If you were recently diagnosed with mesothelioma, you probably have a lot of questions, and that’s understandable. As you take steps to learn about your condition, keep in mind that your oncologist will always be your best source of knowledge. When answering your questions, your oncologist can take into account your specific circumstances and provide you with individualized support. While this applies to all aspects of a mesothelioma diagnosis, it is especially important when discussing your treatment options and prognosis, as every patient’s situation is different.
At Moffitt Cancer Center, we encourage our patients to learn as much as they can about their condition. Toward that end, the specialists in our Thoracic Oncology Program have compiled answers to some frequently asked questions (FAQs). By reading these articles, you can learn about the types and stages of mesothelioma, as well as the latest treatment options and supportive care services. If you’d like, you can use this information as a starting point for a one-on-one discussion with your oncologist.
- How do you know if you have mesothelioma?
One of the primary factors that might make you wonder if you have mesothelioma is if you've worked with asbestos or lived with someone who has. General mesothelioma symptoms include fever, loss of appetite, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, excessive sweating and blood clots. However, these symptoms make mesothelioma difficult to detect because they can be misdiagnosed as other conditions, such as an upper respiratory infection, pneumonia, irritable bowel syndrome or a hernia.
- What are the possible side effects of mesothelioma treatment?
As with any cancer therapy, the side effects of mesothelioma treatment can vary among patients. In general, as your body responds to your treatment, you can expect to experience some physical, mental and emotional changes. By learning about the potential side effects before you begin treatment, as well as the supportive care services that are available to you, you can better prepare yourself for the important journey that lies ahead.
- What are the most common occupations at risk for mesothelioma?
The main cause of mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos, which was widely used as a form of insulation before the 1980s, when researchers first discovered its negative health effects. Prior to that time, workers in certain occupations often handled raw asbestos or asbestos-containing products, which increased their risk of developing mesothelioma.
- How quickly can mesothelioma spread?
Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer that can spread from its site of origin in the lining of the lungs, abdomen or heart to nearby tissues and organs. Additionally, if the cancer enters the lymphatic system or bloodstream, it can potentially reach distant areas of the body. The rate of mesothelioma progression can be influenced by several factors, including the stage of the cancer and the type of cells comprising the tumor.
At Moffitt, we treat all types and stages of mesothelioma. Our specialists collaboratively review each patient’s case and create a highly tailored treatment plan to meet the patient’s specific needs. We offer a full range of the latest treatment options, including groundbreaking clinical trials, which provide our patients with unique opportunities to be among the first to benefit from the latest breakthroughs in mesothelioma treatment. We are committed to helping each patient achieve the best possible outcome and quality of life.
If you have questions about mesothelioma that are not answered here, we encourage you to reach out to an oncologist in our Thoracic Oncology Program. To request an appointment, call 1-888-663-3488 or complete our new patient registration form online.