Mesothelial cells are a type of cell that lines the body’s cavities and covers the surface of organs. They secrete a lubricating fluid to help reduce friction between organs during movement. Abnormal mesothelial cells can be a sign of an underlying health condition. The presence of abnormal mesothelial cells in a fluid or tissue sample may indicate the possibility of cancer, such as mesothelioma. However, abnormal mesothelial cells can also be a result of non-cancerous conditions such as inflammation, infection, or trauma.
Adjuvant chemotherapy is a type of chemotherapy treatment administered after the primary cancer treatment, which is typically surgery. The goal of adjuvant chemotherapy is to kill any cancer cells remaining after surgery and reduce the risk of cancer returning.
Aid and Attendance (A&A) is a benefit program offered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). This program provides financial assistance to eligible veterans and their surviving spouses who require the aid of another person to perform “tasks of daily living,” such as bathing, dressing, or eating. A&A can be paid to a veteran eligible for VA Disability Compensation or Pension and relieves the veteran from paying someone to provide the A&A. Therefore, veterans can receive A&A even if assistance is being freely offered by a spouse, family member or friend. Additional compensation is also available for a spouse in need of A&A. Surviving dependents receiving DIC or Survivors Pension can also qualify for A&A.
Alimta, or pemetrexed, is a chemotherapy drug used to treat several types of cancer, including mesothelioma and other solid tumors. Alimta works by inhibiting the growth and division of cancer cells by blocking the action of certain enzymes that are necessary for DNA synthesis and cell division.
Antibodies are proteins produced by the immune system in response to the presence of foreign substances, such as bacteria or cancer cells.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was widely used in construction and manufacturing from the late 1800s until the 1980s. Asbestos was valued for its insulation characteristics, heat resistance and durability and was used in a variety of products, including insulation, roofing, flooring, concrete, and automotive parts. However, asbestos is a carcinogen and can cause many diseases such as mesothelioma cancer, lung cancer and asbestosis, a scarring of the lungs.
Asbestos exposure occurs when individuals inhale or swallow asbestos fibers. The fibers can become airborne when asbestos-containing materials are disturbed or damaged, releasing the fibers into the air. People who worked in industries such as construction, shipbuilding, manufacturing and the military are at a higher risk of exposure because asbestos was commonly used in these industries in the past.
Asbestos fibers are tiny, needle-like fibers. When asbestos-containing materials are disturbed or damaged, these fibers can become airborne where they pose a heath risk. These fibers are highly durable, heat-resistant, and flexible, making them ideal for use in a variety of products which is why it was widely used until the 1980s.
Asbestos trust funds are set up by companies that have gone bankrupt due to their involvement in manufacturing or using asbestos-containing products. These funds are intended to provide compensation to individuals who have been diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases resulting from exposure to the company’s products. The establishment of these funds typically follows bankruptcy proceedings in which the court orders the company to create and fund a trust. This action is necessary because filing for bankruptcy grants the company immunity from further lawsuits, and the trust serves as a means of compensating victims of the company’s negligence.
Asbestosis is a chronic lung disease caused by prolonged exposure to asbestos fibers. Asbestos fibers can be inhaled into the lungs, where they can become trapped and cause inflammation and scarring of the lung tissue over time. This can lead to symptoms such as shortness of breath, persistent cough, chest pain, and fatigue.
Ascites is an abnormal accumulation of fluid in the abdomen. This fluid buildup is typically due to liver disease or other conditions that affect the normal flow of fluids in the body. Symptoms of ascites may include abdominal swelling, weight gain, or pain in the abdomen. Ascites is a symptom of peritoneal mesothelioma cancer.
Benign mesothelioma is a rare non-cancerous tumor that develops in the lining of the lungs, abdomen, heart, or testicles. It is caused by exposure to asbestos, may cause symptoms, and may need to be removed.
A biopsy is a medical procedure to remove a small sample of tissue, fluid or cells which is then sent to pathology for examination under a microscope. Biopsies are used to diagnose different health conditions, including cancer.
Biphasic mesothelioma is a subtype of malignant mesothelioma, which is a rare and aggressive cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, abdomen, or heart. Biphasic mesothelioma is characterized by the presence of two distinct cell types within the tumor: epithelial and sarcomatoid. Biphasic mesothelioma accounts for about 20-35% of all mesothelioma cases, and its prognosis can vary widely depending on the proportion of epithelial and sarcomatoid cells present in the tumor.
The Brigham Staging System is used to determine the stage of malignant pleural mesothelioma and is based on tumor resectability, lymph node involvement, and distant metastasis.
The Butchart Staging System is one of the oldest staging systems used for mesothelioma. This system classifies the cancer into four different stages based on the extent of tumor involvement found in the lining of the lung.
CAR T-cell therapy is a type of cancer treatment that combines cell therapy and gene therapy. CAR stands for “chimeric antigen receptor.” CAR T-cell therapy involves re-engineering cancer patients’ immune system cells to more effectively find cancer cells. There are not any CAR T-cell therapies approved by the FDA for mesothelioma, but there are several approved for blood cancers and some in clinical trials for mesothelioma.
Carboplatin, or Paraplatin, is a chemotherapy medication approved for the treatment of various types of cancer, including mesothelioma. It works by interfering with the DNA in the cancer cells, preventing them from growing and dividing.
A carcinogen is any substance that has the potential to cause cancer. Carcinogens can be found in the environment, air, food, and consumer products.
Cell mutation is any change that occurs in the DNA sequence of a cell. DNA mutations can occur during normal cell division or from an external factor such as exposure to radiation, chemicals, asbestos or a virus. Cancer often causes mutations in genes that control cell growth and division, leading to uncontrolled cell growth and the formation of tumors.
Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment using drugs to kill cancer cells or stop them from growing and dividing. It works by targeting rapidly dividing cancer cells but may impact healthy cells that grow and divide quickly as well, such as in the bone marrow, digestive tract, and hair follicles.
The chest cavity, also known as the thoracic cavity, is a space in the chest that contains the heart, lungs, trachea, esophagus, and other structures. It is bound by the ribcage and the diaphragm, a muscle that separates the chest cavity from the abdominal cavity.
Cisplatin, or Platinol, is a chemotherapy drug used to treat various types of cancer, including mesothelioma. It is classified as a platinum-containing compound and works by interfering with the DNA in cancer cells, ultimately causing their death.
Clinical trials are research studies that test the safety and effectiveness of new medical treatments, devices, or interventions in patients.
Coast Guard Rating
A Coast Guard Rating is a job type or occupation. To receive a Coast Guard rating, a “Coastie” must complete basic training and then receive specialized training in their chosen rating, either by attending an “A” School or by passing a Rating Exam. Coast Guard Ratings most commonly associated with asbestos exposure include Boilerman, Machinist Mate and Engineman.
Contralateral is a term used to describe the opposite side of the body. In other words, it refers to the side of the body that is opposite to the side where a particular structure or condition is present. For example, if a person has a tumor on the left side of their chest, the contralateral side would be the right side of the chest.
A CT (computed tomography) scan, or CAT (computerized axial tomography) scan, is a series of X-ray images taken from different angles that creates cross-sectional images or “slices” of the part of the body being examined. CT scans are the most common imaging technique used in diagnosing mesothelioma.
Cytology is the microscopic study of cells and their structure, function, and behavior. As it relates to mesothelioma, a cytology is used to describe an examination of cells found in a fluid sample (most often from a pleural effusion).
Cytoplasm is a gel-like substance found within cells that surrounds the nucleus.
Cytoreduction surgery is a surgical procedure used to remove all visible tumors and diseased tissues in the abdominal cavity. The goal of cytoreduction surgery is to improve the effectiveness of subsequent mesothelioma treatments, like chemotherapy, immunotherapy or radiation. This is the main surgery used to treat peritoneal mesothelioma.
Decortication is a surgical procedure used to remove the outer lining of the pleura, which lines the chest cavity. This is part of the P/D (Pleurectomy/Decortication) surgery for plerual mesothelioma.
Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is a monthly tax-free monetary benefit provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to eligible survivors of veterans who died as a result of a service-connected disability. Surviving spouses, dependent children and dependent parents are eligible to receive DIC.
The diaphragm is the muscle that separates the chest cavity from the abdominal cavity. It is the major muscle involved in inhaling and exhaling.
DWELL chemotherapy is a continuous infusion of cancer drugs. This involves placing a small catheter or port directly into a vein in the chest or arm. The continuous chemotherapy infusion can last a few days to a few weeks.
Epithelioid mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects the mesothelium, a thin layer of tissue that covers the lungs, chest wall, abdomen, and other internal organs. Epithelioid mesothelioma is classified as epithelioid cells making up the tumors. It is the most common cell type of mesothelioma, accounting for around 70% of cases.
Extrapleural Pneumonectomy, or EPP, is an aggressive surgery to remove the entire diseased lung, the pleura (the lining around the lung), the pericardium (the lining covering the heart), and part of the diaphrapm (the muscle between the chest and the abdomen).
The FDA is the U.S. governing agency responsible for protecting the public health by assuring the safety and effectiveness of drugs, including cancer treatments. “FDA” stands for “Food and Drug Administration.” The FDA, which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services, is responsible for approving new therapies for all types of cancer, including mesothelioma.
Gemcitabine, brand name Gemzar, is a chemotherapy drug used to treat several types of cancer, including non-small cell lung cancer and mesothelioma. It works by interfering with the growth and division of cancer cells.
Gene therapy is an emerging type of cancer treatment where scientists alter the genes of immune system cells or cancer cells. There are not any gene therapies approved by the FDA for mesothelioma, but there are a few in testing for clinical trials.
Gore-Tex Surgical Mesh
Gore-Tex surgical mesh is a synthetic material used to support and reinforce damaged or weakened tissues. This is used in pleural mesothelioma surgery to reinforce the removed pericardium and part of the diaphragm.
Heated intraoperative chemotherapy, or HIOC for short, is a type of chemoperfusion. This method of chemotherapy administration occurs during surgery. The chemotherapy drugs are heated to approximately 107 degrees and circulated inside the chest or abdominal cavity in attempt to kill any remaining cancer cells left behind after surgery. See also HIPEC and HITHOC.
HIPEC, or Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy, is a specialized cancer procedure that delivers high doses of heated chemotherapy drugs directly into the abdominal cavity. This procedure is used as part of the cytoreduction surgery, used to treat peritoneal mesothelioma. During surgery, all visible tumors are removed from the abdomen and then the heated chemotherapy drugs are circulated throughout the abdominal cavity.
HITHOC stands for Hyperthermic Intrathoracic Chemotherapy. It is a cancer treatment that involves delivering heated chemotherapy directly into the chest cavity immediately after surgery, while doctors still have access into the chest cavity. This procedure is used as part of the pleurectomy with decortication (P/D) surgery or extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP), which are both used to treat pleural mesothelioma. During surgery, all visible tumors are removed and then the heated chemotherapy drugs are circulated throughout the chest cavity.
Hospice care is a unique form of end-of-life care that focuses on providing comfort, support, and pain management to patients with terminal illnesses. The goal of hospice care is to improve the quality of life for patients and their families during the final stages of an illness.
Imfinzi is the brand name for the immunotherapy drug durvalumab. Imfinzi is a PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitor, which means it blocks the proteins PD-1 and PD-L1 from interacting. This helps the immune system find mesothelioma cells more effectively. Imfinzi is not approved yet by the FDA for malignant mesothelioma.
Immunotherapy is a type of medical treatment that utilizes the body’s immune system to fight diseases, such as cancer. It involves the use of drugs or other substances that stimulate or enhance the body’s immune system’s response to recognize and attack abnormal cells or tissues. FDA approved immunotherapy drugs used to treat mesothelioma include Keytruda, Optivo and Yervoy.
Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) is a type of advanced radiation therapy used to treat cancer. It is a technique that allows for the delivery of highly focused and precise doses of radiation to cancerous tissues while minimizing the radiation dose to surrounding healthy tissues. IMRT uses computer-controlled devices to shape the radiation beam to conform to the shape of the tumor, and vary the intensity of the radiation within the beam. This allows the radiation oncologist to deliver higher doses of radiation to the tumor while minimizing the dose to nearby healthy tissues.
Keytruda, brand name pembrolizumab, is an immunotherapy medication used to treat several types of cancer, like mesothelioma. It works by blocking the activity of a protein called PD-1 on the surface of T cells. By blocking this receptor, Keytruda allows the T cells to recognize and attack cancer cells more effectively.
A laparoscopy is a minimally invasive procedure used to conduct an abdominal biopsy. A laparoscopy uses a needle and small incision to remove tissue from the abdominal cavity. This procedure is used to diagnose peritoneal mesothelioma.
A laparotomy is an invasive procedure used to conduct an abdominal biopsy. A laparotomy involves making an incision to remove tissue from the abdominal cavity. This procedure is used to diagnose peritoneal mesothelioma.
A latency period is the amount of time that passes between exposure to a disease-causing agent and the onset of symptoms or the development of a disease. Mesothelioma has an abnormally long latency period typically ranging from 20-50 years from initial exposure to asbestos.
A lymph node is a small, bean-shaped structure that is part of the lymphatic system. Lymph nodes play a critical role in the immune system by filtering lymphatic fluid and trapping bacteria, viruses, and other harmful substances.
Malignant neoplasm is another term for a cancerous tumor. The term “malignant” refers to the fact that cancer cells are present. The term “neoplasm” refers to an abnormal growth or tumor that can be either benign (not cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).
MAPR is a U.S. Veterans Affairs acronym for “Maximum Annual Pension Rate.” This is the maximum amount of pension payable to a veteran who is eligible for VA Pension benefits. Your MAPR is based on your income, the number of dependents you have, and if your disabilities qualify for Housebound or Aid and Attendance benefits. MAPR is adjusted each year for cost-of-living raises.
A mediastinoscopy is a biopsy procedure that allows doctors to view the mediastinum, which is the space in behind your breastbone and between your lungs. Doctors use a mediastinoscopy to remove tissue from the mediastinum and look for the possibility of cancerous cells. This procedure is one way to diagnose pleural mesothelioma.
Mesothelial cells are cells that form the linings of the different body’s cavities, such as the pleural (lung), peritoneal (abdominal), and pericardial (heart) cavities. The mesothelial cells produce a fluid that helps lubricate and protect the organs and tissues, allowing them to move and function properly. They also play a role in the immune response, helping to prevent infection and inflammation.
A mesothelioma diagnosis involves a medical history, physical examination, imaging tests, and a tissue biopsy. A tissue biopsy is the only way to obtain a definitive diagnosis of mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma Life Expectancy is used to describe, based on past patients, the average amount of time a mesothelioma patient has before the disease results in death. Mesothelioma life expectancy is usually an average because many factors such as, age of patient, health of patient, and advancement of the mesothelioma all play a role in life expectancy.
The mesothelial lining (also called the mesothelium) is a thin layer of cells that cover and protect the internal organs, including the lungs, heart, and abdominal organs. Mesothelial cells are specialized epithelial cells that produce a lubricating fluid that helps to reduce friction between the organs and surrounding tissues. The mesothelial lining is made up of two layers: the visceral layer, which covers the internal organs, and the parietal layer, which lines the body cavity. The pleura, peritoneum and pericardium are all mesothelial linings.
Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive form of cancer that develops in the lining of the lungs, abdomen, or heart. It is caused by exposure to asbestos, a fibrous mineral that was widely used in construction, insulation, and friction parts.
There are three main types of mesothelioma based on the types of cells found in the cancerous tissue. Epithelioid Mesothelioma – this is the most common type of mesothelioma, accounting for about 50-70% of all cases. Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma – this type of mesothelioma accounts for about 10-20% of all cases. Biphasic Mesothelioma – this type of mesothelioma contains a mixture of both epithelioid and sarcomatoid cells, and accounts for about 20-35% of all cases.
Doctors who specialize in the treatment of pleural, peritoneal, pericardial, and testicular mesothelioma. These doctors include pathologists, oncologists, thoracic surgeons, and other healthcare professionals. These specialists have the experience and knowledge needed to effictive treat this rare cancer.
There are several different staging systems used for mesothelioma, a rare cancer that forms in the lining of the lungs, abdomen, or heart. The staging system used depends on the type of mesothelioma and the treating physician. The commonly used mesothelioma staging systems are: TNM, PCI, Brigham and the Butchart staging system.
The survival rate for mesothelioma depends on several factors, including the stage of the cancer at the time of diagnosis, the location of the cancer, and the age and overall health of the patient. The 5-year survival rate for mesothelioma is generally around 10% but it is important to note that survival rates are statistical averages and do not predict an individual’s outcome.
Symptoms of mesothelioma vary depending on the stage and location of the cancer. Pleural mesothelioma patients often suffer from pleural effusions (fluid buildup in the lungs), shortness of breath, chest pain, fatigue, weight loss, persistent cough and body aches. Peritoneal patients often suffer with ascites (fluid buildup in the abdomen), abdominal swelling, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, constipation and intestinal obstruction.
See Mesothelial Lining.
Metastasis is the spread of cancer cells from the site where the cancer originated to other parts of the body. When cancer cells spread through the bloodstream or lymphatic system, they can form new tumors in other organs or tissues, which is called metastatic cancer.
When cancer cells spread from the site of origin to another part of the body, the cancer is said to have metastasized. See also Metastasis.
MOS is an acronym that refers to Military Occupational Specialty. It is a unique code utilized by both the Army and Marine Corps to designate the particular job or career field of a service member. In the Navy, the equivalent term is “rating,” while in the Air Force, it is known as the “Air Force Specialty Code.”
MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. It is a medical imaging technique that uses a strong magnetic field, radio waves, and a computer to produce detailed images of internal body structures.
Multimodal treatment is a type of medical treatment that combines different therapies or approaches to address a specific health condition. The goal of multimodal treatment is to use multiple modes of treatment that complement each other, with the aim of achieving better outcomes than would be possible with a single approach. In the context of cancer treatment, for example, multimodal treatment may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and/or targeted therapy. By using a combination of these therapies, doctors can more effectively treat the cancer and improve the chances of a successful outcome.
A cell mutation is a change in the DNA sequence of a cell’s genetic material, which can result in altered cellular function. Mutations can be caused by a variety of factors, such as exposure to radiation, chemicals, or asbestos. Cell mutations can be benign or malignant. Benign mutations do not cause significant harm to the cell or the body and often go unnoticed. However, malignant mutations can result in the development of cancerous cells like mesothelioma.
Navelbine, brand name Vinorelbine, is a chemotherapy drug used to treat several types of cancer, including non-small cell lung cancer and mesothelioma. It works by interfering with the growth and division of cancer cells.
A Navy Rating is a specialized job within a specific occupational field. A rating is also sometimes referred to as a “Navy enlisted classification” or NEC. To receive a Navy rating, an individual must complete basic training and then receive specialized training in their chosen rating, either by attending an “A” School or by passing a Rating Exam. Navy Ratings most commonly associated with asbestos exposure include Machinist Mate, Boilerman and Engineman.
Neoadjuvant chemotherapy is a type of chemotherapy treatment administered before the primary treatment for cancer, which is typically surgery. The goal of neoadjuvant chemotherapy is to shrink the tumor, making it easier to remove surgically, or to eliminate cancer cells that may have spread beyond the tumor site.
A neoplasm is an abnormal growth of tissue arising from uncontrolled, abnormal cell proliferation. Neoplasms can be either benign or malignant (cancerous). The terms “neoplasm” and “tumor” are often used interchangeably in medical literature and clinical practice.
As it relates to asbestos, occupational exposure refers to any asbestos exposure occurring in the workplace, as opposed to exposure in the home or in one’s personal life, such as changing the brakes on one’s car.
An oncologist is a medical doctor who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Oncologists work with other health care professionals, such as surgeons and radiation therapists, to provide comprehensive care for patients with cancer. There are three main types of oncologists: medical oncologists, surgical oncologists and radiation oncologists. Medical oncologists specialize in the treatment of cancer with chemotherapy, targeted therapy and immunotherapy. Surgical oncologists specialize in the surgical removal of cancerous tumors, and radiation oncologists specialize in the use of radiation therapy to treat cancer.
Opdivo, generic name nivolumab, is an immunotherapy drug used to treat several types of cancer, including mesothelioma. It works by blocking a protein called PD-L1, which can prevent the body’s immune system from recognizing and attacking cancer cells.
Optune Lua is a medical device approved by the FDA to treat mesothelioma. It is a portable, battery-operated device that delivers low-intensity electrical fields to the chest cavity through four adhesive patches placed on the skin of the chest. The electrical fields produced by Optune Lua are designed to disrupt the division and growth of cancer cells, which can slow or stop the progression of the cancer.
Palliative care is specialized medical care focused on providing relief from the symptoms, pain and stress of a serious illness. It is an interdisciplinary approach involving a team of healthcare professionals, such as doctors, nurses, social workers, and chaplains, who work together to improve the quality of life for patients and their families. Palliative care can be provided alongside curative treatments and is appropriate at any stage of a serious illness, regardless of whether the illness is curable or not.
Palliative surgery is a type of surgical procedure performed to relieve symptoms and improve the quality of life of patients with advanced or incurable diseases. It is not intended to cure the underlying disease but rather to alleviate pain, discomfort or other symptoms that may significantly affect the patient’s daily life.
See Palliative Care.
Paracentesis is a medical procedure involving the removal of excess fluid from the abdominal cavity, a condition known as ascites.
Paraplatin, brand name Carboplatin, is a chemotherapy drug used to treat several types of cancer, including mesothelioma. It works by interfering with the growth and division of cancer cells.
The parietal peritoneum is a thin, transparent layer of tissue that lines the walls of the abdominal and pelvic cavities. It is one of two layers of the peritoneum, the other being the visceral peritoneum, which covers the organs within the abdomen. The parietal peritoneum plays a vital role in protecting and supporting the abdominal organs, as well as providing a smooth surface that allows them to move freely during digestion and other abdominal activities.
The parietal pleura is one of the two layers of the pleura, the other being the visceral plerua. It is a thin, transparent, double-layered membrane that surrounds the lungs and lines the chest cavity. The parietal pleura is the outer layer on the inner surface of the chest wall, diaphragm, and mediastinum (the space between the two lungs).
A patient advocate is someone who supports and promotes the rights, interests and well-being of patients. Patient advocates work with patients and their families to help them navigate the health care system and receive the care they need.
Pathology is the study of diseases and the changes they cause in the body’s tissues and organs. Pathologists are medical doctors who specialize in diagnosing diseases by examining tissue samples, blood and other bodily fluids. Pathology involves the analysis of tissue samples and other specimens to identify the cause and nature of diseases. Pathologists use a variety of techniques and tools to examine specimens, including microscopes, imaging technologies and laboratory tests.
Pemetrexed, brand name Alimta, is a chemotherapy drug used to treat several types of cancer, including mesothelioma. It works by interfering with the growth and division of cancer cells.
The pericardial lining is the double-layered membrane that surrounds the heart and the roots of the great vessels. It consists of an outer fibrous layer and an inner serous layer. See also Pericardium.
Pericardial mesothelioma is a very rare cancer. Approximately 1% of mesothelioma cases are diagnosed as pericardial mesothelioma. There are not many effective treatment options for this disease due to the proximity of tumors to the heart.
The symptoms of pericardial mesothelioma can be vague and non-specific, and they often mimic other conditions. Some common symptoms of pericardial mesothelioma include: chest pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, heart palpitations, cough and weight loss.
Pericardiocentesis is a palliative surgery to remove fluid from the pericardial cavity and treat pericardial mesothelioma. The pericardial cavity is part of the pericardium, which is the thin membrane that lines the heart. It’s a minimally invasive procedure involving a needle and syringe
The pericardium is the lining that surrounds the heart. It’s function is to protecting the heart from infection and inflammation, preventing the heart from overexpanding when blood volume increases, and providing a lubricated surface for the heart to beat against.
The PCI staging system is used for peritoneal mesothelioma, which affects the lining of the abdomen. Since peritoneal mesothelioma rarely involves lymph node involvement, doctors don’t consider it in staging. The PCI score is based on the extent of tumor involvement in different regions of the abdomen and is scored on a range from 0-39.
The peritoneal cavity is a space in the abdomen containing the organs of the digestive system, including the stomach, small intestine, large intestine, liver, gallbladder, pancreas and spleen. It is lined by the peritoneum, a membrane that covers the organs and lines the walls of the abdominal cavity. The peritoneal cavity is filled with a small amount of peritoneal fluid, which acts as a lubricant and helps reduce friction between the organs as they move during digestion. Mesothelioma cancer affecting the peritoneum is called peritoneal mesothelioma.
Peritoneal mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer that forms in the peritoneum, which is the thin membrane lining the abdominal cavity and covers the organs within it. The disease is caused by exposure to asbestos fibers, which can become lodged in the lining of the abdominal cavity and cause inflammation and scarring over time.
Common peritoneal mesothelioma symptoms include ascites (fluid buildup in the peritoneum), abdominal swelling, stomach pain, loss of appetite, constipation and intestinal obstruction.
A peritonectomy is a surgery to remove the peritoneum, which is the lining in the abdominal cavity. The peritoneum is where peritoneal mesothelioma forms. Doctors often remove the peritoneum and perform a peritonectomy during cytoreductive surgery with HIPEC.
The peritoneum is a thin membrane that lines the abdominal cavity and covers the organs within it. It is composed of two layers: the parietal lines the abdominal wall; and the visceral covers the organs within the abdominal cavity. The peritoneum helps protect the organs within the abdominal cavity by providing a smooth, lubricated surface that allows them to move freely against one another without causing friction. It also plays a role in the immune system, producing specialized cells and chemicals that help defend against infection and disease.
A personal injury lawsuit is a legal action brought by a person who has been injured due to the negligence or intentional actions of another party. The purpose of the lawsuit is to seek compensation for the damages caused by the injury, such as medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other related expenses. Mesothelioma lawsuits are considered personal injury cases.
A PET scan, or Positron Emission Tomography scan, is a type of medical imaging test that uses a special dye containing radioactive tracers to produce detailed images of the inside of the body. The tracers are absorbed by the organs or tissues being studied, and the PET scanner detects the radiation emitted by the tracers to create three-dimensional images. PET scans are most often used in mesothelioma patients to determine if the cancer has spread to other organs of the body.
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a medical treatment using a combination of light and a photosensitizing agent to destroy cancer cells. The photosensitizing agent is a special type of drug that concentrates in rapidly spreading cells like cancer cells. This drug is activated by light of a specific wavelength. When the drug is exposed to this light, it produces a form of oxygen capable of destroying nearby cells. PDT can be used in conjunction with surgery as well as other therapies.
The pleura is a thin membrane lining the chest cavity and covers the lungs. It is made up of two layers, the visceral pleura and the parietal pleura, which are separated by a small amount of fluid. The visceral pleura is the innermost layer, in direct contact with the lung tissue, while the parietal pleura is the outer layer and lines the chest wall, diaphragm and mediastinum. The pleura serves several important functions. It creates a barrier between the lungs and the chest wall while the pleural fluid between the two layers acts as a lubricant, allowing the lungs to move smoothly during breathing. It also helps to distribute the pressure of the lungs evenly across the chest wall.
The term pleural is used to describe anything related to the pleura, the lining of the lungs and chest cavity.
A pleural effusion is a condition where there is an abnormal accumulation of fluid in the pleural space, which is the space between the two layers of the pleura surrounding the lungs. Normally, there is a small amount of fluid in the pleural space acting as a lubricant, allowing the lungs to move smoothly during breathing. However, when there is an excessive buildup of fluid, it can put pressure on the lung and cause breathing difficulties. Pleural effusions are one of the most common symptoms in mesothelioma patients.
Pleural mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer affecting the pleura, which is the thin layer of tissue that lines the lungs and chest wall. It is usually caused by exposure to asbestos.
Pleural mesothelioma patients often suffer from pleural effusions (fluid buildup), shortness of breath, chest pain, fatigue, weight loss, persistent cough and body aches. These are the main symptoms of pleural mesothelioma cancer.
Pleurectomy is a surgical procedure to remove a portion of the pleura, which is the thin tissue membrane lining the chest cavity and covers the lungs. This procedure is typically performed to treat conditions affecting the pleura, such as mesothelioma, pleural effusion and pleural thickening.
Pleurodesis is a palliative surgery for pleural mesothelioma. Doctors stick the two tissue layers of the pleura together to remove the pleural cavity and prevent the build-up of fluid in the pleural space. Pleurodesis prevents pleural effusion, which is a primary symptom of pleural mesothelioma and causes discomfort for patients.
A pneumonectomy is a surgical procedure to remove an entire lung. Mesothelioma patients who have a pneumonectomy receive a more extensive surgery called an extrapleural pneumonectomy, which involves the removal of additional areas of the body along with the affected lung.
Cancer prognosis refers to the likely outcome or expected course of a person’s cancer, including the chances of recovery and survival. A cancer prognosis is based on several factors, including the type and stage of cancer, the patient’s overall health, and the response to treatment. Staging the cancer is an important factor in determining the prognosis.
Radiation therapy, also known as radiotherapy, is a type of cancer treatment using high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells or shrink tumors. Radiation therapy works by damaging the DNA inside cancer cells, making it difficult or impossible for them to divide and grow. There are two main types of radiation therapy: external beam radiation and internal radiation (brachytherapy) therapy.
Mesothelial cells are cells that form the lining of various body cavities, including the pleural, peritoneal and pericardial cavities. These cells are involved in the response to injury or inflammation and can be seen in a variety of pathological conditions. Reactive mesothelial cells can be distinguished from malignant mesothelial cells, which are cancerous and have abnormal cellular characteristics. Therefore, the presence of reactive mesothelial cells does not necessarily mean the patient has mesothelioma cancer.
Remission refers to a period of time during which the signs and symptoms of a medical condition or disease are reduced or disappear completely. It is often used to describe the absence of symptoms in chronic diseases such as cancer.
Sarcomatoid mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive form of cancer affecting the lining of the lungs (pleural mesothelioma) or the lining of the abdomen (peritoneal mesothelioma). Sarcomatoid mesothelioma accounts for about 10-20% of all mesothelioma cases and is known to be more aggressive and resistant to treatment than other types of mesothelioma.
A settlement is a voluntary agreement entered into by two parties in dispute. Once a settlement is reached, a dismissal of the litigation between the two parties will be filed.
A treatment method for malignant pleural mesothelioma where surgery is performed after radiotherapy. SMART is an acronym for “Surgery for Mesothelioma After Radiation Therapy.” This consists of a short course of high dose, intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) followed by extrapleural pneumonectomy.
SMC is a VA benefit providing additional financial support to eligible veterans who have experienced severe injuries or disabilities as a result of their military service. Veterans with service-connected mesothelioma most often receive SMC when they are in need of the Aid and Attendance of another person to perform tasks of daily living such as bathing, using the restroom, or dressing. Veterans can also receive additional compensation when they have been service-connected for a disability rated at 100%, with another single disability rated at 60% or higher, or if they have a combination of other disability ratings with a combined rating of 60% or higher. This additional compensation is added to the veteran’s normal disability pay.
Stage 1 mesothelioma is the earliest stage of this rare and aggressive form of cancer. At this stage, the cancer is localized to the pleura (the lining around the lungs) and has not spread to nearby lymph nodes or other organs in the body.
Stage 2 mesothelioma describes a mesothelioma stage where the cancer may have spread beyond the lining of the affected organ or tissue and into nearby lymph nodes, but not to distant organs.
Stage 3 mesothelioma is a later stage of this cancer that has spread to other parts of the body beyond the point of origin. At stage 3, the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes and may have also spread to nearby organs, such as the chest wall, esophagus, or diaphragm.
Stage 4 mesothelioma is the most advanced stage of this aggressive cancer, in which the cancer has spread extensively throughout the body. At this stage, the cancer has metastasized, or spread beyond the original site to other organs and tissues in the body.
Stages of Mesothelioma
Statute of limitations is a legal term used to set the maximum time period a party has to pursue a legal remedy. Statute of limitations can vary from state to state.
The term “survival rate” refers to the percentage of people who survive a particular disease or condition for a specific period of time after diagnosis. The survival rate is usually expressed as a percentage, and it’s based on statistical data from previous cases of the same disease or condition.
Thoracentesis is a palliative surgery to remove fluid from the pleural cavity and treat pleural mesothelioma. Thoracentesis helps remove pleural effusions, which is a symptom of pleural mesothelioma. It’s a minimally invasive procedure involving a needle and syringe.
The thoracic cavity is the space within the chest containing the organs of the respiratory and cardiovascular systems, including the lungs, heart and major blood vessels. It is bound by the rib cage and the muscles of the chest, including the diaphragm.
A thoracoscopy is a minimally invasive procedure used to conduct a chest biopsy. A thoracoscopy uses a needle and small incision to remove tissue from the chest cavity. This procedure is used to diagnose pleural mesothelioma.
A thoracotomy is an invasive procedure used to conduct a chest biopsy. A thoracotomy involves making an incision to remove tissue from the chest cavity. This procedure is used to diagnose pleural mesothelioma.
A tissue biopsy is a medical procedure to remove small sample of tissue from a part of the body for examination by a pathologist under a microscope. The purpose of a tissue biopsy is to determine if the tissue is malignant, and if so, to specify the type of cancer. A tissue biopsy is the only way to get a definitive diagnosis of mesothelioma.
A tumor is an abnormal growth or lump of cells that forms when cells divide and multiply more than they should, or when cells do not die when they should. Tumors can be either benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). A tumor is a type of neoplasm forming a lump or mass of tissue.
The TNM staging system is used to stage malignant pleural mesothelioma, which is the most common type of mesothelioma. TNM staging is a system used to describe the extent and spread of cancer in a patient’s body. It is an abbreviation for Tumor, Node, and Metastasis. Each letter represents a different aspect of the cancer’s characteristics.
Tumor treating fields (TTFields) is a form of cancer treatment using electromagnetic waves to disrupt cancer cell division and growth. TTFields are a non-invasive treatment method delivered using a portable medical device. This treatment has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma. Optune Lua is currently the only tumor treating fields device approved for mesothelioma.
A Veterans Affairs (VA) claim is a formal request made by a veteran or their eligible dependents for benefits offered by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. VA claims for mesothelioma patient usually include Disability Compensation, Pension, Aid & Attendance, and Dependency & Indemnity Compensation (DIC), but can also include requests for other benefits, such as health care, education and training, housing assistance, and pension benefits for eligible dependents.
VA Claims Agent
Like Veteran Service Officers (VSO), VA-accredited claims agents are individuals accredited by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to represent veterans and their eligible dependents in the VA claims process. The only difference is in how they are accredited. VSOs are accredited through the Veterans Service Organization for which they are employed. VA claims agents are accredited by the VA’s General Counsel’s Office. VA claims agents must meet strict qualifications and undergo training and testing to become accredited by the VA. They are held to high ethical and professional standards and are subject to ongoing oversight by the VA.
VA Disability Compensation is a tax-free financial benefit paid by the VA to veterans who have a service-connected disability or illness, meaning it occurred or was caused by their military service. The amount of compensation depends on the severity of the disability. Veterans are awarded a disability rating ranging anywhere from 0%-100% disabled.
A VA disability rating is a percentage score assigned to veterans by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to determine the level of disability or impairment resulting from a service-connected injury or illness. The rating ranges from 0%-100% in increments of 10%, with a higher percentage indicating a more severe disability. The VA disability rating is used to calculate the amount of compensation a veteran is entitled to receive from the VA. People with an asbestos illness, such as mesothelioma cancer, usually qualify for a 100% disability rating.
VA Pension is a tax-free, needs-based benefit program provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to eligible wartime veterans and their surviving spouses or dependents. Veterans must have served for at least 90 days, with at least one day during a period of war and be over the age of 65 or permanently and totally disabled, with an income below a limit set by the VA.
The term VA Rating and VA Disability Rating are synonymous and are often used interchangeably.
Veteran Service Officer (VSO)
A Veteran Service Officer (VSO) is a representative who assists veterans, their dependents, and survivors in applying for and obtaining VA benefits. VSOs work for a variety of organizations, including state and local government agencies as well as veterans service organizations such as the VFW, AMVETS, DAV and the American Legion. VSOs differ from VA Claims Agents in that they are not accredited by the VA directly. Instead, they are accredited by the VA-accredited organization.
Veteran’s benefits is a broad term encompassing all benefits managed by the Veterans Benefits Administration, an agency within the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. They include compensation benefits, VA loans, education, and assistance programs.
Vinorelbine, brand name Navelbine, is a chemotherapy drug used to treat several types of cancer, including non-small cell lung cancer and mesothelioma. It works by interfering with the growth and division of cancer cells.
Virotherapy is a type of cancer treatment using viruses to selectively target and destroy cancer cells. The viruses used in virotherapy are usually modified so they can infect and kill cancer cells but not normal healthy cells. Virotherapy works by injecting a virus directly into a tumor, where it infects and replicates inside the cancer cells, causing them to die. As the cancer cells die, they release antigens that activate the immune system, which then attacks and destroys any remaining cancer cells in the body.
The visceral peritoneum is the inner layer of the peritoneum. It covers the organs, while the outer layer, called the parietal peritoneum, lines the walls of the abdominal cavity. Together, the two layers create a space known as the peritoneal cavity.
The visceral pleura is a thin layer of tissue that covers the surface of the lungs inside of the chest cavity. The pleura is made up of two layers, the visceral pleura covers the lungs and the parietal pleura lines the chest wall.
Workers’ compensation is a legal term whereby an employee can bring a claim against his/her employer. In many states, workers’ compensation claims involve an administrative process. However, in some states, employees can bring claims in an appropriate court of that particular state.
Wrongful death is a civil action that can be pursued by family members of the decedent against individuals or companies who knowingly or negligently caused an injury resulting in death. Mesothelioma claims are wrongful death cases when the patient has passed away and the family seeks justice against the companies involved in their asbestos exposure.
X-rays are a form of electromagnetic radiation with high energy and short wavelengths. In medicine, they are used as a diagnostic tool to produce images of the inside of the body. X-rays can penetrate the body and produce images of bones and other dense structures, as well as detect abnormalities in soft tissues and organs.
Yervoy, generic name ipilimumab, is a type of immunotherapy drug used to treat several types of cancer, including mesothelioma. It works by activating the immune system to attack cancer cells. It targets a protein called CTLA-4, which can suppress the immune system’s response to cancer cells. By blocking CTLA-4, Yervoy can allow the immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells more effectively. The FDA has approved Yervoy in combination with Opdivo to treat malignant pleural mesothelioma.
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