Health's archive of biomedical and life sciences journal articles) about chronobiology (how biology is affected by timing) and over 500 scientific articles specifically about chronotherapy. The National Cancer Institute's Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine (OCCAM) devoted an entire web cast for doctors on chronotherapy.

So why isn't chronotherapy used more widely?

One of the main problems has been logistics - figuring out how to deliver chemotherapy in exactly timed doses. "Portable infusion pumps may hold the answer," explains Gerald Sokol, MD, an oncologist with the division of oncology in FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

Dr. Block has brought technology to the U.S. that administers chemotherapy via a pump designed to precisely time up to four channels of infusion simultaneously to the individual needs of a patient. Highly portable and small enough to fit in a fanny pack, patients are able to maintain full mobility, play sports, and enjoy a full night's sleep - while receiving their specifically timed cancer therapy.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/92183

Mesothelioma - Catch It Early to Avoid Big Trouble

Mesothelioma is a relatively rare form of cancer where cancerous cells develop in the mesothelium -- a protective sac that covers most of the body's internal organs. Like most cancers, early detection of mesothelioma greatly increases the chances of beating the disease.
But early detection is more difficult with mesothelioma because it has a long dormancy period of 30 or 40 years in which the cancer remains fairly inactive and causes very few symptoms. When the disease passes into its active phase it rapidly spreads to the internal organs such as the lungs, heart and abdominal organs. In its active phase it is very difficult to treat successfully because it develops and spreads so quickly.
Causes of mesothelioma
Mesothelioma was barely in the public eye until a few years ago. It has a very specific cause -- exposure to asbestos. And the dangers of asbestos exposure were not widely acknowledged until the 1970s and 80s when its serious health implications could no longer be ignored.
As often happens in cases involving commercial products with harmful side effects, there was tremendous resistance to acknowledging its dangers. In the case of asbestos, it was a product that had some very important properties that made it ideal for insulation applications.
During the first half of the previous century, right up until the mid 1970s asbestos was the default material used to retard heat transfer in buildings, machines, heavy equipment, and a broad range of commercial applications. Because it was plentiful and inexpensive to mine, asbestos was widely used in building products such as home insulation, floor, ceiling and roof tiles. It was also used in commonly found commercial products such as brake linings and pipe insulation.
This meant that millions of people were coming in contact with asbestos on a daily basis. And since the effects of exposure to asbestos fibre often do not become apparent for 30 or 40 years after prolonged exposure, there often appeared to be no immediate health risk.
This was especially important in the case of workers who mined and processed asbestos. Although workers were regularly getting sick and often had premature, painful deaths, the long period of dormancy of mesothelioma made it difficult to make the connection to asbestos.
Even short term asbestos exposure will cause mesothelioma
Generally, the probability of developing this form of cancer is directly related to the length of time you are exposed to asbestos. The health risk also increases with the intensity of the exposure to asbestos.
However, an exposure of as little as one or two months can result in mesothelioma 30 or 40 years later. At the age of 48, Canadian Member of Parliament Chuck Strahl, was recently diagnosed with mesothelioma and traces the cause back to changing brake pads on logging equipment after he graduated from high school. Strahl's case is a good example of the fact that Mesothelioma has a latency period of anywhere from 20 to 50 years. Like thousands of others he developed the disease long after his exposure to asbestos.
Symptoms of mesothelioma
Because of its long dormancy period, mesothelioma is often not detected until it enters its active, aggressive stage. Pleural mesothelioma - cancer of the lung lining - causes shortness of breath or chronic coughing. Unfortunately these symptoms can easily be mistaken for allergies or a common cold.
In fact pleural mesothelioma is often discovered by accident when patients think they have one of these more common illnesses. Other symptoms of pleural mesothelioma may include chest pain, chronic coughing, shortness of breath, fatigue, wheezing, hoarseness, weight loss, or blood in the phlegm from the lungs when coughing.
Peritoneal mesothelioma affects the lining around the stomach and intestines and is usually just as dangerous. Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include pain or swelling in the abdomen, weight loss, bowel obstruction, anemia, and fever.
Treatment of mesothelioma
Unfortunately, by the time most infected people become aware they have mesothelioma it has ceased being dormant and becomes extremely aggressive. Once it is no longer dormant, this type of cancer can travel quickly, and it becomes almost impossible to stop.
While there are treatments that are available in order to keep the patient comfortable, there is currently no cure for mesothelioma, and as many as 75% of those who develop the disease will lose their life within one year. The remainder may last for up to an additional six months.
Among the treatments that are used in order to reduce the effects of the disease are oxygen, postural drainage and pain killers. A wide range of treatment approaches are being tested, ranging from attempts to fortify the body's natural immune system to gene therapy which tries to attack the problem at the DNA level. Homeopathy, herbs and acupuncture are also used. But none have yet been shown to be very effective once the disease reaches the aggressive stage.
Given the generally poor prognosis for people who do not catch the disease in time, early detection is the best defence against mesothelioma. If you have worked in an industry such as construction or suspect that you may have been exposed to asbestos, be alert for symptoms and contact your doctor immediately. Like all forms of cancer, detecting mesothelioma at the earliest stage possible greatly increases your chances for survival.
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A Detailed Overview of Brain Cancer

Brain cancer tumors may originate in the brain (primary site) or they may metastasize to the brain from another site. Prostate cancer, for example, may metastasize to the liver, the lung, the hip, and then to the brain. Metastasized brain tumors have a poor prognosis because of the already advanced state of the cancer.
The human brain anatomy is complex system responsible for many body functions. Injury that causes damage, traumatic experiences, or brain tumors can greatly alter one's life.
Cancerous tumors that form in the brain (primary) tend to stay within the brain and not branch out to other organs. Their growth can take up the space needed by the healthy brain and cause many conditions, including hearing loss and stroke. The ratio is about 50/50 regarding the occurrence of metastasized and primary brain tumors. The leading cause cancer related death in people in people younger than 35.
The most dangerous chemical in terms of causing this type of cancer is Vinyl Chloride. This is used 'all over' in plumbing, furniture, and house wares. This is presumed to be safe to use unless it is heated as in a microwave oven, which evaporates and drives the substance into the food being heated.
For this reason, always use glass or other microwave safe containers in the microwave oven. Don't burn plastic such as plastic wrapping and containers in a bon fire or fireplace. The smoke can be 'hazardous to your health'.
Typical Symptoms: Any impairment in hearing, sight, judgment, speech, cognitive skills such as reasoning or remembering, or stroke symptoms such as paralysis of one side of the body, inability to walk properly, can be symptomatic of a tumor in the brain.
The treatments are generally the same for other kinds of cancer and tumors. One innovative treatment is the use of the GLIADEL WAFER. These are packed into the space formerly occupied by the tumor and slowly release chemotherapy agents in order to destroy any cancer cells that may have not been removed. This has increased life expectancy for some kinds of brain tumors by fifty percent.

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Is Sex Possible After Prostate Cancer Diagnosis?

If you are diagnosed with any form of prostate disease, you will experience some type of erectile dysfunction, even if it is a surgical procedure using the nerve sparing technique.
There is no need to repeat the treatments we've already covered, but let's take a moment to review some of the possibilities that are available to men AFTER being diagnosed with prostate disease who experience erectile dysfunction:
o There are now numerous erectile dysfunction drugs (EDDs) available. These drugs promote erections by increasing blood flow to the penis.
o There is a substance called Prostaglandin E1 that can produce erections. It is produced naturally and can be injected almost painlessly into the base of the penis before sex.
o A penile implant or prostheses can restore an ability to achieve an erection.
o There are vacuum devices that are designed especially to create an erection by placing around the entire penis before sex.
While erectile dysfunction will most likely begin immediately following surgery for prostate removal, if the technique of nerve sparing is used there is a possibility of recovery within a year of the procedure. If non-nerve sparing is used the recovery of erectile function is highly unlikely.
There are studies that report sparing nerves on both sides of a prostate have regained erectile function in 60 - 70% of men. Also, erectile dysfunction drugs appear to work for up to 43% of men whose prostate was removed surgically. This shows a promising trend.
There is some difference when radiation therapy is used. The man will also experience erectile dysfunction but it usually doesn't happen until six months after beginning treatment. However, there is also good news here showing that as many as 50-60% of men regain erections with the use of EDDs.
When hormonal treatment is the route taken, erectile dysfunction will usually occur between two and four weeks after beginning treatment and is linked with decreasing sexual desire. Unfortunately the studies do not show the same results as the previous two treatments having little or no impact on erectile dysfunction. The good news, however, is that normal erectile function returns when the hormonal therapy is ended.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/239659

Beryllium The New Asbestos?

It was American workers on the world's first atomic bomb who became the first industrial victims of beryllium, a rare but especially light, stable and strong metal whose toxic dust can kill those who breathe it.
Now Seafarers doing ship maintenance and have used Jasons De-rusting and de-scaling guns (also known as J-gun or Jasons pistol) raise concerns about exposure to beryllium.
Unlike other metals, beryllium does not spark and was therefore used on tanker ships containing fuel.
Beryllium can cause a long-term lung disease (berylliosis) in some people by triggering an immune (allergic) response in the body. In general, significant exposure to beryllium in a respirable form is required for any disease to occur, and symptoms may take up to 20 years to develop even after exposure has stopped.
Beryllium dust can cause fatal and untreatable lung disease, similar to asbestosis.
The symptoms of berylliosis include shortness of breath, cough, chest pain, weight loss and fatigue. These symptoms are common, so that most people who have these symptoms do not have berylliosis. Occasionally, other areas of the body like the skin, eyes, mouth & nose may develop a rash following contact with dust containing beryllium.
There is no preventive or curative treatment available for berylliosis or chronic beryllium disease

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/19984

Mesothelioma Book - Review

"Lean on Me" Cancer through a carer's eyes 
Lorraine Kember (2003) 
130pp.ISBN 0 646 49969 6

As Janet Craven, palliative care nurse, and Andrew Dean, palliative care physician note in their respective forwards to this book, Lean on Me is a unique and intensely personal description of a writer's responses to her husband Brian's diagnosis, treatments and final death from mesothelioma. The book also provides useful discription of the nature of pain, the usefulness of certain drugs, and the ways in which keeping a journal can assist the medical practitioner in assessing pain management. The overarching narrative, however, is the progression of Brian's cancer, and his erratic but inevitable deterioration. Interspersed with poems and excerpts from Lorraine's diary, this is perhaps the most confronting aspect of the book, simply because it is so personal. While Brian's death is factually noted, Lorraine's description of the moment is emotionally conveyed in a short poem and diary entry. The book concludes with reflections written days, weeks and a year later, on Brian's presence, and her search for meaning and love in her changed life trajectory. this is indeed a compelling read, and a useful resource for both carers and practitioners.
David Ritchie 
Media,communications and Creative Arts Research 
School of communicaton and Creative Arts, 
Deakin University, Melbourne
Lorraine Kember is the Author of “Lean on Me” Cancer through a Carer’s Eyes. Lorraine’s book is written from her experience of caring for her dying husband in the hope of helping others. It includes insight and discussion on: Anticipatory Grief, Understanding and identifying pain, Pain Management and Symptom Control, Chemotherapy, Palliative Care, Quality of Life and Dying at home. It also features excerpts and poems from her personal diary. Highly recommended by the Cancer Council.

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