Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects those who have been exposed to asbestos. Both mesothelioma and asbestos are related. Being a rare form of cancer it only affects those who have had a history of being exposed to asbestos that is the main cause.
Once the patient has somehow inhaled the asbestos fibers or dust the condition tends to escalate over time due to factors like smoking.
Some other factors can also be the reason for mesothelioma like some cases were seen where the patient had not been exposed to asbestos ever but got it from those people who had been exposed.
Malignant (cancerous) cells develop in the mesothelium that happens to be a secure lining that covers the majority of the internal organs of the body.
Malignant cells of mesothelioma affect the area and are very complicated to remove. Mesothelioma has been known since the 60s and it was then when the symptoms were first diagnosed. Thousands of people have lost their lives to this deadly disease and thousands are still fighting it.
The reasons this disease is considered so deadly are as follows:
- The diagnosis of this disease is quite late usually and it could surface in a person about 15-20 years later being exposed to asbestos.
- The exposure time is very short being less than 2-3 months whereas the gestation period is quite long. This suggests that a person does not even have to have prolonged exposure.
- The lifespan of a person after being diagnosed happens to be quite a short maximum of two years.
- Mesothelioma not only affects the one exposed to asbestos but there are chances that it can be transmitted via asbestos dust or fiber to others.
Types of Mesothelioma:
Based on the three areas mesothelioma occurs, it is categorized into three types:
- The mesothelioma of pleura is called Pleural Mesothelioma. It is the outer lining that protects both the lungs and the chest cavity.
- Mesothelioma of the pericardium is called Pericardial Mesothelioma. The pericardium is the sac that encloses the heart.
- The mesothelioma of the peritoneum is called Peritoneal Mesothelioma. It is the lining that protects the abdominal cavity.
Symptoms of Mesothelioma:
The symptoms depend upon the type of mesothelioma the patient has. The patient would feel great pain in the chest area if he is suffering from the malignant pleural mesothelioma. He also faces shallow breathing. Due to the fluid in the pleura, these symptoms arise.
The symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma largely differ from those of pleural mesothelioma and the patient suffers from the symptoms like anemia, fever, difficulties in bowel movement, and abnormalities are also found during the blood clots. When this kind of mesothelioma increases, the symptoms escalate to face and neck swelling as well as problems in ingestion.
The patient needs to be established in detail that should include MRIs, CT scans as well as X-rays. The focus has to be on the chest and abdominal regions and if anything suspicious is found at the end of these tests and examinations, then a biopsy is advised.