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Mesothelioma Cancer. What are its signs and symptoms.

Mesothelioma Cancer:

Mesothelioma is not a very common kind of cancer but very aggressive and troublesome type of disease  which develop from the very thin layers of tissues. These thin layers of tissues cover many internal organs like lungs, abdomen and heart in order to protect them. This layer of tissue is called  mesothelium. The cancer that affect these types of layers is called Mesothelioma. This type of cancer is very common in the lining of lungs and chest wall, abdomen and heart.

Comparison of an affected and a non-effected lungs.

According to survey conducted by Centers for Disease Control, 2,400 – 2,800 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma in the United States each year. This situation exist all through the world. Mesothelioma generally develops in people who have worked with or been exposed to asbestos have the highest risk of developing mesothelioma. After being exposed to asbestos, mesothelioma symptoms can take 20 – 50 years to appear.

The life expectancy for mesothelioma patients is poor, as there is no cure for the disease.

The stage of the disease, cell type, and location of the tumor(s) are the most important factors for a patient’s survival. Factors such as the patient’s overall health, age, and whether the cancer has spread also impact prognosis (how disease will progress).

After receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis, there are a number of vital decisions that must be made. The Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance is dedicated to providing patients with the best resources available on current treatment, stories of survival and hope, and financial assistance.


Types of Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is most commonly classified by the location in the body where it develops. Specifically, the cancer forms in the lining of certain organs or spaces within the body, known as the mesothelium. Mesothelioma typically develops in one of three specific areas.

01. Pleural Mesothelioma:

Pleural mesothelioma is a cancer of the protective lining of the lung, known as the pleura. It is caused by inhaling asbestos fibers into the lungs. It is the most common form of mesothelioma. As the most common type of asbestos-related cancer, malignant pleural mesothelioma accounts for approximately 80 – 90 percent of all mesothelioma cases. Pleural mesothelioma differs from other types in four primary ways:

Location: Pleural mesothelioma is located in the linings of the lungs and the chest wall, known as the pleura.

Symptoms: As the disease mostly affects the lungs, the primary symptoms affect the respiratory system, such as shortness of breath, or the thoracic cavity, such as chest pain.

Treatment: The standard treatment for pleural mesothelioma is surgery, which often includes removal of some or all of the pleura and possibly part of the lung, combined with chemotherapy and/or radiation.

Survival: The prognosis for pleural mesothelioma is poor, with a median survival time of about 1 year. However, there are cases of long-term survival, in some cases as long as 20 years.

Symptoms and signs of  Pleural Mesothelioma Cancer:

  • Faint or harsh breathing
  • Dry cough or wheezing
  • Pleural effusions
  • Coughing up blood
  • Body aches
  • Blood clotting disorders
  • Chest pains
  • Shortness of breath
  • Reduced chest expansion

The exact stage of the cancer at the time of diagnosis — how far it has progressed — is impossible to predict through symptoms alone. Most patients are not diagnosed until stage 3 or 4 because symptoms don’t develop until later stages. The earlier the cancer is caught, the better the prognosis.

Addressing symptoms as soon as they develop can improve medical outcomes. When symptoms are identified and treated quickly, patients often benefit from higher quality of life and may live longer if the symptoms and cancer are controlled sooner.

02. Peritoneal Mesothelioma:

Peritoneal mesothelioma is a form of cancer that affects the lining of the abdomen (the peritoneum). It is caused by the ingestion of asbestos fibers.

Peritoneal mesothelioma (formally known as diffuse malignant peritoneal mesothelioma) is the second-most common type after pleural mesothelioma, accounting for approximately 15 – 20 percent of all new mesothelioma cases each year. There are four key differences between peritoneal mesothelioma and other types of the disease:

Location: Peritoneal mesothelioma occurs in the abdominal lining (peritoneum)

Abdominal location where Peritoneal Cancer develops.

, a dual-layer membrane that surrounds the stomach and other abdominal organs. The visceral layer protects organs like the liver and gall bladder within the abdomen, while the parietal layer covers the outside of the abdomen.

Symptoms: Due to the location of the disease, peritoneal mesothelioma symptoms most often develop in the abdomen and/or gastrointestinal system, rather than the chest and lungs.

Treatment: The most effective treatment for peritoneal mesothelioma is cytoreductive surgery followed by Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy (HIPEC) – a heated chemotherapy “wash” that kills cancer cells within the abdomen.

Survival: Peritoneal mesothelioma patients generally have a better prognosis and survival rate than those with other forms of the disease.

More symptoms of Peritoneal Cancer are:

  • Weight loss
  • Abdominal distention
  • Hernias
  • Loss of appetite
  • Feeling of fullness
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Fatigue
  • Abdominal fluid buildup
  • Bowel obstruction

Doctors can provide chemotherapy drugs that shrink peritoneal mesothelioma tumors and slow the growth and spread of cancer. It can be given before, during or after surgery. In some cases, doctors offer chemotherapy as the only treatment option. Chemotherapy drugs considered effective in treatment include pemetrexed, cisplatin, carboplatin and gemcitabine.

Doctors are now seeing extraordinary results with HIPEC. Once an experimental treatment, HIPEC starts with surgery to remove all visible tumors from the patient’s peritoneum. Next, doctors introduce a heated salt-water solution that contains chemotherapy drugs.

A machine pumps the medicine throughout the patient’s abdomen. This helps destroy any cancer cells left behind after surgery. Nearly half of peritoneal mesothelioma cancer patients who receive HIPEC can live at least five years after diagnosis.

03. Pericardial Mesothelioma:

Pericardial mesothelioma is the rarest form of asbestos-caused cancer. Tumors first form in the lining of the heart (pericardium). Often, pericardial mesothelioma is not diagnosed until an autopsy is performed.

As the least common of the three major types of cancer caused by asbestos, malignant pericardial mesothelioma only accounts for about 1 – 2 percent of all mesothelioma cases. Pericardial mesothelioma is different from other types in the following ways:

Pericardial Cancer

Location: Pericardial mesothelioma is located in the lining of the heart, known as the pericardium.

Symptoms of Pericardial Mesothelioma:

As the disease affects the heart, Pericardial Mesothelioma Symptoms are related mostly to heart and adjoining parts.

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest pains
  • Heart palpitations
  • Heart murmurs
  • Fever or night sweats
  • Fatigue

This form of asbestos-related cancer develops in the lining around the heart. It is one of the rarest types of the disease. Symptoms include difficulty breathing and chest pains. They stem from thickening of the pericardium, the lining around the heart.



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