Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that forms in the thin layer of tissue that covers many organ cells. Approximately 3,000 people are diagnosed with the disease in Kentucky and across the United States each year. Most mesothelioma cases occur in the lining of the mesothelium in the lungs. The development of mesothelioma has been linked to the inhalation of asbestos fibers.
There are three main types of mesothelioma cells: biphasic, epithelioid and sarcomatoid. Of the three, sarcomatoid is the rarest and accounts for 7 to 20 percent of mesothelioma cases. The cells have an elongated appearance and may form a fibrous pattern within the tumor. The tumors typically present as lesions or nodules rather than a mass. Symptoms typically include shortness of breath, persistent cough, chronic fatigue, hoarseness and a persistent cough.
Sarcomatoid mesothelioma often is initially misdiagnosed because the beginning stages of the tumors resemble other malignant and benign conditions. In order to receive a proper diagnosis, doctors must biopsy a sample of the tumor. Unfortunately, under a microscope, sarcomatoid mesothelioma cells may resemble other sarcoma tumors. This often leads to the condition being mistreated or misdiagnosed until tumors have grown significantly. Sarcomatoid mesothelioma is the most difficult form of mesothelioma to treat as it is resistant to many cancer therapies. Surgery and chemotherapy are the first treatment therapies that doctors consider.
Asbestos was a common material used for insulation and as a fire retardant in older buildings. Firefighters, demolition workers, construction workers, plumbers and electricians who have worked on older buildings are at the greatest risk of developing mesothelioma. Many companies were negligent of the safety of their employees and may be responsible for the medical care of those who receive a cancer diagnosis of mesothelioma. A lawyer could help a family file a wrongful death suit if their loved one passed away from mesothelioma or help a patient currently affected by the condition receive compensation.