Mesothelioma Pain Management
Malignant mesothelioma is a disease that typically has no symptoms early in the disease process. In many cases, the asbestos exposure that caused the disease could have occurred as many as 30 to 60 years earlier. Mesothelioma starts to develop when asbestos fibers become imbedded in the lung and scar tissue forms around the asbestos fibers. But the patient does not detect the formation of the scar tissue, as it causes no perceptible pain.
As the fibrous scar tissue accumulates in large quantities and the cancerous tumors start to grow in the mesothelium, large amounts of fluid start to gather. This excess fluid known as a pleural effusion causes much of the pain associated with mesothelioma. Chest pain due to pressure and pain during cough are directly caused by the fluid accumulation.
The growth of the tumors can also cause pain as the tumors push against the nerves and other organs. When a mesothelioma patient experiences this pain, he or she should inform a doctor. There is absolutely no need to endure pain when there are remedies available to make the patient more comfortable.
Certain cancer treatments may help to relieve the pain. In some cases tumors can be removed or progression slowed. Also, the fluid can be drained to help eliminate the pressure caused by the accumulation. In addition to direct treatment for cancerous tumors, there are also specific pain management tools that may prove useful. The patient should ask the doctor about directly treating the pain.
[Page updated January 2010]