Brief Facts about Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is known as a cancer which arises from the cells which lines the chest or abdominal cavities. This particular cancer typically occurs due to the exposure to asbestos or asbestos-related products. When mesothelioma attacks the chest, the doctor may opt for looking inside the chest cavity with special instrument which is called thoracoscope. When the disease impacts the abdomen, peritoneoscope will be put in into use. Regardless of the tool used to detect the disease, most doctors or specialists diagnose the disease by a biopsy. Commonly, the outlook for patients that are diagnosed with mesothelioma will depend on how early the cancer is detected and how aggressively it is treated.

In general, mesothelioma is known as a rare form of cancer which most frequently occurs from the cells which line the sacs of the chest, known as pleura or the abdomen. Pleural mesothelioma, among the occurring mesothelioma case, denotes the most common form, which often presents with symptoms in the chest area. Peritoneal mesothelioma is much less common. This can really impact the organs in the abdomen, and the symptoms are highly related to the area of the body, that is, nausea, abdominal swelling, vomiting, and also bowel obstruction. The least common form of mesothelioma is pericardial mesothelioma, which includes the sac surrounding the heart. There are basically two major cell types triggering mesothelioma, sarcomatoid and epithelial. Sometimes both of these cell types can exist at the same time. The sarcomatoid type is even rare and occurs in only around 15% of the overall mesothelioma cases; it portends worse prognosis. In rare cases, mesothelioma can result from benign, non-malignant cancerous cells. This particularly benign mesothelioma can be cured by surgery.

Detecting the Early Symptoms of Mesothelioma

Well basically the symptoms of mesothelioma can be really confusing. Most symptoms of pleural mesothelioma include the respiratory system and oftentimes are misdiagnosed since most medical professionals see this disease very rarely. It is estimated that more than 2,000 people in the United States are diagnosed annually with the cancer of mesothelioma. By contrast,an estimated 150,000 Americans suffer from lung cancer every single year. The initial symptoms of pleural mesothelioma often are confused with asthma or pneumonia or another respiratory ailment. Even a specialist will call for considerable amount of time – in addition to the results of various complicated tests- so as to provide a definitive diagnosis. In accordance with a study conducted in 2011, involving 221 patients diagnosed with mesothelioma, most of the subjects reported similar symptoms in the early stages, which oftentimes before it has been diagnosed. They covered:

  • 79 % experienced shortness of breath
  • 64 %t suffered chest pain
  • 36 % had a chronic cough
  • 90 % presented with pleural effusions (which is the excess fluid around lungs)
  • 30 % experienced significant weight loss

If you find any of these symptoms appearing, and there has been a history of the exposure to asbestos, it is imperative that you see a specialist or a physician who can refer you to mesothelioma specialist.

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