Mesothelioma, which is more specifically recognized as malignant mesothelioma, is a rare type of cancer of the mesothelial cells that usually line and wrap the lungs (pleura). Mesothelial cells live as the membrane (lining), which covers the external surface of our body organs. Most of the individuals with mesothelioma have had exposure to asbestos and fibers at a certain time during their life. The majority of people who acquired mesothelioma have participated in jobs where they breathed in asbestos. It has also been stated that washing or handling the clothing of a family member who is involved in jobs linked with asbestos increases their threat of acquiring mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is commonly divided into three types:
• Pleural mesothelioma - Affects the pleura, which is the membrane surrounding the lungs. It is the most widely recognized kind.
• Peritoneal mesothelioma - Affects the membrane of the abdomen, which is the peritoneum. It is the second most widely recognized kind.
• Pericardial mesothelioma – Affects the protective layer which covers the heart. It is the most uncommon kind.
Unlike from lung cancer, there appears to be no relationship between tobacco smoking and mesothelioma. However, smoking greatly enhances the danger of other asbestos-induced cancers because it has a synergistic effect. Several individuals who were exposed to asbestos have acquired injuries for asbestos-linked disease, including mesothelioma.
Signs and symptoms of mesothelioma include shortness of breath due to fluid between the lungs and the chest wall, (pleural effusion) or chest wall ache, and inexplicable weight loss. The diagnosis might be made with CT scan and chest X-ray, but has to be proved pathologically with a biopsy and microscopic assessment. A thoracoscopy ( which is done by placing a tube along with a camera into the chest) can be used to obtain biopsy material and permits the introduction of materials such as talc to wipe out the pleural space (a procedure known as pleurodesis). This prevents more fluid from building up and pushing on the lungs.
What are the treatment options for mesothelioma?
Treatment relies on a number of factors, such as: the location of the cancer, the stage of the cancer (in terms of how advanced it is) as well as the age and general health of the patient. The following are some of the recommended treatments:
Surgery - this means eradicating tumors by surgical procedure. Surgery is commonly recommended only during the premature stages of the cancer. It might eliminate the entire cancer, or at the minimum, diminish some clinical manifestations and slow it down.
Chemotherapy – This treatment is recommended when the tumors can’t be eliminated using surgical procedures. It may help to contract them, as well as decelerate their development. Managing chemotherapy prior to surgery can make it simpler to eliminate a tumor. Chemotherapy performed following surgery to prevent reappearance is known as adjuvant chemotherapy.
Radiotherapy – usually recognized as radiation therapy. For individuals who acquire pleural mesothelioma, it may help to alleviate symptoms. Radiotherapy is occasionally used to avoid metastasis following surgery or biopsy.