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What you should know about mesothelioma

Barbara O’Brien, Mesothelioma & Asbestos Awareness Center, www.maacenter.org

The condition of mesothelioma is usually diagnosed in older patients. This type of cancer is commonly caused by asbestos. The long-term exposure to this material damages the mesothelium cells. People who worked in factories with asbestos inhaled dangerous fibers and dust. Long ago people were unaware of the dangers of asbestos. Factories did not protect employees from inhaling the dust and fibers of asbestos.

Symptoms of mesothelioma

Patients with this condition often lose weight. They also have difficult and painful breathing. Lungs are the most common body site for mesothelioma to develop. Patients also may have symptoms of cancer near the heart, abdomen or other areas of the body. People will feel tired and may be anemic.

Advanced stages of mesothelioma

As the cancer progresses the symptoms will get worse. A collapsed lung is common. The cancer may be found in other parts of the body. Tumors can grow rapidly and cause pain. Blood disorders can cause excessive bleeding or blood clots. The skin may become yellowed and jaundiced. Cancer may metastasize to the bowels. Excessive fluid may fill the abdominal cavity.

Caregivers and mesothelioma

Patients with this condition will need excellent caregivers. A caregiver will be responsible for providing body care. Care includes helping patients bathe. Patients may need assistance with dental hygiene and toileting. Caregivers can prepare meals and do simple household chores. They might be responsible for feeding the mesothelioma patient. A caregiver can administer medication as prescribed by a physician. Elderly patients often have additional health conditions that require specialized care.

Selecting a caregiver

Caregivers should have proper training. They should know basic first aid procedures. In addition, a caregiver should be certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Taking care of patients is hard work. The caregiver needs to be physically strong and healthy. They may need to lift the patient or push them in a wheelchair. If they are going to drive patients to medical appointments, then they should have a safe driving record. A caregiver should pass a criminal background check. A great caregiver can help a patient feel better physically and mentally.

For more helpful information on mesothelioma, visit the web site for the Mesothelioma & Asbestos Awareness Center at www.maacenter.org.

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