Tuesday, April 8, 2008
There are six main types of treatment for cancer and these are described below. It is fairly common for a combination of treatments to be used.

a. Active surveillance (or watchful waiting)
Some types of cancer grow very slowly and may cause no problems for many years. In this situation you may not need to have any treatment for some time, but your doctor will monitor you closely so that if the cancer does start to grow you can be given treatment at that time.

b. Surgery
An operation is done to remove the tumour. Surgery is often used if the cancer is only in one area of the body and has not spread. It may be used to remove lymph nodes if these are also affected by the cancer. It can sometimes be used to remove a cancer that has spread to another area of the body, but this is less common. The type of operation will depend on the area of the body affected by the cancer, and on the size and position of the tumour.

c. Radiotherapy
This is the use of high energy x-rays to destroy cancer cells, but cause as little harm as possible to normal cells. The radiotherapy is aimed at the affected area of the body and is very carefully planned. It can cause side effects and the most common is tiredness. The side effects will depend on the part of the body that is being treated.

d. Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy is the use of anti-cancer (cytotoxic) drugs to destroy cancer cells. There are more than 50 different chemotherapy drugs. Some are given as tablets or capsules but most are given by drip (infusion) into a vein. The drugs go into the bloodstream and travel throughout the body to treat the cancer cells wherever they are. Sometimes just one chemotherapy drug is used, but often a combination of two, three or more drugs is given.

Chemotherapy can cause side effects. The side effects will depend on which drug (or combination of drugs) is used. There are now very good ways of preventing or reducing the side effects of chemotherapy.

e. Hormonal therapy
Hormonal therapies work by altering the levels of particular hormones in the body. Some cancers depend on certain hormones in order to divide and grow. By altering the level of hormones in the body, or blocking the hormones from attaching to the cancer cells the cancer can be controlled.

f. Biological therapy
Biological therapies use substances that occur naturally in the body to destroy cancer cells. There are several types of biological therapy, including: monoclonal antibodies, cancer growth inhibitors, vaccines and gene therapy.

Monoclonal antibodies are drugs that can 'recognise' and find specific cells in the body. They can be designed to find a particular type of cancer cell, attach itself to them and destroy them. They can also carry a radioactive molecule, which then delivers radiation directly to the cancer cells.

Cancer growth inhibitors interfere with the way cancer cells use 'chemical messengers' to help the cell to develop and divide. Research is trying to see whether vaccines and gene therapy can be given to treat a cancer that has come back or has spread. Vaccines may also be able to reduce the chance of a cancer coming back, but this type of research is in the very early stages.
Cancer can often be managed more easily when it is diagnosed in the early stages. Being aware of your body and what is 'normal' for you, and reporting symptoms to your GP, can help to make sure that, if you do have cancer, it is diagnosed as early as possible.

There are some common signs and symptoms that may alert you to the fact that something is new or different. You should contact your doctor if you have any of the following:

1. Lumps

Knowing how your body normally looks and feels can help you spot any early changes that could be caused by cancer. You should see your GP if you notice a lump anywhere in your body. It can be useful to tell them how long it’s been there and whether it is getting bigger, or causes discomfort. Cancerous lumps are often (but not always) painless.

It can be difficult to tell what a lump is just by feeling it, but if your GP suspects that you might have a cancer they will refer you to the appropriate specialist for further tests.

2. Coughing, breathlessness and hoarseness

There are many medical conditions that can cause 'chesty' symptoms like coughing and breathlessness (for example, infections and inflammations), but in some cases these symptoms may be a sign of lung cancer. If you have a cough or feel breathless for more than two weeks you should see your GP. You should also tell your GP if you have any blood in your sputum (phlegm) when you cough.

Laryngitis (inflammation of the larynx) is common and can cause a hoarse voice. In a small number of people, a hoarse voice may be a sign of cancer of the larynx (voice box). If hoarseness continues for longer than two weeks, you should tell your GP.

3. Changes in bowel habit

Symptoms of bowel cancer may include blood in your stools (bowel motion). The blood would usually be dark but can be bright red in colour. Fresh, bright red blood is usually a sign of piles (haemorrhoids).

You may notice a change in your normal bowel pattern (such as diarrhoea or constipation) for no obvious reason. You might have a feeling of not having emptied your bowel properly after a bowel motion. Some people also notice that they have pain in the abdomen or back passage.

Remember that altered bowel habits aren't always caused by cancer, but can be caused by changes in diet, some medicines, anxiety, and other medical conditions.

4. Bleeding

Any unexplained bleeding is a sign that there is something wrong and should always be checked out by your GP.

As previously mentioned, bleeding from the back passage is most commonly caused by piles, but can sometimes be due to cancer of the bowel or rectum.

Cancer of the womb or cervix can cause women to bleed between periods or after sex. Women who have any vaginal bleeding after they have had their menopause should see their GP. If necessary your GP will refer you to a gynaecologist.

Blood in your urine may be caused by bladder or kidney cancer. It can also be caused by infection. If you notice blood in your urine it is important to see your GP for a check-up. (It may be helpful to know that the colouring in some medicines or food can cause urine to look pink, as can natural foods, such as beetroot.)

Coughing up blood in your sputum may be caused by serious chest infections, but can sometimes be a sign of lung cancer.

Vomiting blood can be a sign of stomach cancer, although it can also be due to a stomach ulcer. Therefore, it is important to have this checked out by your GP.

Bruising and nosebleeds are rarely signs of cancer, but can in some cases be caused by leukaemia. However, people with leukaemia often have other troublesome symptoms too.

5. Moles

Malignant melanoma is a type of skin cancer that often starts with a change in the appearance of normal skin. This can look like an abnormal new mole. Less than a third of melanomas develop in existing moles. It can be difficult to tell the difference between a mole and a melanoma, but any of the following changes should be checked out:

Asymmetry Moles are usually regular and symmetrical in shape. Melanomas are likely to be irregular or asymmetrical.

Border Moles usually have a well-defined regular border. Melanomas are more likely to have an irregular border with jagged edges.

Colour Moles tend to be a single brown. Melanomas often have more than one colour. They may be varying shades of brown mixed with black, red, pink, white or a bluish tint.

Size Moles are normally no bigger than the blunt end of a pencil (about 6mm (½ inch) across). Melanomas are usually more than 7mm (½ inch) in diameter.

Itching, crusting or bleeding may also occur in melanomas – these are less common signs but should not be ignored.

6. Unexplained weight loss

If you have lost a lot of weight over a short period of time (a couple of months), that cannot be explained by changes in your diet, increased exercise or stress, it is important to tell your GP. Other symptoms, such as sickness, pain and fatigue also tend to occur when a person experiences weight loss due to cancer.

If your GP suspects that you may have cancer, an urgent referral will be made to a specialist. There are guidelines produced by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) to help GPs identify when symptoms could be due to cancer or some other condition. An urgent referral usually means that the specialist will see you within two weeks. The specialist can carry out other investigations, such as a biopsy or various scans, to find the cause of your symptoms and plan any treatment necessary.

If your GP thinks your symptoms are not caused by cancer they may still refer you to a specialist for advice, but the referral is likely to be non-urgent and it will take longer for you to be seen.

Remember – in most cases, your symptoms will turn out to be caused by something other than cancer, but they can still be signs of illness and so you won't be wasting your doctor's time by getting them checked out.
There is a four type of cancer who can i explain :

1. Sarcomas

Sarcomas are very rare. They are a group of cancers that form in the connective or supportive tissues of the body such as muscle, bone and fatty tissue. They account for less than 1% (1 in 100) of cancers.

Sarcomas are split into two main types:

a. bone sarcomas - that are found in the bones

b. soft tissue sarcomas - that develop in the other supportive tissues of the body.

2. Carcinomas

The majority of cancers, about 85% (85 in a 100), are carcinomas. They start in the epithelium, which is the covering (or lining) of organs and of the body (the skin). The common forms of breast, lung, prostate and bowel cancer are all carcinomas.

Carcinomas are named after the type of epithelial cell that they started in and the part of the body that is affected. There are four different types of epithelial cells:

a. squamous cells - that line different parts of the body, such as the mouth, gullet (oesophagus), and the airways

b. adeno cells - form the lining of all the glands in the body and can be found in organs such as the stomach, ovaries, kidneys and prostate

c. transitional cells - are only found in the lining of the bladder and parts of the urinary system

d. basal cells - that are found in one of the layers of the skin.

A cancer that starts in squamous cells is called a squamous cell carcinoma. A cancer that starts in glandular cells is called an adenocarcinoma. Cancers that start in transitional cells are transitional cell carcinomas, and those that start in basal cells are basal cell carcinomas.

3. Leukaemias and lymphomas

These occur in the tissues where white blood cells (which fight infection in the body) are formed, i.e. the bone marrow and lymphatic system. Leukaemia and lymphoma are quite rare and make up about 6.5% (6.5 in 100) of all cancers.

4. Others forms of cancer

Brain tumours and other very rare forms of cancer make up the remainder of cancers.
Each year more than a quarter of a million people are diagnosed with cancer in the UK, and 1 in 3 people will develop cancer during their lifetime. But cancer is not common in children or young people - it mainly occurs in the later years of life. Cancers can occur at any age, but the risk of developing cancer increases with age. 64% (64 in 100) of all newly diagnosed cancers occur in people aged 65 years or more. Less than 1% (1 in 100) of cancers are diagnosed in children, aged 0-14 years.

The organs and tissues of the body are made up of tiny building blocks called cells. Cancer is a disease of these cells.

Cells in different parts of the body may look and work differently but most reproduce themselves in the same way. Cells are constantly becoming old and dying, and new cells are produced to replace them. Normally, cells divide in an orderly and controlled manner. If for some reason the process gets out of control, the cells carry on dividing, developing into a lump which is called a tumour.

Tumours can be either benign or malignant. Cancer is the name given to a malignant tumour. Doctors can tell if a tumour is benign or malignant by examining a small sample of cells under a microscope. This is called a biopsy.

In a benign tumour the cells do not spread to other parts of the body and so are not cancerous. However, if they continue to grow at the original site, they may cause a problem by pressing on the surrounding organs.

A malignant tumour consists of cancer cells that have the ability to spread beyond the original area. If the tumour is left untreated, it may spread into and destroy surrounding tissue. Sometimes cells break away from the original (primary) cancer. They may spread to other organs in the body through the bloodstream or lymphatic system.

The lymphatic system is part of the immune system - the body's natural defence against infection and disease. It is a complex system made up of organs, such as bone marrow, the thymus, the spleen, and lymph nodes. The lymph nodes (or glands) throughout the body are connected by a network of tiny lymphatic ducts.

When the cancer cells reach a new area they may go on dividing and form a new tumour. This is known as a secondary cancer or metastasis.

It is important to realise that cancer is not a single disease with a single type of treatment. There are more than 200 different kinds of cancer, each with its own name and treatment.
In addition to your medical care providers, there are many good sources of information available with medical information about mesothelioma. Here are some links to other Web sites that may help you find more medical information:

** American Lung Association (Programs and strategies for dealing with lung disease)

** Centerwatch/Clinical Trials Listing Service (Information on clinical trials in the U.S)

** Clinical Trials (Public current information about clinical research studies)

** Mayo Clinic (Reliable information for a healthier life from Mayo Clinic)

** Medscape (Late-breaking medical news)

** National Cancer Institute (the National Cancer Institute’s Web site provides accurate, up-to-date information on many types of cancer, information on clinical trials, resources for people dealing with cancer, and information for researchers and health professionals)

** Oncolink (Created by the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania. Provides information on various forms of cancer)
Mesothelioma, though rare, has had a number of notable patients. Australian anti-racism activist Bob Bellear died in 2005. British science fiction writer Michael G. Coney, responsible for nearly 100 works also died in 2005. American film and television actor Paul Gleason, perhaps best known for his portrayal of Principal Richard Vernon in the 1985 film The Breakfast Club, died in 2006. Mickie Most, an English record producer, died of mesothelioma in 2003. Paul Rudolph, an American architect known for his cubist building designs, died in 1997.

Bernie Banton was an Australian workers' rights activist, who fought a long battle for compensation from James Hardie after he contracted mesothelioma after working for that company. He claimed James Hardie knew of the dangers of asbestos before he began work with the substance making insulation for power stations. Mesothelioma eventually took his life along with his brothers and hundreds of James Hardie workers. James Hardie made an undisclosed settlement with Banton only when his mesothelioma had reached its final stages and he was expected to have no more than 48hrs to live. Australian Prime Minister-elect Kevin Rudd mentioned Banton's extended struggle in his acceptance speech after winning the 2007 Australian Federal Election.

Steve McQueen was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma on December 22, 1979. He was not offered surgery or chemotherapy because doctors felt the cancer was too advanced. McQueen sought alternative treatments from clinics in Mexico. He died of a heart attack on November 7, 1980, in Juárez, Mexico, following cancer surgery. He may have been exposed to asbestos while serving with the U.S. Marines as a young adult—asbestos was then commonly used to insulate ships' piping—or because of its use as an insulating material in car racing suits.It is also reported that he worked in a shipyard during World War II, where he might have been exposed to asbestos.

United States Congressman Bruce Vento died of mesothelioma in 2000. The Bruce Vento Hopebuilder is awarded yearly by his wife at the MARF Symposium to persons or organizations who have done the most to support mesothelioma research and advocacy.

After a long period of untreated illness and pain, rock and roll musician and songwriter Warren Zevon was diagnosed with inoperable mesothelioma in the fall of 2002. Refusing treatments he believed might incapacitate him, Zevon focused his energies on recording his final album The Wind including the song "Keep Me in Your Heart," which speaks of his failing breath. Zevon died at his home in Los Angeles, California, on September 7, 2003.

Christie Hennessy, the influential Irish singer-songwriter, died of mesothelioma in 2007, and had stridently refused to accept the prognosis in the weeks before his death. His mesothelioma has been attributed to his younger years spent working on building sites in London.

Bob Miner, one of the founders of Software Development Labs, the forerunner of Oracle Corporation died of mesothelioma in 1994.

Although life expectancy with this disease is typically limited, there are notable survivors. In July 1982, Stephen Jay Gould was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma. After his diagnosis, Gould wrote the "The Median Isn't the Message" for Discover magazine, in which he argued that statistics such as median survival are just useful abstractions, not destiny. Gould lived for another twenty years eventually succumbing to metastatic adenocarcinoma of the lung, not mesothelioma.

Author Paul Kraus was diagnosed with mesothelioma in June 1997 following an umbilical hernia operation. His prognosis was "a few months." He continues to survive using a variety of integrative and complimentary modalities and has written a book about his experience.
Treatment for mesothelioma depends on the location of the cancer, the stage of the disease, and the patients age and general health. Standard treatment options include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Sometimes, these treatments are combined.

a. Surgery

Surgery is a common treatment for mesothelioma. The doctor may remove part of the lining of the chest or abdomen and some of the tissue around it. For cancer of the pleura (pleural mesothelioma), a lung may be removed in an operation called a pneumonectomy. Sometimes part of the diaphragm, the muscle below the lungs that helps with breathing, is also removed.

b. Radiation

For patients with localized disease, and who can tolerate a radical surgery, radiation is often given post-operatively as a consolidative treatment. The entire hemi-thorax is treated with radiation therapy, often given simultaneously with chemotherapy. This approach of using surgery followed by radiation with chemotherapy has been pioneered by the thoracic oncology team at Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston. Delivering radiation and chemotherapy after a radical surgery has led to extended life expectancy in selected patient populations with some patients surviving more than 5 years. As part of a curative approach to mesothelioma, radiotherapy is also commonly applied to the sites of chest drain insertion, in order to prevent growth of the tumor along the track in the chest wall.

Although mesothelioma is generally resistant to curative treatment with radiotherapy alone, palliative treatment regimens are sometimes used to relieve symptoms arising from tumor growth, such as obstruction of a major blood vessel. Radiation therapy when given alone with curative intent has never been shown to improve survival from mesothelioma. The necessary radiation dose to treat mesothelioma that has not been surgically removed would be very toxic.

c. Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is the use of anticancer drugs to kill cancer cells throughout the body. Most drugs used to treat mesothelioma are given by injection into a vein (intravenous, or IV). Doctors are also studying the effectiveness of putting chemotherapy directly into the chest or abdomen (intracavitary chemotherapy).

d. Immunotherapy

Treatment regimens involving immunotherapy have yielded variable results. For example, intrapleural inoculation of Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) in an attempt to boost the immune response, was found to be of no benefit to the patient (while it may benefit patients with bladder cancer). Mesothelioma cells proved susceptible to in vitro lysis by LAK cells following activation by interleukin-2 (IL-2), but patients undergoing this particular therapy experienced major side effects. Indeed, this trial was suspended in view of the unacceptably high levels of IL-2 toxicity and the severity of side effects such as fever and cachexia. Nonetheless, other trials involving interferon alpha have proved more encouraging with 20% of patients experiencing a greater than 50% reduction in tumor mass combined with minimal side effects

e. Heated Intraoperative Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy

A procedure known as heated intraoperative intraperitoneal chemotherapy was developed by Paul Sugarbaker at the Washington Cancer Institute.[9] The surgeon removes as much of the tumor as possible followed by the direct administration of a chemotherapy agent, heated to between 40 and 48°C, in the abdomen. The fluid is perfused for 60 to 120 minutes and then drained.

This technique permits the administration of high concentrations of selected drugs into the abdominal and pelvic surfaces. Heating the chemotherapy treatment increases the penetration of the drugs into tissues. Also, heating itself damages the malignant cells more than the normal cells.

Mesothelioma is a serious disease. The only known cause of mesothelioma is asbestos,Many building materials used in both public and domestic premises prior to the banning of asbestos may contain asbestos. Those performing renovation works or diy activities may expose themselves to asbestos dust. In the UK use of Chrysotile asbestos was banned at the end of 1999. Brown and blue asbestos was banned in the UK around 1985. Buildings built or renovated prior to these dates may contain asbestos materials.

Incidence of mesothelioma had been found to be higher in populations living near naturally occuring asbestos. For example, in Cappadocia, Turkey, an unprecedented mesothelioma epidemic caused 50% of all deaths in three small villages. Initially, this was attributed to erionite, however, recently, it has been shown that erionite causes mesothelioma mostly in families with a genetic predisposition.

Here is a list of some products that at one time contained asbestos:

01. Pipe Covering/Pipe Insulation

02. Insulating cement

03. Insulating block

04. Refractory cement

05. Floor and ceiling tile

06. Fireproofing

07. Insulation

08. Firebrick

09. Gaskets

10. Joint compounds

11. Brake pads and linings

12. Clutches

13. Electraical wires

14. Boilers

15. Furnaces

16. Turbines

17. Wallboard/Millboard

18. Asbestos cloth, blankets, felt or paper

19. Asbestos packing

20. Asbestos rope

21. Shingles

22. Roofing materials

23. Plastic cement

24. Drilling additives

Here is a list of some trades that at one time were commonly exposed to asbestos on the job:

01. Insulators

02. Pipfitters

03. Plumbers

04. Boiler room tenders

05. Boilermakers

06. Steel workers

07. Shipyard workers

08. Electricians

09. Carpenters

10. Drywall finishers

11. Painters

12. Plasterers

13. Iron workers

14. Crane operators

15. Floor coverers

16. Masons

17. Brickmasons and blockmasons

18. Laborers

19. Construction workers

20. Pot tenders

21. Welders

22. Sheet metal workers

23. Railroad workers

24. Brake mechanics

25. Refinery workers

26. Power plant workers

27. Paper mill workers

28. Navy men

Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that is almost always caused by previous exposure to asbestos.In this disease, malignant cells develop in the mesothelium, a protective lining that covers most of the body's internal organs. Its most common site is the pleura (outer lining of the lungs and chest cavity), but it may also occur in the peritoneum (the lining of the abdominal cavity) or the pericardium (a sac that surrounds the heart).

Most people who develop mesothelioma have worked on jobs where they inhaled asbestos particles, or have been exposed to asbestos dust and fibre in other ways, such as by washing the clothes of a family member who worked with asbestos, or by home renovation using asbestos cement products. Unlike lung cancer, there is no association between mesothelioma and smoking.

Each year, between 2,500 and 3,000 men and women in the U.S. are diagnosed with mesothelioma. It is an aggressive cancer that can be difficult to treat. Often, the cancer does not appear for 15 to 40 or more years after a person has been exposed to asbestos. Exposure to even relatively small amounts of asbestos can cause mesothelioma.

And What is asbestos ?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring substance, mined from rock and made up of tiny fibers, that has been used extensively in thousands of building and insulation products.Asbestos releases microscopic fibers that people either breathe in or swallow. Asbestos fibers are so small the eye cannot see them. Asbestos has no smell or taste, and it is inhaled or swallowed without immediate or noticeable effect.

The mesothelium is a membrane that covers and protects most of the internal organs of the body. It is composed of two layers of cells: One layer immediately surrounds the organ; the other forms a sac around it. The mesothelium produces a lubricating fluid that is released between these layers, allowing moving organs (such as the beating heart and the expanding and contracting lungs) to glide easily against adjacent structures.

The mesothelium has different names, depending on its location in the body. The peritoneum is the mesothelial tissue that covers most of the organs in the abdominal cavity. The pleura is the membrane that surrounds the lungs and lines the wall of the chest cavity. The pericardium covers and protects the heart. The mesothelial tissue surrounding the male internal reproductive organs is called the tunica vaginalis testis. The tunica serosa uteri covers the internal reproductive organs in women.

Diagnosing mesothelioma is often difficult, because the symptoms are similar to those of a number of other conditions. Diagnosis begins with a review of the patients medical history, including any history of asbestos exposure. A complete physical examination may be performed, including x-rays of the chest or abdomen and lung function tests. A CT (or CAT) scan or an MRI may also be useful. A CT scan is a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body created by a computer linked to an x-ray machine. In an MRI, a powerful magnet linked to a computer is used to make detailed pictures of areas inside the body. These pictures are viewed on a monitor and can also be printed.

A biopsy is needed to confirm a diagnosis of mesothelioma. In a biopsy, a surgeon or a medical oncologist (a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating cancer) removes a sample of tissue for examination under a microscope by a pathologist. A biopsy may be done in different ways, depending on where the abnormal area is located. If the cancer is in the chest, the doctor may perform a thoracoscopy. In this procedure, the doctor makes a small cut through the chest wall and puts a thin, lighted tube called a thoracoscope into the chest between two ribs. Thoracoscopy allows the doctor to look inside the chest and obtain tissue samples. If the cancer is in the abdomen, the doctor may perform a peritoneoscopy. To obtain tissue for examination, the doctor makes a small opening in the abdomen and inserts a special instrument called a peritoneoscope into the abdominal cavity. If these procedures do not yield enough tissue, more extensive diagnostic surgery may be necessary.

If the diagnosis is mesothelioma, the doctor will want to learn the stage (or extent) of the disease. Staging involves more tests in a careful attempt to find out whether the cancer has spread and, if so, to which parts of the body. Knowing the stage of the disease helps the doctor plan treatment.

Mesothelioma is described as localized if the cancer is found only on the membrane surface where it originated. It is classified as advanced if it has spread beyond the original membrane surface to other parts of the body, such as the lymph nodes, lungs, chest wall, or abdominal organs.

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