Radiation Therapy for Mesothelioma Cancer

Radiation Therapy for Mesothelioma Cancer

Although radiation therapy is one of the oldest forms of mesothelioma treatments, it has changed a lot in recent years as science and technology have continued to progress. As a result, advanced technology allows patients to undergo radiation treatment that targets certain in order to achieve more optimal results. There are currently a few types of radiation treatments for mesothelioma patients. Most treatments are combined with chemotherapy and in some instances, with surgery.
Currently, over $30 billion is available in asbestos trusts for victims of asbestos-related diseases. If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or asbestos-related lung cancer, you may be entitled to substantial compensation. We invite you to use our Asbestos Attorney Locator Tool to find a top mesothelioma lawyer in your area.
radiation therapy equipment


Brachytherapy is defined as a type of radiotherapy in which the radiation is placed directly next to or inside the area of the body that requires treatment. Brachytherapy is also known as internal radiotherapy or sealed source radiotherapy because of its positioning. Once the radiation source, typically small radioactive seeds, are placed in or near the infected area, radiation is delivered, killing cancerous cells while preserving areas that are healthy. In some instances, the radioactive seeds remain in the body indefinitely, while at other times they are removed shortly after treatment.
Once the treatment has been completed, most patients should be able to return home without any need for inpatient services. Symptoms of mesothelioma usually start to lessen after treatment. Side effects can include extreme tiredness, dry mouth, inflammation of the mouth, dry and burning skin, and rashes. Patients are advised to limit contact with small children and pregnant women as they may be negatively exposed to the radiation.

External Beam Radiation Therapy (EBRT)

EBRT is more common than brachytherapy and used more often. EBRT consists of administering x-rays from outside of the body in order to detect and eliminate cancerous cells.
Once the radiation machine is set up, it maneuvers over certain parts of the body, searching for cancerous cells without having to touch the patient at all. Radiation dosages are extremely high, yet the patient typically feels no pain at all. Treatment is administered five days a week for a few minutes each session.
With progressing information, new techniques and technologies have been established that make EBRT more successful. For example, intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) is a computerized radiation machine that forms radiation shapes that fit neatly around the patient’s tumors. As a result, healthy cells are more likely to go undamaged while targeting the cancerous cells.
As with brachytherapy, side effects from EBRT range from lethargy, fatigue, skin rashes, dry skin, and skin burns. Patients who are administered abdominal radiation may experience stomach cramps, nausea, and loss of appetite. Lung cancer patients may experience shortness of breath, wheezing, and difficulties in breathing. Both forms of radiation may cause hair loss.

Chemotherapy for Mesothelioma Cancer

Chemotherapy for Mesothelioma Cancer

Along with surgery, chemotherapy is one of the most popular treatments for malignant mesothelioma. Chemotherapy works by providing medicines to eliminate cancerous cells while blocking the cancer from increasing. There are a variety of different chemotherapy drugs to treat mesothelioma, and are often used while patients participate in other forms of treatment, such as radiation.
Any form of treatment for mesothelioma can get extremely expensive. With chemotherapy, treatment sessions along with medication can quickly add up to prices that are usually above the average family’s budget. However, trust funds have been set up to help victims and their families cope with the mounting expenses that come along with mesothelioma cancer. Right now, there is more than $30 million in asbestos trusts funds, awaiting those who’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma or asbestos-related lung cancer. We invite you to use our Asbestos Attorney Locator Tool to find a top mesothelioma lawyer in your area.
man undergoing chemotherapy


Chemotherapy is typically administered via an intravenous needle, but in some instances physicians may feel that the pill form is more beneficial. Intravenously, the medication is able to travel through the body and kill cancer cells. The downside is that in many instances, healthy cells are killed in the process, resulting in hair loss and low blood cell count.
Another form of chemotherapy treatment is intrapleural chemotherapy, and is usually reserved for victims of pleural mesothelioma. However, it’s up to the physician to decide which patient this form of chemotherapy is beneficial to. Intrapleural chemotherapy works by inserting a catheter into the chest area and allowing the medication to battle the tumor. This form of chemotherapy is less invasive and doesn’t produce as many major side effects.

Chemotherapy and Mesothelioma

Many years ago, physicians used only single chemotherapy as a form of mesothelioma treatment for patients. Unfortunately, the success rate, around 15%, was extremely low. Since then, physicians began combining chemotherapy drugs in order to extend the success rate and help mesothelioma patients handle the disease more efficiently.
Since mesothelioma is such a destructive diseases, physicians must find quick and aggressive ways to help treat it. Combining extremely strong chemotherapy drugs together has proven to be more effective than a single form of treatment while also helping to reduce the symptoms of mesothelioma.
Keep in mind, though, that your physician will be able to determine which plan and treatments options will work best for you.

Popular Chemotherapy Drugs for Mesothelioma

As previously mentioned, there are a variety of drugs used for chemotherapy patients. When treating mesothelioma cancer, however, some drugs have been proven to be the more viable choice:
  • Alimta: Alimta is used to treat mesothelioma more than any other type of chemotherapy medication currently used. Typically administered once every 21 days intravenously, Alimta is a systematic drug manufactured by Eli Lilly and Company. Along with the medication, patients are advised to take vitamins and supplements, such as folic acid and B12. In order to reduce skin reactions, patients are also usually given corticosteroids in conjunction with Alminta. Alminta has been recommended for patients in advanced stages of mesothelioma treatment by the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE). Since patients in advanced stages usually do not qualify for surgery, Alminta is recommended as long as the patients are still able to take care of themselves without extensive help.
  • Carboplatin: Carboplatin is typically reserved for ovarian, head and neck, and lung cancer patients. It’s administered intravenously and usually takes about 60 minutes. Patients normally go through several sessions every month, and sometimes treatment may require inpatient stay at a medical facility. Patients are susceptible to infection after treatment and are advised to avoid other people who have colds, flus, and other types of infections.
  • Cisplatin: Cisplatin is usually not effective enough on its on, but when combined with Alimta, the success rate is much higher. Just as other chemotherapy medications, Cisplatin is administered intravenously every 21 days. When combining the two drugs, Alimta is typically administered first, followed by Cisplatin. In other instances, Cisplatin may be combined with doxorubicin, which helps put mesothelioma in slight remission.
  • Onconase: Onconase works like most typical chemotherapy drugs by targeting and eliminating cancerous cells. However, the difference between Onconase and other drugs is that when compared, it has much more manageable side effects. However, patients have to go in for treatment at least once a week. Treatment is given intravenously and lasts around 30 minutes for each session. Candidates for Onconase are screened thoroughly as it works best for those in good health.
In many instances, doctors will also administer doses of both folic acid and vitamin B12. These vitamins work to help reduce the typical side effects of chemotherapy drugs while at the same time not affecting the strength of the treatment.

Possible Side Effect of Chemotherapy

Keep in mind that chemotherapy drugs work by attacking cancerous cells. Unfortunately, healthy cells in the body can be affected by the medications, such as cells in the hair, bone marrow, mouth, and intestines. Because of this, the side effects of chemotherapy can be quite extensive. Yet, every person reacts differently, and some may experience more side effects than others. Typical side effects of chemotherapy include:
  • Patients can easily bleed and/or bruise because of reduced blood platelets
  • Hair loss from from the chemotherapy drugs attacking healthy hair follicle cells
  • Mouth sores and cuts
  • Nausea, which may also include episodes of vomiting
  • Low white blood cell count, which results in possible infections
  • Lack of energy and feeling lethargic
Keep in mind that these symptoms are temporary and will usually go away once you’ve finished the treatments. Meanwhile, symptoms can be alleviated with additional medications that help to battle lethargy, infections, vomiting, and more. Be sure to speak with your physician regarding your options.  If you have a high fever, you should consult with your physician as soon as possible.
In some rare instances, chemotherapy drugs can cause significant damage. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), drugs such as carboplatin and cisplatin have been shown to produce nerve damage which can lead to hearing loss, severe pain and burning in the hands and feet, and extreme sensitivity to heat and cold.
Many more chemotherapy drugs are available, and as physicians and scientists continue to learn more about mesothelioma, more options may become available in the future.

Common Mesothelioma Misconceptions

Common Mesothelioma Misconceptions

Mesothelioma cancer is still considered a rare disease in the medical world, and although science continues to progress and teach us more about it, there is still just a relatively small amount of information available when compared to other forms of cancer. Because of this, there are a plethora of myths and misconceptions surrounding the disease and its effects.
If you or a loved one suffer from asbestos-related lung cancer or mesothelioma, you may qualify for substantial compensation. Currently, there is over $30 billion in asbestos trust funds, awaiting those who’ve been diagnosed with an asbestos illness. We invite you to use our Asbestos Attorney Locator Tool to find a top mesothelioma lawyer in your area.
fact or myth sign

Smoking Will Cause Mesothelioma

Smoking does not cause and is not the culprit of mesothelioma. Smokers are also not at any higher risk of developing mesothelioma when compared to non-smokers. However, lung cancer is heightened for smokers who are exposed to asbestos. This is because smoking weakens the lungs, allowing asbestos to cause lung damage more easily.

Only Older People Get Mesothelioma

The main reason for this myth stems from the fact that malignant mesothelioma is generally not detected until 30 years or more after asbestos exposure, with the average age of victims being around 60. However, people of all ages, including children, can get mesothelioma. Children are usually diagnosed much earlier because their immune systems aren’t fully developed as of yet, and the most common way they get mesothelioma is through secondary exposure. In rare instances, children can get mesothelioma from old school buildings that were built using asbestos. They can also be exposed to asbestos by playing in attics that contain asbestos-containing insulation or around old, abandoned buildings that were built with asbestos.

Mesothelioma is Contagious

Mesothelioma has never been nor will ever be contagious. The only instance that even remotely resembles mesothelioma being contagious is secondary exposure from a family member who was exposed to asbestos while working around it.

You Must Have Prolonged Exposure to Asbestos to Get Mesothelioma

In most cases, long-term, prolonged exposure to asbestos is what typically leads to mesothelioma. However, according to recent medical studies, even limited exposure for a short amount of time can result in mesothelioma. Although rare, it can happen. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that there is no safe level of asbestos.

Mesothelioma is Just Another Word for Lung Cancer

Although a form of mesothelioma called pleural mesothelioma develops in the lungs, it is not a lung cancer. This is a common myth and mistake because pleural mesothelioma develops along the lining of the lungs, affecting the soft tissues around the lungs. However, there are several other types of mesothelioma that affect other parts of the body, such as ovarian, peritoneal, testicular, and laryngeal mesothelioma.

Only Men Get Mesothelioma

This myth perhaps started because the majority of workers in factories, plants, oil refineries, and on ships where prolonged exposure to asbestos was present were men. Yet, even though men are diagnosed four times more than women, females can certainly still get mesothelioma as well.

If You Get Mesothelioma, You Won’t Live Much Longer

While it’s true that no cure has been developed as of yet, people can still go on to live successful lives while battling mesothelioma. With a vast array of treatment options that keep increasing as science and technology progresses, victims are living longer and managing pain efficiently. Keep in mind, however, that every case of mesothelioma is unique, and the outcome greatly depends on how advanced the stage of the disease is, how soon the symptoms of mesothelioma start to surface, and how effective the treatment works on each patient.

Mesothelioma and Women

Mesothelioma and Women

Mesothelioma is often thought of as a male disease as the majority of people who develop it are men. Yet, women are just as susceptible to asbestos and can develop mesothelioma just as men do, although they are usually exposed to asbestos in different ways.
If you or a loved one were diagnosed with asbestos-related lung cancer or mesothelioma, you may be entitled to substantial compensationWe invite you to use our Asbestos Attorney Locator Tool to find a top mesothelioma lawyer in your area. With over $30 billion currently in asbestos trust funds, now is the right time to take the first step in determining what you may qualify for.
doctor talking to woman

Second-hand Asbestos Exposure

Many women have developed mesothelioma after ingesting asbestos fibers second-hand, via their spouse or other loved ones who worked around asbestos on job sites. In the past, numerous job sites failed to offer workers protective gear while working around asbestos, nor did they offer on-site showers. In turn, workers would return to their family home with asbestos fibers in their hair, on their skin, and on their clothing. Most workers were unaware of the dangers they were bringing into the home as numerous asbestos manufacturers kept information on the hazards of asbestos hidden.
Second-hand exposure to asbestos remains one of the top reasons that women develop mesothelioma. In fact, a study published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) indicates that almost half of all women’s pleural mesothelioma cases stemmed from second-hand exposure via relatives.

Occupational Exposure

Most men who were exposed to asbestos worked at job sites that entailed industrial, blue collar type work, including working in factories, construction jobs, plants, shipyards, insulation work, and more. Women who were exposed to asbestos at work, however, often worked clerical jobs in buildings made with asbestos materials or as teachers in schools made with asbestos materials.
Women are also at risk of asbestos exposure if they worked in:
  • Bakeries
  • Hospitals
  • Churches
  • Government buildings
Some women were also exposed to asbestos at the same job sites at men. During the nation’s major wars, many women worked in shipyards and factories.

Environmental Exposure

Men and women alike are susceptible to environmental exposure to asbestos if they live near naturally-occurring asbestos. According to the Agency for Toxic Substance & Diseases Registry (ATSDR), naturally-occurring asbestos isn’t dangerous unless it’s disturbed.
Naturally-occurring asbestos is found in the East, Southeast, Midwest, and West Coast areas of the United States. The most concentrated areas of naturally-occurring asbestos are California, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas.

Survival Rates for Women with Mesothelioma

Studies indicate that women diagnosed with mesothelioma generally have a longer survival rate when compared to men. For instance, women who undergo surgery have an average survival rate of a little over a year after treatment, whereas men who undergo surgery typically have a survival rate of around 16 months.
The type of mesothelioma, however, will affect survival rates as well. Women with epithelial tumors generally survive longer than women with nonepithelial tumors. Epithelial tumors have consistent patterns, whereas nonepithelial tumors have inconsistent, random patterns, and although patients may receive the same type of treatment, those with epithelial tumors generally live much longer.
NIH states that most women diagnosed with mesothelioma have the epitheloid subtype.

How Can Women Prove Negligence for Second-Hand Exposure

As mentioned earlier, second-hand exposure is one of the main ways that women develop mesothelioma. However, proving negligence can get a bit tricky.
Since most women who developed asbestos via second-hand exposure didn’t work at the job sites, they are ineligible for workers’ compensation. In addition, proving a second-hand exposure case can be difficult and met with many obstacles.
If you’ve been exposed to asbestos via second-hand and you were diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness, it’s important to retain the services of an experienced mesothelioma lawyer who can help you understand the legal process and what you may be entitled to. In recent years, more and more women are winning mesothelioma lawsuits for second-hand asbestos exposure, holding the manufacturing companies liable.

Talcum Powder and Mesothelioma

Talcum Powder and Mesothelioma

Talc is a harmless ingredient by itself, and most people rarely think of products such as perfumed powder being deadly. Yet, when mixed with asbestos, talcum powder can cause life-threatening diseases such as mesothelioma.
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or asbestos-related lung cancer, you may be eligible for substantial compensation. There is currently over $30 billion in asbestos trust funds, set up for those who are victims to asbestos-related diseases. Use our free Asbestos Attorney Locator Tool today to find a leading mesothelioma attorney in your area.
Talcum Powder and Mesothelioma

About Talcum Powder Dangers

Talc is a soft mineral that can be found worldwide. It’s mined frequently for use in a variety of products, including talcum powder. In some instance, mine talc contains asbestos, usually tremolite asbestos, and its still in the talc when it’s formed into consumer products. In turn, mesothelioma lawsuits continue to surface from people who’ve developed asbestos-related diseases after using talcum powder.
Although talcum powder manufacturers assert that currently, only the purest asbestos-free forms of talc go into products, there’s no way to be absolutely sure since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t screen these consumer products and allows the cosmetics industry to monitor their own products.

Asbestos Studies on Talcum Powder

According to the National Toxicology Program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, occupational studies done on talcum powders showed that when women used these powders, toxic asbestos fibers, which were mixed into talcum products prior to the late 1970s, could cause ovarian cancer. This type of cancer occurs after the asbestos fibers in the power build up and accumulate in a woman’s ovaries.
In 2014, the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health published a detailed study regarding mesothelioma victims who used talcum powder. Investigative journalist Andrew Schneider, the writer of the story, pointed out in detail that many women who passed away with mesothelioma developed the disease from asbestos after using common household products such as talcum powder. The women’s development of mesothelioma remained a mystery until the story uncovered the culprit.
Schneider wrote that scientists from three different laboratories tracked asbestos-containing talc for over a year in both mines and in consumer products. The scientists then linked asbestos to a woman’s lungs, who had passed away from mesothelioma. She had used talcum products for numerous years.
Other reports of women who used talcum powder and subsequently died followed. According to Ronald Gordon, a pathologist and a contributor to the study,
“Of course we knew that there was asbestos contaminating the talc in many cosmetic powders, but who would have ever thought that that’s the way these women were being exposed?”
At the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Gordon analyzed a deceased female’s lung tissues, which confirmed further that the cause of her mesothelioma stemmed from asbestos found in talc.
“We have traced the asbestos in the talc to the mines from which it originated, into the milled grades, into the product, and finally into the lung and lymph nodes of the users of those products, including one woman who developed mesothelioma.”
According to the study, the female mesothelioma victim frequently used a talcum powder called Cashmere Bouquet, manufactured by Colgate,which “contained identifiable asbestos fibers with the potential to be released into the air and inhaled during normal personal talcum powder application.”
In addition to mesothelioma, the study, similar to the previous occupational studies done, confirmed that not only are women who use talcum powder at risk for developing mesothelioma, but they also have a heightened risk of developing certain types of ovarian cancers.

Talcum Powder is Still Dangerous

Although talcum powder manufacturers stopped using asbestos in the products more than 30 years ago, this doesn’t necessarily mean that today’s talcum powders are safe. According to a 2006 study published by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, using talcum powder, even without any asbestos mixed in, can still be dangerous as it’s “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”
In another study performed on talc powder in 2013 by the American Cancer Society (ACS), results confirmed that using non-asbestos talcum powder “is associated with a modest 20-30 percent increase in risk of developing epithelial ovarian cancer.”
And as mentioned earlier, there isn’t a true way to know if talcum powder is asbestos-free unless the FDA begins to thoroughly inspect the products. For now, the companies that manufacture the products are still responsible for inspections. Additionally, although there’s probably products with much less asbestos in them these days, thousands of talcum powders are shipped into the United States from overseas all the time. These products are not inspected by the FDA or any other federal agency.
Unfortunately, the makers of cosmetic products aren’t required to prove that the ingredients used in the products are safe before selling them. According to a statement on the FDA website,
“Cosmetic companies have a legal responsibility for the safety and labeling of their products and ingredients, but the law does not require them to share their safety information with FDA.”

Women and Mesothelioma

Although mesothelioma generally affects men more, as asbestos was once used heavily in numerous industrial jobs that primarily had more male workers. Yet, women are four times more likely to develop mesothelioma when compared to men.
Talcum powder isn’t the only way women come into contact with asbestos. Second-hand exposure to asbestos through a spouse’s or family members’ work clothes is one of the the leading ways that women develop asbestos related illnesses. Some women have developed mesothelioma while working in schools, hospitals, and court buildings.
For instance, Gina Lees, a school teacher in England who worked around asbestos-filled drawing pins for over 30 years. Doing simple and normal, everyday school activities disrupted asbestos in the classroom, which eventually led to Lees developing mesothelioma. She died in 2015 after battling the disease heartily.

Causes of Mesothelioma Cancer

Causes of Mesothelioma Cancer

Malignant mesothelioma, similar to many other types of cancers, is caused when the body’s DNA is damaged. DNA damage occurs in mesothelioma victims when they are exposed to asbestos over a long period of time, typically at job sites that used asbestos-containing products or by using household products for extended periods that contained asbestos. In rare instances, some victims may have developed mesothelioma after short-term exposure to asbestos, but in the majority of cases, victims were exposed to large amounts asbestos for extended periods of time.
Unlike many cancers, mesothelioma does not have a large number of causes. One of its alternate names is asbestos cancer because its primary cause is long term exposure to asbestos. There is evidence, however, that asbestos is not the only cause even though it leads as the #1 reason victims get the disease.
If you or a loved one suffer from asbestos-related lung cancer or mesothelioma, you may qualify for substantial compensation. Currently, there is over $30 billion in asbestos trust funds, awaiting those who’ve been diagnosed with an asbestos illness. We invite you to use our Asbestos Attorney Locator Tool to find a top mesothelioma lawyer in your area.
Causes of Mesothelioma Cancer

Primary Cause of Mesothelioma: Asbestos Exposure

As previously mentioned, mesothelioma is primarily caused by prolonged exposure to asbestos. Prior to the 1980s, many homes, buildings, work sites, and materials were built using asbestos because of its positive properties: heat and fire resistance.
After extensive research and investigations determined that asbestos is extremely harmful to people, the majority of businesses and manufacturers stopped using it. However, this was decades after a massive amount of individuals had already been exposed. In other instances, even though it was determined that asbestos was dangerous, several businesses continued to use it as their profits would have seriously suffered had it been eliminated.
In 2009, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) confirmed the investigations and findings, and released a statement that informer the public that the primary cause of mesothelioma is asbestos exposure.
In addition, the statement reported that workers who were around asbestos on a  daily basis run the highest risk of getting mesothelioma. The most common work sites associated with using asbestos include factories, plants, steel mills, schools, asbestos mines, and asbestos processing plants. Yet, people at home are also at risk, especially if they live in an area close to a natural-occurring asbestos deposit site.
Two other studies performed in 2010 by the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation and the Cancer Institute revealed again, that the main cause of mesothelioma is via asbestos exposure. However, it usually takes a hefty amount of asbestos exposure before a victim contracts mesothelioma.
Once the fibers enter into the system, it’s almost impossible for the body to expel them. The fibers then begin to attack the mesothelium which in turn causes lesions to form. Over time, cells in the damaged tissue become cancerous and form tumors. It can then take up to 50 years for the first symptoms of mesothelioma to surface.

How Asbestos Attacks the Body

People are exposed to asbestos by inhaling the fine fibers that the mineral produces. These fibers then get lodged in the lungs. Asbestos can also be unknowingly swallowed, and the fibers make their way down to the abdominal area. Unfortunately, once asbestos fibers are in the body, as previously mentioned, it’s almost impossible to remove them all. As time moves on, these fibers can cause significant damage to the body, which can lead to mesothelioma. Although scientists and physicians are still trying to determine exactly why asbestos fibers cause cancer, there are several theories that are currently being researched:
  • Changes in Genetics: Asbestos can disrupt mesothelial cells, which are naturally-occurring cells in the body. This in turn hinders the functions of the cells, which can lead to cancer.
  • Inflammation of Cells: When the body’s cells become irritated, inflammation and scarring occur. Consequently, it leads to cell damage and cancer.
  • Free Radicals: Asbestos produces free radicals in the body. Once this happens, DNA can become damaged, which leads to cancer.
  • Oncoproteins Growth: When asbestos is in the body, cells begin producing oncoproteins. Oncoproteins hinders normal cell production, which can consequently lead to cancer.

Secondary Cause of Mesothelioma: Drug Interactions

Some mesothelioma patients have not been exposed to asbestos. Researchers have found links between a drug called Thorotrast and mesothelioma.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), patients administered the drug are at an elevated risk of developing lung carcinoma and mesothelioma.
Thorotrast is a mixture of particles that was used primarily in the 1930s and 1940s when performing x-ray imaging. It helped physician produce high quality images, yet unfortunately, the particles remain in the human body.
In addition, Simian Virus 40 (SV40), has been linked to mesothelioma. SV40 is a virus that was found in a few species of monkeys and later found in Polio vaccinations.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 90 million Americans received a Polio vaccination between 1955 through 1963. It was during this time period that the Polio vaccine was contaminated with SV40.
Although humans typically aren’t susceptible to mesothelioma after getting the vaccine, studies have shown that at least 40 patients with mesothelioma also have traces of SV40. More research needs to be done in order to understand how this happens.


Another possible cause of mesothelioma is exposure to erionite. Though much less common than asbestos exposure, erionite is similar to asbestos in that both are naturally-occurring minerals that are harmful when ingested or inhaled.
Furthermore, erionite has been shown to mimic the same process of development as asbestos-related cancers, taking up to 50 years for the first symptoms to appear.
The biggest difference, however, is that erionite is inhaled and ingested primarily through the environment and not in the workplace.
Studies have also shown that erionite poses a higher risk of victims developing mesothelioma and other types of lung cancers when compared to asbestos. Mesothelioma also develops more quickly and with less exposure to erionite as opposed to asbestos.
Erionite can be sometimes found in volcanic ashes that have been modified via weather changes and water. In some rare instances, erionite has been found in water purification systems and softeners. Usually however, erionite is found in natural deposit sites.
There are known erionite deposits throughout the world, including:
  • Russia
  • Japan
  • Germany
  • Turkey
  • Kenya
  • Italy
In the United States, erionite deposits can be found in:
  • North Dakota
  • Wyoming
  • Arizona
  • Oregon
  • Nevada
  • California
  • Utah
Turkey yields the highest amount of erionite. In fact, in the village of Tuzkoy, there is an extremely high amount of malignant mesothelioma victims because of the naturally-occurring yet excessive amount of erionite deposits surrounding the area. Several of the village people use erionite as food storage which further exposes them to risk.
In the United States, scientists are still studying the adverse effects of erionite, particularly in North Dakota. When compared to asbestos, there currently is little information regarding the health risks of erionite.


Although extremely rare, some experts have suggested that certain people may be predisposed genetically to mesothelioma.
In fact, a research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NHI) found a specific mutation gene called the BAP1, that makes the carriers of the gene at great risk for developing both mesothelioma and melanoma of the eyes. These people are also at a much higher risk of developing an asbestos-related disease if they are ever exposed to the mineral.
In addition, people with BAP1 are also at risk for developing different kinds of cancers such as breast, ovarian, pancreatic, and renal.
Regardless of the way someone contracts mesothelioma, the symptoms are almost always the same. Keep in mind, though, that some people may exhibit more symptoms than others, and it typically takes decades for the even the most common symptoms of mesothelioma to surface.

Typical symptoms include:

  • Chest pain that can fluctuate from minor to severe
  • Fluid buildup in the lungs
  • Difficulty swallowing and pain when attempting to swallow
  • Overwhelming sense of fatigue and lethargy
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Dyspnea (shortness of breath)
  • Dry coughing, wheezing, and/or hacking
  • Pleural effusions

Less Common but More Serious Symptoms

  • Lung Collapsing
  • Coughing up blood
  • Nerve damage in the arms
  • Blood clots on the hands and arms
  • Horner’s Syndrome (rare condition that affects the nerves in the eyes and face)

Mesothelioma Cancer Symptoms Guide

Mesothelioma Cancer Symptoms Guide

Symptoms and warning signs of malignant mesothelioma are often much more difficult to notice because in most cases, they don’t begin to show until several decades after asbestos exposure. When symptoms do finally appear, they are often extremely mild in the beginning and most people haven’t a clue that these are actually warning signs of a dire medical issue. When early symptoms do develop, people will often mistake the warning signs for a cold, flu, or other less severe and common illnesses. It’s imperative though, to always listen to your body. If you’ve ever worked around asbestos or used products containing asbestos, do not ignore even the slightest hint of a cold. You should seek medical assistance immediately.
If you or a loved have asbestos-related lung cancer or mesothelioma, you may be eligible for a large amount of compensation. Currently, there is over $30 billion in asbestos trust funds, set up for those who have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness. Use our free Asbestos Attorney Locator Tool to find a top mesothelioma attorney in your area.

Beware: Mesothelioma Can Mimic the Common Cold

The majority of victims do not seek help even after the first symptoms of mesothelioma arrive because the ailments, as previously stated, closely mimic common respiratory illnesses. To complicate matters even worse, pleural mesothelioma victims are prone to pneumonia. Yet, instead of connecting the pneumonia to mesothelioma, the victim is often times treated for the pneumonia only.
 In addition to cold and/or flu-like symptoms, some of the earliest indications and warning signs of mesothelioma cancer are lethargy, coughing, body aches, and shortness of breath. As previously mentioned, these symptoms are so similar to colds and flus that many victims still continue to ignore the early warning signs. Keep in mind that these symptoms apply to all forms of mesothelioma, but additional symptoms and warning signs may develop as well, depending upon the type of mesothelioma you have.

Symptoms of Pleural Mesothelioma

Since lung mesothelioma affects the chest area and respiratory system, many of the symptoms of pleural mesothelioma will be in that area of the body. Hacking, dry coughs, wheezing, chest pain, the inability to fully expand the chest, and dyspnea are some of the most common warning signs and evidence of pleural mesothelioma. In addition, close to 60% of mesothelioma victims have complained of back pain, usually in the lower area of the back. Sometimes the pain will spread from the chest into the shoulder areas.
Pleural plaques are another common sign of pleural mesothelioma, but usually will go undetected by the victim. Imaging machines almost always need to be used to see pleural plaques. Pleural plaques appear in clusters scattered throughout the victim’s chest area, ranging in sizes up to 6 cm and more.
In severe cases of pleural mesothelioma, victims may experience:
  • Tumor masses
  • A lung collapsing
  • Coughing up blood
  • Blood clots in the veins
  • Blood clots in the lung’s arteries (pulmonary emboli)
  • Jaundice
  • Ascites
  • Extreme swelling in the face and arms
  • Dysphagia (difficulty with swallowing)

Symptoms of Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Peritoneal mesothelioma affects the cells walls that line the abdomen, also known as the mesothelium. The mesothelium contains two layers of cells that cover and protect the body’s internal organs. When the cells around the abdomen are affected, they become abnormal, multiply, and become cancerous. When asbestos fibers are ingested or inhaled, they can make their way down to the peritoneum.
Most cases of peritoneal mesothelioma is caused by working at a job site that was at one time associated with high amounts of asbestos use. In addition, peritoneal mesothelioma is a rare form of mesothelioma, affecting under 2 people per million in the United States each year.
Physician will normally suspect peritoneal mesothelioma when patients complain of the most common symptoms (see symptoms below). A series of tests and scans are usually performed before an accurate diagnosis is made.
The only sure way to determine if a victim is suffering from peritoneal mesothelioma is through fluid testing. A needle is used to withdraw fluid via the abdominal area. The fluid is then sent off to diagnostics for tests. If malignant cells are found, further testing will follow, which is necessary in order to confirm the cells are malignant.
  • Abdominal Pain and Swelling
  • Fluid buildup up in the abdominal area
  • Fatigue and lethargy
  • Lumps of tissue clumped together in the abdominal area (usually under the skin)
  • Unusual weight loss
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty with breathing
  • Cachexia (loss of appetite and physical weakness)
  • Hernias
  • Anemia
  • Night sweats
  • Changes in bowel movements: bouts of constipation and/or diarrhea

Symptoms of Pericardial Mesothelioma

Pericardial mesothelioma affects the lining of the heart and is currently the most rare form of mesothelioma. How asbestos fibers reach the lining of the heart is still unknown, but scientists have stated that since the fibers are so small, there is a chance they go into the body’s bloodstream and then make their to the heart lining. In addition, mesothelioma in other areas, such as pleural mesothelioma, can eventually grow to a point where it reaches the pericardial area.
Victims of pericardial mesothelioma most often have a poor prognosis. Physicians will usually look for treatments as a means to reduce pressure and relieve pain, such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy, instead of as way to remove the cancer. Detailed diagnostic and biopsy testing sessions are usually performed before an accurate diagnosis can be made.
  • Chest pain
  • Wheezing
  • Thickening of the pericardium
  • Feeling tired and sluggish
  • Fever

Testicular and Ovarian Mesothelioma

If males are suffering from testicular mesothelioma, tumors will be present in the testicles, and females suffering from ovarian mesothelioma will have ovarian tumors and cysts. More research is still needed on these two forms of mesothelioma in order to get a more accurate description of additional symptoms. However, as science continues to progress, more information regarding these types of mesothelioma cancers will become available.
Currently, scientists have a few theories on how victims develop testicular mesothelioma. One theory suggests that cancerous growth from other areas of the body somehow amass to a point in which the testicles are affected. Another theory suggests that nodules on the serosal surface of the testicles eventually develop into mesothelioma. The nodules, typically firm and either yellow or white in color, will thicken over time, which causes abnormal cells to quickly grow and multiply.
Although testicular and ovarian mesothelioma cancer is extremely rare, the life expectancy of victims is extremely grim. On average, victims are often told that life expectancy is less than two years.

Timespan Before Mesothelioma Symptoms Arrive

As aforementioned, it usually takes quite some time before the first symptoms of mesothelioma emerge. Physicians state that most often it takes anywhere from 30 to 50 years after the exposure of asbestos for the first mesothelioma symptoms to appear. This goes for all types of mesothelioma, although symptoms for peritoneal mesothelioma tend to show up slightly sooner, at anywhere from 20 to 30 years. If you’ve been exposed to asbestos or think you’ve been exposed, it’s imperative that you not only inform your doctor, but also have regular health check-ups.
In a study performed by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, it was determined that the average period before mesothelioma detection is around 32 years. However, since the symptoms are mild at first, most victims don’t get diagnosed until much later, when the disease has progressed and the symptoms have become much worse.

When to See Your Doctor

Most mesothelioma victims wait until they begin having severe symptoms before consulting with a physician. As previously mentioned, however,  it’s extremely important to make an appointment and have a check-up as soon as possible if you’ve been exposed to asbestos. Letting your doctor know that you’ve been exposed can help you get a diagnosis more quickly and start mesothelioma treatments.
It’s also important to remember that not all victims will experience the same symptoms. While some victims may only exhibit a few of the common symptoms, others may experience the full range of symptoms. Regardless, even the first hint of a cold or respiratory illness should be considered serious by anyone who has been exposed to asbestos.

Where to Get Medical Help

When dealing with an asbestos-related illness, it’s important to seek medical help from doctors and clinics who specialize in these forms of cancers. Mesothelioma is considered a new disease, but several physicians possess in-depth training and research on asbestos-related illnesses. In addition, medical centers backed by National Cancer Institute (NCI) are considered the forefront in dealing with all types of cancers, including malignant mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer, and more. It’s recommended that victims of asbestos diseases seek treatment at a NCI-designated medical facility.