Mesothelioma is a type of cancer affecting the mesothelial cells lining the chest and abdomen. Mesothelioma is rare, but it seems to be rising. Approximately 2 000 to 3 000 new cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed each year in the United States alone. Symptoms for both types of mesothelioma are not only specific to this disease, and often go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed for a significant amount of time. Difficulty breathing, abdominal pain and chest, and fever can all be attributed to other causes, so this cancer has time to grow enough just before diagnosis usually occurs. Because of the difficulty in the diagnosis of mesothelioma, the survival time after diagnosis is estimated at about a year.
There are two main types of mesothelioma. The first type, pleural mesothelioma, spreads within the chest cavity and sometimes involves the lungs. This type or cancer can metastasize in one of the body's organs, including the brain.
Metastasis occurs more often than previously thought, and reports the progress of the disease. Symptoms of pleural mesothelioma include persistent chest pain and severe breathing difficulties caused
by a pleural effusion or accumulation of fluid in the pleura Cough, weight loss and fever are also common symptoms. Survival time for this type of mesothelioma is better than that of peritoneal mesothelioma. The median survival time is 17 months, with ten percent of patients living for three years after diagnosis.
The second type of mesothelioma is peritoneal mesothelioma. This cancer invades the abdominal cavity, liver, spleen and sometimes the intestine. The main symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include persistent pain in the region and a swollen abdomen, both due to fluid accumulation in the organs of the abdomen and affected. Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting and swelling of the feet, fever, and difficulty moving the bowels. The prognosis for peritoneal mesothelioma is worse than that of pleural mesothelioma with a median survival time of only ten months past diagnosis.
Mesothelioma takes two rarer forms. Benign mesothelioma is peritoneal mesothelioma cancer. The peritoneum is the lining of the major organs of the chest and abdomen. It is difficult to diagnose, and appears more frequently in younger women. Pericardial mesothelioma is a very rare heart cancer. Mesothelioma can also occur in the ovaries and scrotum. The prognosis for these unusual types of mesothelioma, except for benign mesothelioma, is very poor.
The progression of mesothelioma is broken down into four stages. These steps provide a basis for predicting how far along the cancer spreading. Staging is based on X-rays, CT scans, MRI imaging. treatment decisions and prognosis depend on the stage of mesothelioma and the kind if mesothelioma. In the first step, mesothelioma is present in the pleura, lung, pericardium, or diaphragm, which is shown on one side of the body. Mesothelioma invades the chest wall or the esophagus during the second stage. The second step can also see cancer in the heart, both sides of the pleura, or lymph nodes in the chest. The third step involves penetration through the membrane and into the peritoneum, and sees the spread of cancer in the most distant lymph nodes. The fourth and final step occurs when the tests provide evidence of metastases in distant organs. In the fourth stage, mesothelioma spreads through the bloodstream to these new sites.
Mesothelioma is most often caused by exposure to asbestos. Asbestos was commonly used for insulation in homes or businesses. Schools, factories and military buildings have also been found to contain asbestos. Radiation thorium dioxide can also cause mesothelioma. This material was used once for X-rays, but has not been widely used for a long time. Zeolite, a silicate linked to asbestos, mesothelioma can also cause. Mesothelioma cases induced zeolite in Anatoli centralize