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Malignant Mesothelioma is a very rare cancer which is caused due to over exposure to asbestos. It is the most critical form of cancer caused by asbestos. It affects the thin layer of tissue that covers the majority of your internal organs (mesothelium); from this term it got it's name.

The complexity of Mesothelioma lies in the fact that majority of doctors are not even able to easily diagnose it. Its because the disease often presents with symptoms that mimic other common ailments. Prolonged treatment of mesothelioma is not yet available but surgery and chemotherapy are widely used at earlier stages.


Types Of Mesothelioma: 

Doctors divide mesothelioma into different types based on what part of the mesothelium is affected.

Pleural Mesothelioma:
  • Affects lungs protective lining in the chest cavity.
  • Covers about three quarters of all mesothelioma cases.

Peritoneal mesothelioma:
  • It affects the abdominal cavity.
  • 20% to 33% of all mesothelioma cases arise from the peritoneum.

Pericardial mesothelioma:
  • It affects the cardiac cavity.

Mesothelium is a cell membrane which encompass the cavities within the body encompassing the chest, abdomen, and heart. The fluid from mesothelium cells is used as lubricant. The mesothelium is particularly important to organs that are commonly in motion, such as expansion or contraction of the lungs, stomach, or heart.

The Mesothelium cells are :
  • Pleura: mesothelium of the chest cavity.
  • Peritoneum: mesothelium of the abdomen cavity.
  • Pericardium : mesothelium of the cardiac cavity.
  •  

Symptoms:

Signs and symptoms of mesothelioma depends on the type of the cell involved:

Pleural Mesothelioma:
  • Painful coughing
  • Unnatural Lumps of tissue under the skin on your chest
  • Chest pain under the rib cage
  • Weight loss

Peritonial Mesothelioma:
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Abdominal pain
  • Tissue lumps in abdomen and weight loss.

Pericardial Mesothelioma:
  • Breathing difficulty 
  • Chest pain.
  • Weight loss.

If you are showing any of the above symptoms; its a wakeup call. See yoour doctor and have your tests done. Mesothelioma is curable at earlier stages.


Diagnosis:

The diagnosis of the mesothelioma is not 100% effective in checking out the disease. Its because the cancer form shows the symptoms of other diseases which can be confused and the pathology can be very difficult to distinguish from adenocarcinoma of the lung.

Types of malignant cells are determined by biopsy surgery. A full body scan including magnetic resonance image (MRI), computer topography (CT scan), positron emission tomography (PET), is done to determine the extent and area of the disease.


Treatment:


 Mesothelioma treatment include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. Currently the only FDA approved chemotherapy regimen is Alimta® and Cisplatin.

  • Surgical resection of mesothelioma is possible in early-stage-diagnosed patients. 
  • Thoracentesis and pleurodesis are also commonly performed in patients with malignant mesothelioma so as to minimize cancer-related symptoms. 
  • Unconventional therapies are being used in a lot of mesothelioma cases to assist conventional treatments.


Charities:

In order to succeed in medical treatment of mesothelioma, a lot of research projects are undergoing under various charities and medical organizations. Some of the charities are :

  • Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation
  • International Mesothelioma Program
  • National Cancer Institute
  • American Cancer Society
  • LUNGevity Foundation
  • Cancer Hope Network
  • Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO)
  • Miles for Meso


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