Mesothelioma explained – Macmillan Cancer Support

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Align:start my name is Sanjay poppets I’m a my name is Sanjay poppets I’m a my name is Sanjay poppets I’m a consultant medical oncologist at the consultant medical oncologist at the consultant medical oncologist at the Royal Marsden Hospital mesothelioma is a Royal Marsden Hospital mesothelioma is a Royal Marsden Hospital mesothelioma is a cancer of a membrane that lines various cancer of a membrane that lines various cancer of a membrane that lines various organs in the body called the organs in the body called the organs in the body called the mesothelioma mesothelioma mesothelioma now the mesothelium is found in various now the mesothelium is found in various now the mesothelium is found in various places mainly in the chest and also in places mainly in the chest and also in places mainly in the chest and also in the abdomen or tummy the majority of the abdomen or tummy the majority of the abdomen or tummy the majority of cases that we see as doctors are cases that we see as doctors are cases that we see as doctors are actually pleural mesothelioma so these actually pleural mesothelioma so these actually pleural mesothelioma so these are cancers of the lining of the lung are cancers of the lining of the lung are cancers of the lining of the lung usually this tumor is really quite usually this tumor is really quite usually this tumor is really quite silent and it’s very difficult to pick silent and it’s very difficult to pick silent and it’s very difficult to pick it up at a very early stage because it it up at a very early stage because it it up at a very early stage because it grows silently within the chest cavity grows silently within the chest cavity grows silently within the chest cavity when patients become unwell and they when patients become unwell and they when patients become unwell and they seek medical input it’s usually because seek medical input it’s usually because seek medical input it’s usually because they’re feeling short of breath they’re they’re feeling short of breath they’re they’re feeling short of breath they’re not able to do the things with as much not able to do the things with as much not able to do the things with as much capacity as they could before going up capacity as they could before going up capacity as they could before going up hill walking up the stairs or even just hill walking up the stairs or even just hill walking up the stairs or even just resting and talking to people is resting and talking to people is resting and talking to people is becoming more difficult because of becoming more difficult because of becoming more difficult because of breathlessness other symptoms that breathlessness other symptoms that breathlessness other symptoms that patients can have other than patients can have other than patients can have other than breathlessness is weight loss in fact breathlessness is weight loss in fact breathlessness is weight loss in fact weight loss without trying to diet is weight loss without trying to diet is weight loss without trying to diet is generally indicative of an underlying generally indicative of an underlying generally indicative of an underlying problem such as cancer and should be problem such as cancer and should be problem such as cancer and should be investigated further mesothelioma is investigated further mesothelioma is investigated further mesothelioma is predominantly seen in patients that have predominantly seen in patients that have predominantly seen in patients that have been exposed to asbestos nearly eight or been exposed to asbestos nearly eight or been exposed to asbestos nearly eight or nine out of ten patients with a nine out of ten patients with a nine out of ten patients with a diagnosis of mesothelioma report that diagnosis of mesothelioma report that diagnosis of mesothelioma report that they have worked either in their they have worked either in their they have worked either in their industry which has had asbestos industry which has had asbestos industry which has had asbestos accessory ated with it or known to be accessory ated with it or known to be accessory ated with it or known to be exposed to asbestos in the past smoking exposed to asbestos in the past smoking exposed to asbestos in the past smoking by itself doesn’t cause mesothelioma but by itself doesn’t cause mesothelioma but by itself doesn’t cause mesothelioma but patients that have known that they’ve patients that have known that they’ve patients that have known that they’ve been exposed to asbestos should not been exposed to asbestos should not been exposed to asbestos should not smoke they should give up smoking if smoke they should give up smoking if smoke they should give up smoking if they do because that massively increases they do because that massively increases they do because that massively increases the risk of lung cancer because the the risk of lung cancer because the the risk of lung cancer because the Airways become more damaged because of Airways become more damaged because of Airways become more damaged because of the smoke and often there can be a long the smoke and often there can be a long the smoke and often there can be a long lag period between asbestos exposure and lag period between asbestos exposure and lag period between asbestos exposure and the cancer forming the average lag the cancer forming the average lag the cancer forming the average lag period that we see is anywhere between period that we see is anywhere between period that we see is anywhere between to sixty years with most patients having to sixty years with most patients having to sixty years with most patients having a lag period of around 40 years also a lag period of around 40 years also a lag period of around 40 years also some patients who have cared for some patients who have cared for some patients who have cared for patients who have been exposed to patients who have been exposed to patients who have been exposed to asbestos and then developed mesothelioma asbestos and then developed mesothelioma asbestos and then developed mesothelioma might be at increased risk this is might be at increased risk this is might be at increased risk this is generally the typical setting of the generally the typical setting of the generally the typical setting of the wife of an man that has worked in the wife of an man that has worked in the wife of an man that has worked in the construction industry who has construction industry who has construction industry who has potentially bought his overalls or work potentially bought his overalls or work potentially bought his overalls or work shoes or work cap home to be cleaned and shoes or work cap home to be cleaned and shoes or work cap home to be cleaned and the asbestos fibers from such materials the asbestos fibers from such materials the asbestos fibers from such materials can then be ended home environment the can then be ended home environment the can then be ended home environment the one thing to emphasize that mesothelioma one thing to emphasize that mesothelioma one thing to emphasize that mesothelioma does not seem to be hereditary does not seem to be hereditary does not seem to be hereditary so you can’t inherit that from your so you can’t inherit that from your so you can’t inherit that from your parents and neither is it infectious you parents and neither is it infectious you parents and neither is it infectious you can’t catch me as a thin young man from can’t catch me as a thin young man from can’t catch me as a thin young man from another patient that has mesothelioma another patient that has mesothelioma another patient that has mesothelioma there are a number of tests that doctors there are a number of tests that doctors there are a number of tests that doctors do to make a diagnosis of mesothelioma do to make a diagnosis of mesothelioma do to make a diagnosis of mesothelioma now usually a GP will do an examination now usually a GP will do an examination now usually a GP will do an examination to listen to the chest to see whether to listen to the chest to see whether to listen to the chest to see whether there is any fluid present or not and there is any fluid present or not and there is any fluid present or not and then arrange for a chest x-ray to be then arrange for a chest x-ray to be then arrange for a chest x-ray to be performed the mainstay of treatment of performed the mainstay of treatment of performed the mainstay of treatment of mesothelioma is generally with mesothelioma is generally with mesothelioma is generally with chemotherapy and the aim of this is very chemotherapy and the aim of this is very chemotherapy and the aim of this is very much to improve the quality of life of much to improve the quality of life of much to improve the quality of life of our patients and there’s very good our patients and there’s very good our patients and there’s very good evidence that this can potentially in evidence that this can potentially in evidence that this can potentially in some patients shrink the cancer and also some patients shrink the cancer and also some patients shrink the cancer and also keep the cancer under control for longer keep the cancer under control for longer keep the cancer under control for longer than it would do otherwise and sometimes than it would do otherwise and sometimes than it would do otherwise and sometimes that can improve length of life as well that can improve length of life as well that can improve length of life as well other treatments that can be considered other treatments that can be considered other treatments that can be considered to include radiotherapy and that can be to include radiotherapy and that can be to include radiotherapy and that can be useful in very specific cases either to useful in very specific cases either to useful in very specific cases either to prevent cancer from growing along biopsy prevent cancer from growing along biopsy prevent cancer from growing along biopsy sites or to target a specific area that sites or to target a specific area that sites or to target a specific area that might be causing pain or discomfort might be causing pain or discomfort might be causing pain or discomfort we’re expecting more cases of we’re expecting more cases of we’re expecting more cases of mesothelioma over the next few years mesothelioma over the next few years mesothelioma over the next few years because of the lag phase between us best because of the lag phase between us best because of the lag phase between us best dose exposure and the disease becoming dose exposure and the disease becoming dose exposure and the disease becoming clinically manifest if patients have clinically manifest if patients have clinically manifest if patients have known they’ve been exposed to asbestos known they’ve been exposed to asbestos known they’ve been exposed to asbestos it’s worth them just touching base with it’s worth them just touching base with it’s worth them just touching base with their GP so they can just have a general their GP so they can just have a general their GP so they can just have a general assessment to make sure that they are assessment to make sure that they are assessment to make sure that they are okay for information help or if you just okay for information help or if you just okay for information help or if you just want to chat call the Macmillan support want to chat call the Macmillan support want to chat call the Macmillan support line on a 808 808 double-o-double Oh or line on a 808 808 double-o-double Oh or line on a 808 808 double-o-double Oh or visit Macmillan dot org UK