Mesothelioma Cancer Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer affecting the membrane lining of the lungs and abdomen.
Malignant mesothelioma is the most serious of all asbestos-related
diseases. Although uncommon, mesothelioma cancer is no longer considered
rare. The primary cause and risk factor for mesothelioma is exposure to
Making a correct mesothelioma diagnosis is particularly difficult for
doctors because the disease often presents with symptoms that mimic
other common ailments. There is no known cure for mesothelioma, but
treatments such as surgery and chemotherapy have helped to improve the
typical mesothelioma prognosis.
Pleural mesothelioma (affecting the lung’s protective lining in the
chest cavity) represents about three quarters of all mesothelioma
incidence. Peritoneal and pericardial mesotheliomas, affecting the
abdominal and cardiac cavities comprise the remainder. Testicular
mesothelioma is extremely rare and is typically presents with metastases
of the peritoneal variety. There are three recognized mesothelioma
cell-types. Between 50 and 70% of all mesotheliomas are of the
epithelial variety. While prognosis is generally poor, these are
considered less aggressive than mesotheliomas of the sarcomatoid and
biphasic variety, which comprise the remainder of diagnoses
More Mesothelioma Cancer Information
The cavities within the body encompassing the chest, abdomen, and heart
are surround by a membrane of cells known as the mesothelium.
Mesothelial cells assist in general organ functions. The mesothelium is
particularly important to organs which are commonly in motion, such as
expansion or contraction of the lungs, stomach, or heart. Lubrication
from the mesothelial cells allows free range of motion within the body.
The mesothelium of the chest, abdomen, and cardiac cavity are called the
pleura, the peritoneum, and the pericardium, respectively. Each of
these groupings of mesothelial cells are extremely critical to the
functions of the body
structures which they encompass.
Malignancies (cancerous tumors) occurring within the mesothelial
membranes are known as malignant mesothelioma, or simply mesothelioma.
Benign tumors of the mesothelium are known to occur, but are much rarer
than the more common mesothelioma cancer.
While tumors of the mesothelium were first recognized in the late 18th
century, it was not until the middle of the 20th century that this
particular cancer was studied and examined with more detail. It was at
this time where suspicions of the cancer’s causal relationship with
asbestos exposure became more substantiated. A joint study through the
Department of Thoracic Surgery at the University of the
Witswaterand/Johannesburg General Hospital in South Africa provided the
most compelling evidence of the nexus between asbestos exposure and the
development of pleural mesothelioma.
Topics in this Section
Mesothelioma Risk Factors
Asbestos exposure is the primary risk factor for mesothelioma. Others
include Radiation, Zeolite and SV40. Read more in this section.
The primary cause of mesothelioma is asbestos exposure. Learn more about
direct occupational exposure as well as second hand exposure.Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma symptoms often mimic those of common respiratory ailments. Learn more about the signs and symptoms to be aware of.
Read about the diagnostic tests that doctors use to determine whether or
not a patient has mesothelioma including imaging scans and biopsies.
Pleural mesothelioma, peritoneal mesothelioma and pericardial
mesothelioma are the most common types of mesothelioma. Learn more.
Learn about the different staging systems that medical experts use find out how far mesothelioma cancer has spread.
Learn about the various factors that determine what the prognosis is for individuals that have been diagnosed with mesothelioma.
This section provides a wealth of information about mesothelioma
including the disease itself, latency period, survival rates, prevention
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