Mesothelioma Cancer | Asbestos Exposure & Risk | Mesothelioma Symptoms & Statistic | Diagnostic Methods | Treatment And Side Effects
Mesothelioma, an extremely rare form of cancer, derives its name from mesothelium, which is the tissue infected by this cancer. Mesothelium is a membrane covering most of the body viscera. Factually speaking, mesothelium consists of two layers: one of the two forms an immediate cover of the organ; the other one leaves a space around the first layer and then forms a covering. A fluid released by mesothelium fills this sac-like space. Function of this fluid is lubrication, in other words, it allows convenient and frictionless motion of the internal body organs.
Mesothelial tissue, if surrounds the lungs and chest cavity, is called pleura, it is called peritoneum if it surrounds the abdominal organs and pericardium if it surrounds heart. Mesothelial lining surrounding the male reproductive system is called tunica vaginalis testis, and the one surrounding internal female reproductive organs is called tunica serosa uteri.
Mesothelioma is a disorder, in which uncontrollable division of cells of mesothelium leads to formation of a tumor in this tissue, which, in most of the cases is malignant. That is why, mesothelioma is also known as cancer of mesothelium. The cancerous cells of mesothelioma can metastasize to other body parts and can also damage nearby tissues. Most of the cases of mesothelioma begin in pleural cavity. Peritoneal and pericardial origin is less common. Rarely, mesothelioma may originate in groin and give a hernia-like appearance.
Mesothelioma is divided into two broad categories:
1) Malignant mesothelioma
2) Benign-fibrous mesothelioma
Malignant mesothelioma is a cancerous form of tumor, which is virtually always caused by sustained exposure to asbestos. The time period between first exposure to asbestos and appearance of first symptoms can be anywhere between 20-50 years. In some cases, it may stretch even beyond that. Besides the treatment methods mentioned forth, supportive treatment such as pain-relief and oxygen may also help in relieving the symptoms a bit. Even though. Prognosis depends upon the stage of cancer, and availability of effective treatment options, different studies indicate median period to be between 4 and 18 months.
Benign-fibrous mesothelioma is a non-cancerous tumor of the pleura. This is a localized type of tumor, which, as studies suggest, affects men more frequently then women. The usual symptoms to appear are chronic cough and shortness of breath. The reason for appearance of these symptoms is, the tumor grows to a large size at times and compresses the lung, causing shortness of breath. During physical examination, the health care professional may observe a clubbed appearance of fingers. Pleural effusion is a complication of this disorder.
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