Malignant Mesothelioma: Causes, Symptoms, and Survival

Malignant mesothelioma is actually a rare type of cancer which grows in the thin layer of tissue which covers the lungs, heart, and other internal organs in human’s body. This particular membrane, which is called mesothelium, protects organs in the body by making fluid which allows, for instance, the lungs to move while it works during breathing process.

In accordance with the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance, basically there are three varieties of malignant mesothelioma: pleural mesothelioma, which appears in the lung’s lining, also known as pleural; peritoneal mesothelioma, which occurs in the abdominal cavity, or the peritoneum; and the pericardial mesothelioma, commonly occurring in the lining of the heart, or the pericardium.

The Symptoms of Malignant Mesothelioma

The symptoms of mesothelioma particularly show up thirty or even fifty years after the initial exposure to asbestos, in accordance with the American Lung Association. As such, by the time a person is infected by mesothelioma they are over the age of 65.

The symptoms of malignant mesothelioma are actually varied, depending on where the cancer grows in the body. In pleural mesothelioma, which impacts the tissue around the lungs, symptoms include chest pain, shortness of breath, unexplained weight loss, painful coughing, and the lumps of tissue under the skin on the chest, in accordance with the Mayo Clinic.

Peritoneal mesothelioma, which occurs when the condition appears in the abdomen, has the symptoms of pain, lumps or swelling in the abdomen and also unexpected weight loss. The main risk factor for malignant mesothelioma denotes the exposure to asbestos. This is a natural fibrous silicate mineral that is found in soil and rock which is heat resistant and very durable. Once it was used in everything from car parts to insulation until its hazard potential became better known in the 70s. In accordance with the American Lung Association, seventy percent to eight percent of patients that are diagnosed with mesothelioma had severe contact with asbestos or asbestos-related products.

Research on Survivors of Malignant Mesothelioma

Several findings on the immune system of malignant mesothelioma patients lead researchers to speculate that biological phenomena commonly categorized as chronic immunosuppression that is associated with the presence of asbestos fibers in the exposed workers may have triggered the eventual breakdown of the surveillance system and the outset of the neoplasm.

In other words, scientists are suggesting the malignant mesothelioma may originate from immune suppression. If that is the case, it would provide the ground for the role that immune system and immune boosting approaches may have important role in the management of mesothelioma. For instance, if a breakdown in patient’s immune system aided in leading to cancer then a result would be that strengthening the immune system would be beneficial in managing the cancer. These are concepts only and should be further probed. This study has been corroborated by the American Lung Association and Mayo Clinic, which were involved in the study on patients diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma.

As such, keeping immune system active and robust will be very essential in protecting us from asbestos-related disease and controlling the growth of cancer on mesothelioma patients.

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