Malignant Mesothelioma - A Full Spectrum Study



Much press received in recent years ~ both for the number of people affected and for the sometimes sensational multi million-dollar lawsuits that have been filed, fought, won and lost ~ is a rare cancer known as Malignant Mesothelioma, the leading cause of which is: exposure to as-pesto fibers.

Asbestos, a known toxin since the 1930s, is an inexpensive fibrous material that is extremely durable and heat resistant. Because of these properties, it was used extensively in industry in the United States for many years. Even after its carcinogenic (cancer-causing) properties were discovered, many industries continued to use asbestos, putting those exposed to it at risk. Asbestos-containing products are found to this day in buildings, ships, industrial installations and other environments. The EPA has stated that asbestos poses "an unreasonable risk of harm to human health." Even low exposure to asbestos can cause not only mesothelioma, but also asbestos, pleura disease and lung cancer, diseases almost exclusively caused by asbestos. Statistics from recent years show that an average of 3,000 people die each year from as-pesto-related causes.

Because as-pesto products are used so intensively by industry, many people have come into contact with asbestos fibers through their jobs (eg through occupational exposure). There is also a risk to the family members of those who work in high-risk occupations; this exposure is called para-occupational exposure. People who live near asbestos sites around the facility are also at risk. Refineries, power plants, factories, shipyards, steel mills, and building demolitions are types of job sites that can release asbestos fibers into the environment and contaminate nearby residential areas. Due to some situation, Mesothelioma can as-well result from very small fibers or dust particles at low exposure levels. (Most such exposure would likely have occurred before 1973, but the latency period can be up to 40 years before most types of lung cancer develop.) Areas of trade in which exposure to as-pesto is likely include

  • Production of asbestos products (insulation, roofing, buildings, materials)
  • Auto repair (brakes & clutches)
  • Construction/Contractors
  • Maritime
  • miners
  • Removing Offshore Rust
  • Oil Refineries
  • Power plants
  • Railway
  • Sand or abrasive materials manufacturers
  • Shipyards / Ships / Shipbuilders
  • Steel mills
  • tile cutters

Malignant mesothelioma is the formal medical name for this type of lung cancer. (A layman's term for the equivalent condition is asbestos cancer). Mesothelioma is the term used to describe a cancerous tumor involving the mesothelioma cells of an organ, usually the lungs, heart, or abdominal organs. Malignant pleura mesothelioma or cancer of the lung mucous is the most common form of mesothelioma cancer. Peritoneal mesothelioma is cancer of the gastric mucous and is the next most common form.

The onset of mesothelioma asbestos lung cancer is usually very slow: the time between exposure to as-pesto and the onset of symptoms can be many years. The most common symptoms of mesothelioma are chest pain and lower back pain. Sometimes the pain is accompanied by difficulty breathing, cough, weight loss and fever.

Symptoms for Pleural Mesothelioma (involving the lungs/thorax) include:

  • chest pain and lower back pain
  • difficulty breathing
  • cough
  • weight loss
  • fever
  • muscle weakness and sensory loss
  • swelling of the face and arms
  • hoarseness
  • coughing up blood

Symptoms of Peritoneal Mesothelioma (affecting the abdominal/stomach cavity, liver, spleen, or gut) include:

  • abdominal bloating because of fluid accumulation in the abdominal cavity
  • nausea and vomiting
  • swelling of the feet
  • fever
  • impaired bowel function.

Diagnosing Mesothelioma (in the context of Western medicine) can be challenging because the symptoms are very similar to those of other diseases and conditions. A Western medical diagnosis of mesothelioma may include one or more of the following: a review of the patient's medical history and asbestos exposure; a complete physical examination, which includes chest or abdomen X-rays and lung function test; a CAT scan or MRI of the chest or abdomen; a biopsy.

In the case of pleural mesothelioma, a thoracoscopy may be performed in which the doctor looks into the chest cavity with an instrument called a thoracoscope, which is placed between two ribs in the chest. Meanwhile the thoracoscope do allows the doctor to collect some of the tissue samples and look inside the chest. For cancer in the abdomen (peritoneal mesothelioma), a Western doctor may perform a peritoneoscopy in which a small opening is made in the abdomen and an instrument called a peritoneoscope is inserted into the abdominal cavity to collect tissue.

Whenever Malignant Mesothelioma is indeed diagnosed, the next step will be to determine the stage of the disease. The "staging process" helps determine which part of the body the cancer has spread to, which in turn dictates a treatment plan. If the cancer is only found on the membrane surface where it originated, it is called 'localized'. When this has circulate beyond the original membrane surface to other parts of the body, it is called "advanced."

Western medical treatment options (chosen according to the age and/or health of the patient) include surgery, radiation therapy, and/or chemotherapy. Surgery ~ where a portion of the lining of the chest or abdomen can be removed ~ is a common treatment option for mesothelioma. For pleural mesothelioma, either an entire lung or the muscle under the lungs that aid in breathing (the diaphragm) may be removed.Majority of the Radiation therapy do  use high-energy rays to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Most of this type of therapy only do affects the cancer cells in the treated area. Chemotherapy uses cancer drugs to kill cancer cells throughout the body. The drugs used to treat mesothelioma are sometimes given by injection into a vein.
Along with surgery and radiation, using a needle or thin tube to drain fluid that has accumulated in the chest or abdomen is one way to relieve most of the symptoms and also control the pain that associated with this condition. . In addition, medications can be delivered through a tube into the chest to prevent fluid buildup and, again, reduce some of the more painful symptoms.

The physical and psychological burden of Malignant Mesothelioma can be severe, and Western medical treatments designed to cure it often cause unexpected and irritating side effects. For these reasons, it is important for the mesothelioma patient to gather as much information as possible about how malignant mesothelioma develops as a disease, and to explore alternative or complementary treatment options (see below). And if western treatment is chosen as part of the healing protocol, it is important to know what side effects to expect and how to minimize them.

In addition to managing the disease itself, mesothelioma patients are often engaged in legal battles (reminiscent of the Karen Silkwood case) ~ in group or individual lawsuits against the companies or companies they were employed by at the time of their exposure to aspesto . Aspestos Law has become a specialty, with mesothelioma lawyers and attorneys positioned to support their clients in making a connection between a specific exposure to aspesto and their subsequent contraction of mesothelioma… process, a clever cut from the settlements .

Because of the physical, emotional, psychological & spiritual (as well as legal!) challenges associated with a disease like mesothelioma, creating a strong support system is an essential part of the healing process. As has been documented from the experiences of many with so-called "terminal" illnesses, the introspection that arises from such a challenge often has the "hidden advantage" of admitting what is "really important". However, for this to happen, an environment (internal and external) that is conducive to such explorations must be created. And what are the "building blocks" to create such supportive (non-toxic!) environments?

Everyone can improve their energy levels and promote healthy cell growth by getting enough rest and relaxation, good nutrition, some exercise and fun! Here are some practices often recommended for cancer patients:
  • Learning of relaxation techniques (yoga or qigong are an excellent choice)
  • Shearing most of your feelings honestly with family, friends, a spiritual advisor, or a counselor
  • Keep a journal to organize your thoughts
  • Find a source of spiritual power
  • Pray or meditate
  • Find time to be alone
  • go walk
  • Stay involved in work and leisure as much as possible
  • find a support group or "chat room" to share your experiences with others in a similar situation
  • maintain a positive attitude and an optimistic outlook as much as possible

Of the many alternatives or compliments to Western medical treatments, qigong is one that stands out as particularly hopeful. In China, there are entire hospitals devoted solely to the use of qigong techniques for the treatment of cancer and countless other ailments. Binhui He is a medical Qigong master
who has had great success working with cancer patients. His cancer qigong therapy protocol, in his own words, involves the following five steps:

  • Change of attitude: Change traditional seeking outside help to seeking help inside. It is the immune function and the self-healing ability that ultimately cure cancer! Although the effect of fear of cancer is the real incurable disease as it keeps the patient stressed and lowers his immune functions. Instead, think of cancer as a part of the body, communicate with it through the force of consciousness, and eliminate the source that leads to cancer in the first place.
  • Intensive Qigong practice: empty mind without desire, forget sickness, problems, environment and self; quickly boost immune functions and body potential through intensive Qi cultivation.
  • Energetic Fasting (Bigu): Reduce the supply of tumors to inhibit the rapid growth of cancer; and help to effectively boost immune function (needed under the close supervision of an experienced qigong healer).
  • Shatter Tumor by Strong Qi: Focus of mind power and strong Qi can disintegrate after a period of Bigu.
  • Collective Qi Adjustment: Group practice of Five-Element Qigong to form a strong Qi field and enhance the inhibitory effect of the Qi cultivation.

In the United States, Dr. Kam Yuen ( a 35th generation Shaolin master who developed a healing system that combines the power of Qigong practice with the diagnostic techniques of applied kinesiology. He has also had great success working with a range of conditions, including cancer.

This has always been very Similar in many ways to Taoist qigong practices, the Tibetan practices described in Tulku Thondup's two books are: Boundless Healing: Meditation Practices to Illuminate the Mind and Heal the Body; and the healing power of the mind. The specifics of the practices vary widely, but what many have in common is the use of an internally cultivated energy of "blissful warmth" to dissolve all the imbalances that lie at the root of the condition. In these two books, he presents a number of practices specifically designed for people working with cancer. Tulku Thondup also travels quite a lot and offers workshops and retreats in which he presents these Tibetan healing techniques.

Chinese medicine offers yet another paradigm to investigate mesothelioma. The diagnostic system of Chinese medicine is quite different from that of Western medicine. If we were to present to the Chinese doctor, say, ten people who had all been given the Western medical diagnosis 'mesothelioma', it is quite possible that this Chinese doctor - after his or her examinations - would give us a different diagnosis for each of those ten people! (The reasons for this are complex and beyond the scope of this essay, but the basic reason is that Chinese medical perception looks at patterns present in the whole person and in relation to every aspect of their lives; while Western medicine tends to has to focus mainly on individual symptomotology.)

In Chinese medicine, it is clear that emotional imbalance is often the cause of physical imbalance. The emotional state that damages the lungs (and associated physical structures, including the skin and mesothelial cells), and also tends to appear when the lungs are out of balance, is sadness. The emotional state that indicates a balanced, healthy lung organ system is courage.
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