WHAT IS MESOTHELIOMA?
Mesothelioma Definition: Mesothelioma is a rare and virulent malignant mesothelium cancer. Each organ of the human body is covered with mesothelium which forms a protective membrane. At the level of the lungs, it takes the name of pleura, peritoneum for the abdominal viscera and pericardium for the heart. Mesothelioma affects mesothelial cells. Pleural mesothelioma, the one that affects the pleura, is the most common. Most often it is due to exposure and inhalation of asbestos dust.
Mesothelioma develops rarely in the areas known as coelomic cavities; the peritoneum is known to be next most familiar root target of mesothelioma, after the pleura, and further followed by pericardium. The percentage of peritoneal mesothelioma is 0.5–3 cases/million habitats. The asbestos exposure is the principal risk agent for this condition. The analysis comprises on histological examination of the suspected victims.
WHAT CAUSES MESOTHELIOMA?
Causes of Mesothelioma: Just like in case of lung cancer, exposure to asbestos is a major cause of mesothelioma. The inhalation or ingestion of airborne asbestos fibres is the cause of mesotheliomas or cancers:
- of the pleura (outer lining of the lungs)
- of the peritoneum (membrane surrounding the abdominal cavity)
Smoking is another cause of cancer cell development within the pleural mesothelium and the risk of development and growth of cancer cells increases with the addiction of smoking. There are certain risk factors that are associated with the mesothelioma which is mentioned below:
Other risk factors are:
- the ionizing radiation
- other natural or industrial fibres (ceramics)
- the existence of chronic inflammatory processes
- exposure to beryllium and a number of chemical carcinogens
- the tobacco which multiplies the risks due to asbestos
The risks relate mainly to persons working in the
- the production of asbestos
- the insulation of buildings (before the entry into force of the ban on asbestos)
- decontamination of construction sites are poorly managed
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF MESOTHELIOMA?
Mesothelioma Cancer Symptoms: The mesothelioma cancer does not really show any symptoms in the early stages. Symptoms may occur when cancer progresses. Non-specific signs, common to most mesotheliomas, are night sweats and weight loss. There are also symptoms of pleural mesothelioma and peritoneal mesothelioma.
Pleural mesothelioma Symptoms:
- pain in the lower back or on the side of the chest
- respiratory problems such as shortness of breath or wheezing
- a cough that worsens or persists
- difficulty in swallowing
Peritoneal mesothelioma Symptoms:
- pain in the abdomen
- disturbance of digestion, eg nausea, vomiting or loss of appetite
- differences in intestinal transportation
- palpable mass in the abdomen
WHAT ARE THE TREATMENTS OF MESOTHELIOMA?
Mesothelioma Treatments: The treatment of mesothelioma extends to numerous possibilities. Below are the most frequently used options.
Surgery: Taking the surgery as an option for the treatment of mesothelioma entirely depends on the size and the location of a tumour. The surgery might be concerned with either the total or partial removal of a tumour along with a few healthy tissues surrounding the tumour. Surgery isn’t possible if a tumour has moved to multiple locations.
Pleurectomy: The purpose is to eradicate as much of a tumour as feasible. However, complementary treatments either chemotherapy or radiotherapy will often be performed for the elimination of the rest of cancer cells. General anaesthesia is used during the procedure.
Pneumonectomy: An intervention which consists of removing all the pleura and the lung. This operation is reserved for particular cases.
Radiotherapy: In external radiotherapy, a controlled beam focuses on the tumour and destroys it. Radiation damages all cells that are in the path of the beam normal cells like cancer cells. However, normal cells can recover from this type of damage better than cancer cells. Radiation therapy is most often used to relieve pain. It is sometimes administered after surgery to destroy cancer cells that may remain.
Chemotherapy: The chemotherapy involves the use of drugs in the form of tablets or injection. It is sometimes used before surgery or radiotherapy to reduce the size of a tumour or after surgery to try to eliminate cancer cells which are left. Most often, chemotherapy is used to reduce pain or to control the symptoms of advanced mesothelioma.