What is Mesothelioma?

Malignant mesothelioma is a rare and deadly cancer which is caused by the exposure to asbestos. It commonly takes twenty to fifty years to develop and occurs primarily in the lining of the lungs, abdomen, chest, and heart. The types of mesothelioma are quite various as the cancer may occur in various parts in the body. Malignant mesothelioma is a cancer of the mesothelium which is caused by the exposure to asbestos. The mesothelium denotes a thin membrane which protects and also lubricates various body cavities, such as the abdominal cavities and the chest.

Where Mesothelioma Develops

As explained, there are a number of mesothelioma cancers which may occur in the body, depending on the first site the fibrous asbestos get lodged. First, there is pleural mesothelioma. The cancer of mesothelium in the lungs is known as pleural mesothelioma. It accounts for three out of four mesothelioma diagnoses since most asbestos fibers get inhaled and then lodged in the lining of the lungs. Another type of mesothelioma is the peritoneal mesothelioma. The cancer of mesothelium in the area surrounding the abdomen is widely known as peritoneal mesothelioma. This is mainly cause by the ingesting asbestos fibers and accounts for nearly 20 percent of all mesothelioma diagnoses. The last type of mesothelioma, which is still quite common, is the pericardial mesothelioma. The cancer of mesothelium which surrounds the heart is known as the pericardial mesothelioma. This is rather rare form of mesothelioma and is not commonly diagnosed while the patient is still alive. In addition, mesothelioma can develop in the lining of the testicles, leading to the development of testicular mesothelioma, which is so rare and occurs in less than one percent of the entire case of mesothelioma cancers.

The Symptoms of Mesothelioma

Hereunder are the classifications of mesothelioma symptoms divided by the first site the fiber gets lodged.

Pleural MesotheliomaPeritoneal MesotheliomaPericardial Mesothelioma
Effusions (Fluid)

Weight Loss

Shortness of Breath

Persistent Dry Cough

Persistent Chest Pain

Difficulty Swallowing

General Fatigue

Abdominal Pain

Weight Loss

Nausea / Vomiting

Bowel Irregularity

General Fatigue

Seizures (10 percent of patients)

Ascites (Fluid)

Difficulty Breathing

Chest Pain

General Fatigue

Weight Loss

Irregular Heartbeat


Heart Murmurs

The Causes of Mesothelioma

Malignant mesothelioma is almost always exclusively related to prolonged exposure to asbestos. Asbestos is known as naturally occurring mineral which became so popular in the 20th century due to the heat resistance and insulting properties. In fact, asbestos has been used in a wide variety of commodities and products from building construction materials to car parts. Mesothelium is known as the lining protecting certain internal organs and comprises of mesothelioma cells. Asbestos fibers may be ingested or inhaled and lodge themselves in the mesothelium. The fibers are hard for the body to expel. In most cases, the fibers are ingested and end up in the lining surrounding the lungs as well as chest, which is known as the pleura. In other cases, the fibers may be ingested and end up in the lining of the stomach and abdomen, which is known as the peritoneum.

In the rare cases, the fibers of asbestos find their way to pericardial lining which surrounds the heart and trigger pericardial mesothelioma. The cause of this particular type of mesothelioma are still under study.

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