Menampilkan postingan dari Februari, 2011

Mesothelioma Metastasis

The term "metastatic cancer" refers to any form of cancer that has spread from its original location to other parts of the body. Cancer can spread through the lymph nodes or through the blood stream. Doctors have even found that some cancers are predictable as far as the organs to which they will metastasize. In some instances, this predictability can guide doctors and help keep an eye on certain parts of the body that are susceptible to tumors.
Mesothelioma Progression Because mesothelioma is not generally diagnosed until its later stages (usually Stage III or IV), metastatic disease is common at the time of diagnosis. Mesothelioma metastasis, however, can also occur as the disease continues to progress. Unlike many other cancers, mesothelioma progression does not generally impact the bones or brain, but normally affects the organs around the lungs on the side of the body in which the original tumor was found. This is known in the medical field as a "local spread."

Mesothelioma Staging

For many decades, doctors have been addressing the seriousness of particular cancers in terms of stages. Throughout the years, various staging systems have been developed to assist cancer doctors in determining diagnosis and the best form of treatment for the individual patient.
There are three popular mesothelioma staging systems used to examine the extent of pleural mesothelioma. Since other forms of mesothelioma are even less common than the occurrence of pleural mesothelioma, there currently are no formal staging systems for other forms of this aggressive cancer (although they can be applied if desired). Each of the three different staging systems measure various factors of malignant mesothelioma, including the extent of the tumor (primary mass), the metastasis (spreading), and the involvement of the lymph nodes.
The knowledge of what particular stage a patient is in after they are diagnosed with mesothelioma greatly affects what treatment options are recommended by doctors. We offe…

Malignant Mesothelioma Types

In biological terms, malignant mesothelioma is divided into three types: epithelial, sarcomatoid and biphasic. These classifications pertain to the shape and structure of the cancer cells. Diagram of Malignant Mesothelioma Types. Between 50 to 70 percent of malignant mesothelioma cases are epithelial, approximately 20 to 35 percent are biphasic, and 7 to 20 percent are sarcomatoid. Epithelial cells are marked by their well-defined and uniform shape and can closely resemble cells of another form of cancer known as adenocarcinoma. Sarcomatoid cells display an elongated spindle shape, which tend to be irregular rather than uniform in shape, and the cells often overlap one another. Cells of the biphasic variety contain both epithelial and sarcomatoid cells, which form in groups of like cells rather than displaying a uniform mixture. Diagnosing what type of malignant mesothelioma a patient has can be challenging. One contributing factor is that it can be difficult to differentiate mesoth…

Malignant Mesothelioma Treatment

Regardless of the type of malignant mesothelioma a patient has, treatment options are available for all mesothelioma patients, though a patient’s response to different treatments will vary. The stage , or level of maturity of the cancer, as well as the patient’s general health are greatly considered when a doctor creates a treatment plan. 
Common curative treatments, or treatments designed to remove cancer cells and cure the disease, for mesothelioma patients include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Chemotherapy and radiation treatments aim to kill cancerous cells and stop rapid cell division and growth. Though harmful cells are targeted, the treatments can also affect healthy cells. Patients may experience side effects such as nausea throughout treatment. Palliative treatments, designed to increase a patient’s comfort and ease pain, may also be recommended. Patients may also wish to explore experimental treatments offered in the studies testing up-and-coming drugs or procedures ca…

Malignant Mesothelioma Symptoms

Patients with malignant mesothelioma generally do not display any symptoms until 20 to 50 years after exposure to asbestos occurs. This is due to the long latency period (the amount of time it takes for a patient to demonstrate symptoms after initial exposure to a disease-causing agent) associated with mesothelioma. The symptoms of mesothelioma are very general and often resemble less serious conditions, which can make diagnosis difficult. 
Symptoms vary depending on the type of mesothelioma a patient has, but the most common symptoms expressed by pleural mesothelioma patients include shortness of breath, chest pain and persistent cough. Peritoneal mesothelioma patients may display symptoms such as abdominal swelling, changes in bowel movement and development of lumps under the skin on the abdomen. Patients with pericardial mesothelioma may experience heart palpitations, chest pain, difficulty breathing and fever or night sweats. Testicular mesothelioma patients may notice testicular l…

Mesothelioma Types

Mesothelioma is caused by long-term, repeated exposure to asbestos fibers. The disease is generally found in four different forms: pleural, peritoneal, pericardial, and testicular. In each case, the cancer develops in mesothelial cells, which form the membranous linings that surround and protect organs. The different names for each type of mesothelioma refer to the point of origin of the cancer. 
Mesothelial membranes are made up of two different layers, called the parietal and visceral layers. Parietal layers are outer layers, and these typically cover large areas such as the chest cavity (in the case of pleural and pericardial membranes) and the abdominal cavity (as in the case of peritoneal membranes). Visceral layers are those that cover organs such as the lungs and heart. Mesothelioma develops in these membranes when asbestos fibers become trapped in the spaces between mesothelial cells. 
Mesothelioma is a particularly aggressive type of asbestos cancer, and is highly resistant …

Mesothelioma Treatment

After diagnosis, patients and their loved ones are often anxious to do everything possible to fight mesothelioma. This may involve several different treatment options. The most common treatments mesothelioma patients utilize include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.  Though a cure for mesothelioma does not currently exist, many patients undergo several treatments for relief from symptoms to improve the quality of life. Patients may also experience relief through experimental options and treatments available through clinical trials and alternative therapies offers additional information about mesothelioma treatment options, top doctors and cancer centers nationwide through a complimentary informational packet. Click here to receive your copy and learn more about symptoms, causes and support resources for mesothelioma patients.

Mesothelioma Symptoms

Diagnosis can be difficult because symptoms often resemble more common illnesses and are non-specific. Patients are often unaware of the severity of their condition until they are diagnosed with mesothelioma. A patient with peritoneal mesothelioma may express symptoms such as a persistent dry or raspy cough, difficulty breathing and swallowing, night sweats and fever, among others. 
Pericardial mesothelioma patients may complain of swelling or pain in the abdomen, fatigue, nausea, night sweats or the appearance of lumps under the skin on the abdomen. A patient with pericardial mesothelioma may experience heart palpitations or irregular heartbeat, chest pain, difficult breathing, fever and fatigue. Testicular mesothelioma symptoms have been confined to the appearance of testicular lumps. 

Mesothelioma Disease

When a patient learns of a mesothelioma diagnosis, confusion is often one of the first emotions experienced. What exactly is mesothelioma? Is it a disease? A virus? Mesothelioma is actually a rare type of cancer. When people refer to mesothelioma disease, they are actually referring to mesothelioma cancer. Mesothelioma develops in the mesothelium, the membrane that surrounds several body cavities. The mesothelium is comprised of mesothelial cells, which become abnormal and divide uncontrollably if mesothelioma is present.     Four different types of mesothelioma exist. Pleural mesothelioma is the most common form of the cancer and develops in the lining of the lungs, known as the pleura. Peritoneal mesothelioma affects the lining of the abdomen, known as the peritoneum. Pericardial mesothelioma is very rare, as approximately 200 cases have been reported internationally. Pericardial mesothelioma develops in the pericardium, the membrane that surrounds the heart and protects the organ. …

How Do I Know if I Have Genital Warts?

Is this topic for you? This topic provides information about the human papillomavirus (HPV), which causes genital warts and can also cause cervical cancer. If you are looking for information about cervical cell changes or cervical cancer, see the topics Abnormal Pap Test or Cervical Cancer. What is human papillomavirus (HPV)? Human papillomavirus (HPV) is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). It is a virus that can be spread through skin-to-skin contact. There are many different types of HPV. Some types cause genital warts and are called low-risk, and some types can lead to cervical cancer and are called high-risk. There is no known cure for HPV, but there is a vaccine that can protect against some types of the virus.
What are genital warts? For men, genital warts may appear around the anus, on the shaft of the penis, or on the scrotum. For women, genital warts may appear around the anus, on the vulva, in the …

What You Need to Know About the HPV Vaccine, and Why It's Controversial

Almost everyone carries the human papillomavirus (HPV), and it's usually pretty harmless. But a few strains are the main cause of cervical cancer. Gardasil, the HPV vaccine approved by the FDA in 2006, guards against two of these strains, plus two other strains that are responsible for most genital warts.

Since most adults have already been exposed to HPV, the vaccine is recommended for girls who haven't become sexually active yet. (The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends vaccination at age 11 or 12, but Gardasil is approved for girls as young as 9.)
So far, so good. But the introduction of this new vaccine has stirred up a small fuss.

The controversy
Perhaps the main fear of the vaccine's opponents is that it might encourage adolescent promiscuity.

H. Hunter Handsfield, MD, a clinical professor of medicine at the University of Washington and a nationally recognized STD expert, believes most parents are all for it, however. "It can prevent cancer…

Cervical Cancer

Is this topic for you? This topic talks about the testing, diagnosis, and treatment of cervical cancer. For general information about abnormal Pap test results, see the topic Abnormal Pap Test. What is cervical cancer? Cervical cancer occurs when abnormal cells on the cervix grow out of control. The cervix is the lower part of the uterus that opens into the vagina. Cervical cancer can often be cured when it’s found early. It is usually found at a very early stage through a Pap test. What causes cervical cancer? Most cervical cancer is caused by a virus called human papillomavirus, or HPV. You can get HPV by having sexual contact with someone who has it. There are many types of the HPV virus. Not all types of HPV cause cervical cancer. Some of them cause genital warts, but other types may not cause any symptoms. You can have HPV for years and not know it. It stays in your body and can lead to cervical cancer years after…

How to Weigh Your Breast Cancer Risk Factors

Not all breast cancer risks factors have the same influence.

• "A family history will still drive [risk] much more powerfully than other reproductive risk factors—like having no children, having few children, or having children late," says Angela R. Bradbury, MD, director of the Margaret Dyson Family Risk Assessment Program at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia.

• Having a first-degree relative such as a mother, sister, or daughter with a breast cancer history boosts your risk much more than if a cousin or more distant relative has had it—particularly if the diagnosis came before the age of 50 or your family’s background is Ashkenazi Jewish.

• Then there are the so-called breast cancer genes, BRCA-1 and BRCA-2. Mutations in these genes raise your risk even higher than the family connection alone. If you have relatives with breast cancer, you might be a candidate for BRCA testing or for other modifications to your screening for the disease. Make an appointment to talk throu…

What Causes Breast Cancer?

No one knows very much about why breast cancer happens, except that it likely starts in our genes. "Cancer in general is a disease of aging, and breast cancer is probably caused by an error in gene replication—the older we get, the more error prone we get," says Ramona F. Swaby, MD, a medical oncologist specializing in breast cancer at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. Indeed, a woman’s chance of getting breast cancer doesn’t rise to the terrifying one in eight until she’s reached 85 years of age. If you’re a woman under 40, for instance, your risk is much lower: one in 233.
Approximatly 5% to 10% of the roughly 200,000 American women diagnosed with breast cancer each year have an inherited gene mutation that puts them at higher risk for developing the disease. Most of these genes remain unidentified, but scientists know that mutations to the BRCA-1 and BRCA-2 (Breast Cancer 1 and 2) genes, which normally help prevent cancer by regulating cell growth, are linked to an …

What African-American Women Need to Know About Breast Cancer

Even though breast cancer incidence rates are slightly lower overall among African-American women than white women (the incidence is lower still among Hispanic, Asian, and Native American women), a combination of socioeconomic factors and unexplained biological differences make the disease more deadly—and in some cases, harder to treat—in the black community. Also, African-American women under 45 have a greater incidence of breast cancer than white women in the same age range.
Many women are "triple negative"
No one yet knows precisely why, but African-American women are roughly twice as likely as white women to have triple-negative breast cancer—so called because tumor cells in this particularly aggressive form of the disease test negative for estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR), and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER-2). This puts Herceptin and hormone therapies, such as tamoxifen and aromatase inhibitors, entirely out of reach as treatment options…

Breast Cancer

Breast cancer (malignantbreast neoplasm) is cancer originating from breast tissue, most commonly from the inner lining of milkducts or the lobules that supply the ducts with milk. Cancers originating from ducts are known as ductal carcinomas; those originating from lobules are known as lobular carcinomas. Prognosis and survival rate varies greatly depending on cancer type and staging. Computerized models are available to predict survival. With best treatment and dependent on staging, 10-year disease-free survival varies from 98% to 10%. Treatment includes surgery, drugs (hormonal therapy and chemotherapy), and radiation.
Worldwide, breast cancer comprises 10.4% of all cancer incidence among women, making it the most common type of non-skin cancer in women and the fifth most common cause of cancer death. In 2004, breast cancer caused 519,000 deaths worldwide (7% of cancer deaths; almost 1% of all deaths). Breast cancer is about 100 times more common in women than in men, although males t…

Melanoma Exams and Tests

Evaluation of a skin lesion A physical exam of the skin is used to evaluate the skin for melanoma. If melanoma is suspected, a skin biopsy will be done. For this, your doctor will remove a sample of skin tissue and send it to a pathologist to be looked at under a microscope. If the biopsy shows melanoma, the pathologist will measure the thickness of the melanoma to find out how advanced the cancer is. Other techniques may include total-body photography to monitor for changes in any mole and to watch for new moles appearing in normal skin. A series of photos of the suspicious lesions may be taken. Then the photos can be used as a baseline to compare with follow-up photos. Evaluation of lymph nodes Testing the lymph nodes may not be needed if the melanoma is less than 1 mm (0.04 in.) thick when measured with a microscope, because the risk of the cancer spreading may be low. But if your melanoma is large or thick, you can expect…