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Mesothelioma Dictionary

Mesothelioma Dictionary of Legal & Medical Terms
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The belly, that part of the body that contains all of the structures between the chest and the pelvis. The abdomen contains some of the body’s major organs, such as the stomach, liver, gallbladder, pancreas and intestines. The abdomen is separated anatomically from the chest by the diaphragm, the powerful muscle spanning the body cavity below the lungs.
Relating to the abdomen, the belly, that part of the body that contains all of the structures between the chest and the pelvis . The abdomen is separated anatomically from the chest by the diaphragm, the powerful muscle spanning the body cavity below the lungs.
Abdominal Cavity
The cavity within the abdomen, the space between the abdominal wall and the spine.
Arterial blood gases.
Not normal. Deviating from the usual structure, position, condition, or behavior. In referring to a growth, abnormal may mean that it is cancerous or pre-malignant (likely to become cancer).
Accelerated Approva
FDA regulations governing early marketing approval of promising drugs for life-threatening illnesses.
A disorder caused when the body fluids have an abnormally high acid content, as in uncontrolled diabetes mellitus and in uremia.
Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
AIDS is a viral disease that destroys the body's ability to fight infections, leaving the body susceptible to many other diseases. AIDS is also known as Autoimmune Immunodeficiency Syndrome
A blue discoloration of the hands and feet due to a disturbance in blood circulation.
One of the more rare forms of asbestos. It is a mineral with fibers that form in manner of the Amphibole family - which means the fibers are made of crystals that are chain-like in appearance. Like two other rare forms of asbestos, Tremolite and Anthophyllite, Actinolite is found mainly as a contaminant in other minerals. Actinolite was not used commercially as were chrysotile, amosite, and, to a lesser extent, crocidolite.
Having severe symptoms and a short course.
Acute pain
Severe pain with a quick onset that lasts for a brief period.
When a judge thinks that the jury has not recommended enough money for the plaintiff and orders that an additional amount be added to the total.
A kind of cancer originating in the cells,which line the lungs and other organs. Also known as "non-small cell lung cancer."
A benign tumor made up of glandular tissue with gland-like structure or of glandular origin. For example, an adenoma of the pituitary gland may cause it to produce abnormal amounts of hormones.
An abnormal sticking together of organs or tissues, sometimes resulting in obstructions requiring surgery.
An adjuvant treatment is given after the primary treatment to increase the chances of a cure. Adjuvant therapy may include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or biological therapy.
Adjuvant Radiation
Radiation that aids in removing or preventing a disease. For example, a person with mesothelioma may be treated primarily with chemotherapy, supplemented by adjuvant radiation.
Adjuvent Therapy
A supplemental treatment to the main medical procedure. This treatment usually comes in the form of radiation therapy or chemotherapy, and is employed after surgery.
Adrenal Gland
One adrenal gland is located near each kidney. Their main function is to produce hormones, which control metabolism, fluid balance, and blood pressure. In addition, they produce small amounts of "male" hormones (androgens) and "female" hormones (estrogens and progesterone).
Adrenal Glands
Two small organs near the kidneys that release hormones.
Advance Directives
Legal documents that tell the doctor and family what a person wants for future medical care, including whether to start or when to stop life-sustaining treatment.
Family of common human viruses that cause a variety of respiratory and/or gastrointestinal symptoms.
A written statement that may be used in place of an actual witness appearing in court. An affidavit must be sworn before a judicial officer or notary in order to be acceptable evidence in court.
AFP (Alpha Fetoprotein)
A tumor marker.
AJCC Staging System
The American Joint Committee on Cancer's staging system. This system characterizes the extent to which cancer has spread in the body using Roman numerals from O to IV. Also known as the TMN system.
Alimta (Mesothelioma Drug)
Alimta (generic name: pemetrexed) is a chemotherapy drug approved by the FDA developed by Eli Lilly specifically for the treatment of patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma. Patients also typically receive cisplatin (a platinum agent), another widely used chemotherapy drug, in combination with Alimta.
Alkaline Phosphatase
An enzyme produced by the liver or bone. An elevated level of alkaline phosphatase in the blood may indicate a liver or bone problem.
A condition of increased alkalinity of the blood. Caused by excessive intake of alkali or excessive acid loss and may result in muscular irritability and convulsions.
A "version" of a specific gene. Each individual has 1 allele (from one or the other parent) at each specific genetic location.
The infusion of bone marrow from one individual (donor) to another.
Autoimmune disease occurring on areas of the body (most commonly the scalp) where a person’s immune system attacks hair follicles suppressing and arresting hair growth. Typically the result of chemotherapy, causing hair loss.
Alternative and Complementary Therapies
Therapy refers to any of the measures taken to treat a disease. Unproven therapy is any therapy that has not been scientifically tested and approved. Use of an unproven therapy instead of standard therapy is called alternative therapy. Some alternative therapies have dangerous or even life-threatening side effects. For others, the main danger is that a patient may lose the opportunity to benefit from standard therapy. Complementary therapy, on the other hand, refers to therapies used in addition to standard therapy. Some complementary therapies may help relieve certain symptoms of cancer, relieve side effects of standard cancer therapy, or improve a patient's sense of well-being. We recommend that patients considering use of any alternative or complementary therapy discuss this with their health care team.
Alternative Medicine
Practices used instead of standard treatments, which are generally not recognized by the medical community as standard or conventional medical approaches. Alternative medicine includes dietary supplements, megadose vitamins, herbal preparations, special teas, acupuncture, massage therapy, magnet therapy, spiritual healing, and meditation.
Alveolar Epithelial Cells
The cells that line the air sacs of the lung.
Air sacs within the lungs in which carbon dioxide and oxygen exchange occurs. Asbestos fibers that linger in the lungs can cause the walls of these tiny sacs to form scar tissue, which results in decreased oxygen intake and trouble breathing.
Ambulatory Surgery
Surgery done in the doctor’s office or at a surgical center, and not requiring an overnight stay.
A change to the plaintiff’s or the defendant’s pleadings, responses, or other papers filed in a lawsuit. All amendments are filed with the court and given to the opposing side.
Amino Acid
An organic compound that is a basic structural unit of peptides and proteins.
A type of asbestos of the amphibole variety accounting for 3% of all asbestos used. Amosite is also called "brown asbestos" and takes its name from the asbestos mines of South Africa. Its color varies from gray to yellow to dark brown, and its fibers are coarse in texture. Fibers are somewhat pliable, have good flexibility but only fair spinnability. Amosite was used for asbestos cement, pipe, and roofing materials.
A type of mineral, distinguished by a chain-like crystal structure and chemical composition. Asbestos amphiboles include actinolite, amosite, anthophillite, crocidolite, and tremolite.
Amphibole Asbestos
The mineral fibers in Amphibole asbestos are chain-like, while Serpentine mineral fibers are in layered sheets. This can be seen under the microscope. There are five different types of Amphiboles: Amosite ("brown asbestos"), Crocidolite ("blue asbestos"), Anthophyllite, Tremolite, and Actinolite.
Anabolic Steroid
A hormone (e.g., testosterone, oxandrolone) that promotes the synthesis of proteins and the building of muscle mass.
A drug or therapy that reduces perception of or sensibility to pain. Aspirin and acetaminophen are mild analgesics.
A life-threatening allergic reaction to a foreign antigen mediated by IgE antibodies. Symptoms include swelling, shortness of breath and a decrease in blood pressure.
Edema characterized by the normal accumulation of serum in connective tissue.
Ancillary Providers
Services over and above physician services, including laboratory, radiology, home health and skilled nursing facilities.
Androgenic Steroid
A hormone (e.g., testosterone, androsterone) that has masculinizing effects, including stimulation of the male reproductive organs and development of male secondary sex characteristics.
condition in which a decreased number of red blood cells may cause symptoms including tiredness, shortness of breath, and weakness.
The lack of an immune response to a foreign antigen.
Drugs or substances that cause loss of feeling or awareness. Local anesthetics cause loss of feeling in a part of the body. General anesthetics put the person to sleep.
A drug that causes numbness or loss of feeling. A general anesthetic causes the patient to fall asleep, whereas a local anesthetic affects only a part of the body.
Prevention of the growth of new blood vessels. Drug designers use this strategy to try to slow tumor growth.
The formation of new blood vessels. Angiogenesis is essential for the growth of tumors. Tumor cells release chemicals to encourage blood vessel growth.
Angiogenesis Inhibitor
A chemical that signals the process of angiogenesis to stop and thereby prevents the formation of blood vessels. In anticancer therapy, an angiogenesis inhibitor prevents the growth of blood vessels from surrounding tissue to a solid tumor.
Angiostatin is a piece (a fragment) of a protein, plasminogen, used normally in blood clotting. This fragment is normally secreted by tumors. It appears to halt the process of developing new blood vessels (angiogenesis) which is necessary to tumor development. Angiostatin may, it is hoped, represent a prototype for a new class of agents with which to treat cancer.
The loss of appetite. Also attributed to forced self-starvation to keep one’s self thin.
The defendant’s formal written response to the allegations made by the plaintiff in the plaintiff’s Petition (or Complaint).
One of the more rare forms of asbestos. It is a mineral with fibers that form in the Amphibole family - which means the fibers are made of crystals that are chain-like in appearance. Like two other rare forms of asbestos, Tremolite and Actinolite. Anthophyllite is found mainly as a contaminant in other minerals. Anthophyllite was not use commercially as were chrysotile, amosite, and, to a lesser extent, crocidolite.
Examination of the anal canal and lower rectum using a short speculum.
The benign deposition of coal dust in lungs from inhalation of soot in the air.
Drugs used to kill organisms that cause disease. Antibiotics may be made by living organisms or they may be created in the lab. Since some cancer treatments can reduce the body's ability to fight off infection, antibiotics may be used to treat or prevent these infections.
A protein in the blood that defends against infection by foreign agents, such as bacteria. These agents contain certain substances called antigens. Each antibody works against a specific antigen. (See also antigen.)
Antibody (AB, Immunoglobulin, IG)
A protein secreted by activated plasma cells, which evolve from B-cells, in response to stimulation by an antigen. The antigen/antibody reaction forms the basis of humoral (Th2) immunity. There are 5 types of antibodies: IgA, IgD, IgE, IgG and IgM.
Anticipatory Nausea And Vomiting (ANV)
Nausea and/or vomiting that occurs prior to the beginning of a new cycle of chemotherapy, in response to conditioned stimuli such as the smells, sights, and sounds of the treatment room. ANV is a classically conditioned response that typically occurs after 3 or 4 prior chemotherapy treatments, following which the person experienced acute or delayed N&V.
An agent that prevents or lessens convulsions or seizures; may be used as an adjuvant analgesic.
Antiemetic Agent
A drug that prevents or controls nausea and vomiting.
A substance (for example, the drug tamoxifen) that blocks the effects of estrogen on tumors. Anti-estrogens are used to treat breast cancers that depend on estrogen for growth.
Antifungal Agent
A drug used to treat fungal infections.
A substance that causes the body's immune system to react. This reaction often involves production of antibodies. For example, the immune system's response to antigens that are part of bacteria and viruses helps people resist infections. Cancer cells have certain antigens that can be found by laboratory tests. They are important in cancer diagnosis and in watching response to treatment. Other cancer cell antigens play a role in immune reactions that may help the body's resistance against cancer.
Substances that interfere with the body's chemical processes, such as those creating proteins, DNA, and other chemicals needed for cell growth and reproduction. In treating cancer, antimetabolite drugs disrupt DNA production, which in turn prevents cell division and growth of tumors. (See also DNA.)
Anti-Neoplastic Agent
A drug or compound that prevents, kills, or blocks the growth and spread of cancer cells.
A state of fear or apprehension that results when an individual anticipates a threat or adverse situation. Anxiety is common in mesothelioma victims and their families.
A painless procedure by which blood is withdrawn from a patient's arm and circulated through a machine that removes certain components and returns the remaining components to the patient. This procedure is used to remove platelets from platelet donors' blood, or stem cells from patients undergoing a peripheral stem cell harvest.
The top portions of the lungs.
A failure to develop or form. In bone marrow "aplasia," the marrow cavity is empty.
Programmed cell death.
Apoptopic Pathway
The cellular pathway that results in apotosis.
A request to a higher court to reverse the decision of a lower court.
A word used to describe things having to do with the process of appealing a judgment entered by a lower court. For example: the “appellate” court is a court with higher authority than the one where the trial took place, and it hears the appeal brought by a party who is not satisfied with the judgment of the lower court.
A group of participants in a clinical trial who all receive the same treatment (treatment arm) or placebo (control arm).
An arrhythmia is any deviation from or disturbance of the normal heart rhythm.
A mineral that looks like asbestos.
A natural material made up of tiny fibers which can lodge in the lungs and lead to cancer or scarring of the lungs. The cancer may be lung cancer or ( mesothelioma ), which is a cancer of the lining of the lungs or other internal organs. The scarring of the lungs is termed
Exposure to asbestos usually occurs by breathing contaminated air in workplaces that make or use asbestos or in the air of buildings containing asbestos that are being torn down or renovated.
Asbestos Abatement
The removal of asbestos containing materials from structures. Only a licensed, experienced contractor should perform asbestos removal.
Asbestos Bodies
Inhaled asbestos fibril particles that are coated with iron-containing mucoprotein and imbedded in lung tissue. They are usually drumhead or dumbbell-shaped. Their presence in sputum or in parenchymal tissue is considered strong evidence of some exposure to asbestos.
Asbestos Corns
These corns may develop when rigid and sharp asbestos fibers penetrate the human skin (esp. the hands) and cause a chronic skin irritation. Skin cancers are not induced, and asbestos corns are not symptomatic of any disease entity.
Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM)
Materials such as ceiling tiles, floor tiles, gaskets, packing, joint compound, heat insulation and brake linings produced before 1990 commonly contained asbestos.
Asbestos Pleural Disease
A medical condition characterized by scarring of chest cavity and lung membranes.
Asbestos Types
There are two families of asbestos, the Amphibole family and the Serpentine family, which differ based on the structure of their mineral crystals.
Abnormal build-up of fluid in the abdomen that may cause swelling. In late-stage cancer, tumor cells may be found in the fluid in the abdomen. Ascites is a common manifestation of peritoneal mesothelioma and can occur as a manifestation of recurrent mesothelioma after surgery for the disease in the chest.
ASHD (Arterio-Sclerotic Heart Disease)
A chronic disease characterized by degenerative hardening and thickening of the arterial walls, often resulting in deficient blood supply to tissues and organs.
To draw in or out by suction. See needle aspiration.
The medical process of removing fluid or tissue, or both, from a specific area, typically by using a needle or tube.
A test used to detect the presence of a drug, substance or microorganism in the blood or tissues.
Asthma, Occupational
A diffuse, intermittent, reversible airways obstruction caused by the inhalation of irritants or allergenic particles or vapors from industrial processes.
Not having any symptoms of a disease. Many cancers can develop and grow without producing symptoms, especially in the early stages. Screening tests such as mammograms help to find these early cancers, when the chances for cure are usually highest. (See also screening.)
The collapse or incomplete expansion of a lung or of part of a lung; atelectasis can affect part of or the entire lung.
A cell with the ability to pick up foreign matter and store it in granular form in its cytoplasm.
Not usual; abnormal. Often refers to the appearance of cancerous or precancerous cells. (See also hyperplasia.)
Approval of care required before a service is provided. Pre-authorization may be necessary before hospital admission, or before care is given by non-HMO providers.
A condition in which the body's immune system mistakenly fights and rejects the body's own tissues.
Bone marrow removed from the patient to be used in an autologous BMT.
Autologous Bone Marrow Transplantation (BMT)
See Bone Marrow Transplantation.
The infusion of a patient's own bone marrow previously removed and stored.
To break open or lyse without external influence.
A condition of being abnormal or not typical.
An after-death surgical procedure in which the body and its tissues are examined to determine cause of death.
Autopsy Report
Report given that shows the cause of death.
Award (Mesothelioma – Asbestos Award)
A decision made by a jury or a court, usually involving money. A plaintiff may get an “award” of money from the defendant as damages for injuries. (See also Recovery, Damages)
The armpit
Axillary Dissection
Removal of the lymph nodes in the armpit (axillary nodes). They are examined for the presence of cancer.
Axillary Nodes
Lymph nodes - also called lymph glands found in the armpit (axilla).
A long process of neurons that conducts neural impulses to muscles, tissues and organs.
Adjuvant chemotherapy
Chemotherapy given to kill any remaining cancer cells, usually after all detectable tumor is removed by surgery or radiotherapy.

Disclaimer: Mesothelioma Help Center’s Dictionary of Legal & Medical Terms is not designed to provide medical advice or professional services and is intended to be for educational use only. The information provided through Mesothelioma Help Center is not a substitute for professional care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or a disease. If you have, or suspect you may have, a health problem you should consult your doctor. If you need legal help you should consult an experienced mesothelioma lawyer.

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Mesothelioma Symptoms

The most common Mesothelioma symptoms are the following:

Recent onset of shortness of breath (31%)
Recent increase in shortness of breath (30%)
Chest pain (43%)
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