Mesothelioma is rare type of cancer affecting a large section of society as a silent killer which makes its appearances at such stage where it becomes almost impossible to reverse its damage. In this cancer the protective lining around inner body parts called mesothelium gets damaged and its cells become cancerous in nature which poses threat to internal body organs being protected under this lining.
What Causes Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is caused by direct or even indirect asbestos exposure. Only two to three months asbestos exposure is considered enough to cause mesothelioma. Asbestos fibers can enter the body into two ways including inhalation and ingestion. From both of these processes these fibers enter into human body and get lodged onto the protective lining of mesothelium. These fibers do not start making disturbance with mesothelium instantly. It can take decades to make them a crushing element into patient's body. After passing 10 to 20 years of their lodging onto mesothelium lining these fibers start making changes into this protective lining. By the passage of more time some of mesothelial cells become cancerous in nature and start to divide rapidly to grow in number. As these cells grow in number the mesothelium becomes more and more thick and starts producing fluid around it. These developments including cell proliferation, membrane thickening and fluid built up all results in creating pressure on surrounding body organs and patient starts showing symptoms of having some problem inside his body.
The patient suffering from mesothelioma can show various symptoms including difficulty in breathing while at rest, persistent chest or abdominal pain, disturbance in bowel habits, heart palpitations, unusual weight loss, anemia and fatigue etc.
What Options are Available to Diagnose Mesothelioma?
Here comes the stage of diagnosis. For diagnosing a patient for mesothelioma a complete overview of his previous medical history is taken into account along with current physical examination of his body. If he has history of asbestos exposure then the chances of having mesothelioma further increase. In this situation various imaging techniques including MRI and CT scan can be used to take internal body images. If required then biopsy can also be considered as a diagnostic technique which involves minor surgery to remove fluid from mesothelium membrane to test in laboratory. If laboratory test proves the presence of cancerous cells into patient's body his doctors and physicians start making the treatment plan to move ahead.
Types of Mesothelioma Cancer
Mesothelioma occurs in three forms including pleural mesothelioma, peritoneal mesothelioma and pericardial mesothelioma. In each type the existence of covered body organs comes under constant threat of being damaged by cancerous cell proliferation. Pleural mesothelioma is the most common type which makes about 80% of total mesothelioma cases. In this type the pleura, protective lining around chest cavity, gets damaged and becomes cancerous in nature. In peritoneal mesothelioma, the peritoneum, protective lining around abdominal cavity and lungs is damaged while in case of pericardial mesothelioma the protective lining around heart, the pericardium, becomes affected by these killing asbestos fibers.
How Mesothelioma can be Treated?
Whatever the type of mesothelioma the patient is suffering from, his doctors can choose one of treatment options considered viable for treating such cases. These treatment options include chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery. In case of pericardial mesothelioma cancer surgery can be the last resort or even can be avoided altogether due to the involvement of proximity of heart. Whatever treatment option doctors choose to treat mesothelioma it can mainly focus to increase the life span of that patient rather then reversing the damage already occurred to his internal body system.