What Is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a cancerous disease affecting the mesothelial cells that make up the mesothelium – a thin membrane that lines the chest, heart, abdomen and pelvic walls. This form of cancer is rare and it is a direct result of exposure to asbestos..

Although reported cases of mesothelioma have increased in the past 20 years, it is still a relatively rare cancer. About 2,000 new cases are diagnosed each year in the United States .

Malignant Mesothelioma refers to any type of mesothelioma that is also malignant (as opposed to benign). The different types of mesothelioma are named for the area where they occur: pleural mesothelioma, peritoneal mesothelioma and pericardial mesothelioma.

The three major types of mesothelioma are;

Plueral Mesothelioma

Affects the lining of the lungs and is the most common variation of this cancer.  Symptoms include breathing and swallowing difficulties, coughing, shortness of breath, fever and weight loss.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Affects the abdomen. This variation is not as common as pleural.

Pericardial Mesothelioma

Affects the heart and surrounding tissue and is the rarest form of this cancer. Symptoms can include palpitations, breathing difficulties, and persistent coughing.

While Mesothelioma is most often classified according to where it occurs in the body, it may also be classified according to how the cells look under a microscope. When mesothelioma is grouped this way, there are three types:

  • Epitheloid
  • Sarcomatoid or fibrous
  • Mixed type (also known as biphasic type)

Between five and seven out of 10 cases (50-70 percent) of mesothelioma diagnosed are the epitheloid type. 

Overall the symptoms of mesothelioma are simialr to a number of other. Therefore, it is not unusual for the patient to be misdiagnosed. Although there are treatments for mesothelioma, they do not have a high success rate particularly when the cancer has reached its advanced stages..

Current treatments for mesothelioma include surgery, radiation therapy, palliative therapy and chemotherapy. The National Institute of Cancer along with a variety of other organizations and sponsors are currently conducting research into mesothelioma and carrying out clinical trials to try and find a treatment that will not only be more effective but will enable the successful treatment of the disease even in its later stages.

If you would like more information on your legal rights or medical options regarding Mesothelioma. please visit our site, Mesothelioma Reporter.org

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