WHAT IS MESOTHELIOMA
what is mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that most frequently arises from the cells lining the sacs of the chest or of abdomen. Pleural mesothelioma is the most common form, often presenting with simptoms in the chest area. Peritoneal mesothelioma is much less common. This can effect the organs in the abdomen, and its simptoms are related to this area of the body, that is, abdominal swelling, nausea, vomiting, and bowel obstruction. The rarest form of mesothelioma is pericardial mesothelioma, which involves the sac surrounding the heart.
There are two major cell types of mesothelioma, epithelial and sarcomatoid. sometimes both of these sell types can be present. The sarcomatoid type is rarer and accurs in only about 15% of cases: it portends a poorer prognosis. In very rare cases, mesothelioma can originate from benign, non malignant cells. This so called benign mesothelioma can be cured surgically.
What are the symptoms of mesothelioma?
Most people present with complains of shotness of breath. They also can have complaint of chest pain. Surprisingly, thios pain is opten not pleuritic; that is, it does not get worse with deep breathing. This is surprising in that the pleura is opten involved in this disease, and most orther diseases involving the pleura arew opten associated with pleuritic pain. Patients may also be asymptomatic, with the disease discovered by physical exam or anabnormal chest x-ray.
As the disease progresses, shortness of breath increases, and weeight loss, decreased appetite, and night sweats can develop. Local invasion by the tumor can result in area and involvement of adjacent structures.
What causes mesothelioma?
Most people with malignant mesothelioma have worked on jobs where they breathed asbestos. Usually, this involves men over 40 years of age. Orthers have been exposed to asbestor in a household environment, opten without knowing it. Interestingly, the number of new cases of mesothelioma has been relatively stable since 1983, the same time that the restrictions om asbestos were instituted by the U.S. Occupational Sapety and Health Administration. In Europe, the number of new cases of mesothelioma continues rise.