That’s when I came across a very rare condition with an odd set of symptoms: peritoneal mesothelioma
What is Mesothelioma
According to MesotheliomaWeb.org:
The early symptoms of mesothelioma are generally non-specific, and may lead to a delay in diagnosis. Sometimes resembling viral pneumonia, pleural mesothelioma patients may present with shortness of breath, chest pain and/or persistent cough; some patients show no symptoms at all. A chest x-ray may show a build-up of fluid or pleural effusion … The right lung is affected 60% of the time, with involvement of both lungs being seen in approximately 5% of patients at the time of diagnosis. Less common symptoms of pleural mesothelioma include fever, night sweats and weight loss. Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma may include pain or swelling in the abdomen due to a build-up of fluid, nausea, weight loss, bowel obstruction, anemia or swelling of the feet.
They’re quick to point out that “THESE SYMPTOMS MAY BE CAUSED BY MESOTHELIOMA OR BY OTHER LESS SERIOUS CONDITIONS. ONLY A DOCTOR CAN MAKE A DEFINITIVE DIAGNOSIS” (caps are from the original source).
How do you get Mesothelioma
Actually, the cause of mesothelioma is usually very simple: exposure to asbestos.
You see, you breathe in asbestos dust, and once the asbestos is in your lungs your body’s immune system recognizes it as a foreign body and reacts accordingly. White blood cells attempt to engulf the asbestos fiber and crush it, in preparation for being expelled from the body through normal waste elimination processes.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t get that far.
When the white blood cell “eats” the asbestos fiber, the fiber’s rigidity and “sharpness” puncture the white blood cell, killing it. Another white blood cell floats along to clean up the first (now dead) white blood cell, and another tries to eat the asbestos again — and fails. The process is repeated over and over.
This typically leads to the condition called mesothelioma: A cancer of the mesothelial lining of the lungs and the chest cavity, the peritoneum (abdominal cavity) or the pericardium (a sac surrounding the heart)…1.
What is asbestos?
Asbestos (a misapplication of Latin: asbestos “quicklime” from Greek ἄσβεστος: a, “not” and sbestos, “extinguishable”) describes any of a group of fibrous metamorphic minerals of the hydrous magnesium silicate variety. The name is derived for its historical use in lamp wicks; the resistance of asbestos to fire has long been exploited for a variety of purposes. Asbestos was used in fabrics such as Egyptian burial cloths and Charlemagne’s tablecloth which according to legend, he threw in a fire to clean. Asbestos occurs naturally in many forms…; it is mined from metamorphic rocks.2
Why is Mesothelioma Such a Hot Topic?
There are two reasons why mesothelioma is such a hot topic. First, the prognosis for mesothelioma is grim; most patients die within one year of diagnosis.
Secondly, and why this post appears on my blog, mesothelioma is (at the time of this writing) the highest paying group of search engine keywords to date. Most keywords pay about a dollar per click. Mesothelioma (and its variants) pay upwards of $50 and $60 per click.
Before anyone crys foul, no, this post is not intended to make me rich. I posted it because of an interesting phenonona that I observed while researching this disease: there are just as many sites about how mesothelioma can be used as a keyword in your web pages as there are about the symptoms and treatments of mesothelioma.
Why does Mesothelioma (as a keyword) Pay So Much Per Click?>
Mesothelioma (which is very difficult to type, I might add) has only one known cause, as mentioned before: exposure to asbestos.
Mesothelioma lawyers get a whole bunch of money in settlements and lawsuits when they find and sue companies that produced, mined, manufactured, distributed, transported, advertised, removed, or were in any way anything but staunch objectors to asbestos in general (you thought the money went to the victim, right?) .
How can lawyers get more money from the milk-cow that is mesothelioma? That’s right, they advertise. It’s a numbers game. They need to get as many people as they can to go to specialist doctors (usually partners of the lawyers) and be diagnosed with mesothelioma. Then it’s just a matter of determining the exposure (“who-dunnit”) and suing the pants of them. The lawyers get about 40%, the doctors get a heafty sum, you (actually your survivors) get the remaining 20% (give or take), and you die a year later.
Misuse of Technology and the Legal Process
Now, rather than all those people writing web sites about how to generate advertisement revenue (aka “filthy lucre”) from this terrible disease, why not be informative about the disease, about preventing it, about support groups… about alternatives to asbestos and revolutionary asbestos detection, clean-up, and containment.
Because there isn’t any money in that.
Click and be happy
Theoretically, if one were to disagree with the mesothelioma laywers and wanted to redistribute their wealth, one could click the links (not excessively, as that would invalidate the clicks) to do so. Those paying for the ads would have implimented a way in which objectors could remove money from their coffers.
Again, I am not advocating this by any stretch of the imagination!! But the capability to do so is there.