Mesothelioma – Symptoms and causes

mesothelioma definition

The malignant mesothelioma is a type of cancer that is happening in the thin layer of tissue which covers the majority of the internal organs (also known as mesothelium). This is an aggressive and deadly form of cancer. There are treatments for mesothelioma but for many people who suffer from mesothelioma there is not a cure. There are different types of mesothelioma which depend on what parts of the mesothelium are affected. In most cases, the mesothelioma is affecting the tissue which surrounds the lungs (also known as pleura) and this type is known as pleural mesothelioma. There are other rare types of mesothelioma which are affecting the tissue in the abdomen (this type is known as peritoneal mesothelioma), around the testicles and around the heart. You should know that the mesothelioma is not including a form of noncancerous (benign) tumors that happen in the chest and in some cases is known as benign mesothelioma or solitary fibrous tumor.

mesothelioma prognosis

Mesothelioma symptoms

The signs and symptoms of mesothelioma vary depending on where the cancer happens.

  1. Pleural mesothelioma:

    This type of mesothelioma is affecting the tissue which is surrounding the lungs. The signs and symptoms of this type of mesothelioma are next:

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Unusual lumps of tissue under the skin on your chest
  • Shortness of breath
  • Painful coughing
  • Chest pain under the rib cage
  1. Peritoneal mesothelioma:

    This type of cancer happens in the tissue of abdomen. Here are the signs and symptoms of this type of cancer:

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Lumps of tissue in the abdomen
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Abdominal pain
  1. Other forms of mesothelioma:

    The signs and symptoms of other types of mesothelioma are not known because these forms are very rare. The mesothelioma of tunica vaginalis (this type of mesothelioma is affecting the tissue surrounding the testicles) and it can be first detected as a mass or swelling on a testicle. The pericardical mesothelioma (it is affecting the tissue that surrounds the heart) is having symptoms like chest pains and breathing difficulty.

Mesothelioma causes

As we know, the cancer is beginning when series of genetic mutations happen within a cell which is causing the cell to grow and multiply out of control. It is not known what is the cause for initial genetic mutations which lead to mesothelioma but in some studies are found some factors which can increase the risk of this condition. This type of cancer is likely to form because of an interaction between many factors, such as your lifestyle choices, your health conditions, your environment and your inherited conditions.

Mesothelioma risk factors

The primary risk factor for mesothelioma is asbestos exposure. This is a mineral that is found naturally in the environment. Asbestos fibers are strong. They are resistant to heat. This property is making them useful in many different applications, such as flooring, shingles, brakes, insulation and many other products. When asbestos is broken up, such as when you are removing asbestos insulation or during the mining process, then dust can be created. If the dust is swallowed or inhaled, then the asbestos fibers will settle in the stomach or lungs where they can cause irritation which could lead to mesothelioma. How is this process happening is not completely understood. There are some cases when it can take 20 – 40 years or more for mesothelioma to develop after someone has been exposed to asbestos. It is known that there are many people who have asbestos exposure with yeas never develop mesothelioma but other people with very brief exposure develop this disease. This means that other factors can be involved in determining whether someone gets mesothelioma or not. You can inherit a predisposition to cancer or some other conditions which could increase your risk of mesothelioma. Here are some factors which can increase your risk of mesothelioma:

  • If you live with someone who works with asbestos:

    Those people who are exposed to asbestos may carry the fibers home on their skin and clothing. The exposure to these stray fibers over many years can increase the risk of other family members to get mesothelioma.

  • A family history of mesothelioma:

    You may have an increased risk of mesothelioma if your parent, sibling or child has mesothelioma.

You may have a personal history of asbestos exposure

It is known that if you have been directly exposed to asbestos fibers at home or work, then your risk of mesothelioma is increased


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