Mesothelioma is one of the infrequent forms of cancer that is frequently caused by asbestos exposure. The disease typically affects the mesothelium tissues.
This type of tumor usually affects the cells making up the mesothelial lining both in the abdomen and the chest. Mesothelioma first attacks the pericardial tissues, pleural wall, and the peritoneal wall.
Sometimes, medical specialists have isolated the tumor from the stomach tissues, but this is an infrequent case. Mesothelioma can also occur in the ovaries and the scrotum.
Mesothelioma classically invades the chest wall linings or the throat linings, especially during the second stage. This kind of cancer as a prolonged incubation time, usually 15-40 years. Smoking is not attributed to the development of the mesothelioma.
The primary symptom associated with the mesothelial tumor is the build-up of fluid in between the chest cavity and the lung tissues. Other symptoms include abdominal pain, ascites-collection of fluid in the abdominal region, abnormality in the bowel function, formation of abdominal mass and cachexia- rapid weight loss.
Manifestations such as trouble when swallowing food, painful swelling on the neck and face can be indications that the malignancy has spread.
Symptoms of the pleural mesothelioma are: persistent pain in the chest, severe difficulty when breathing, accumulation of the fluid in pleural lining, persistent cough, weight loss, and fever are the most common symptoms. Severe pain and struggling when breathing is as a result of pleural effusions.
Conversely, symptoms related to the peritoneal mesothelioma are weight loss, pain in the abdomen as well as abdominal mass due to the accumulation of the fluids.
What is crucial when it comes to treating and managing mesothelioma satisfactorily is the early detection of disease. This is crucial because this directly translates to better prognosis in the end.
Diagnosis starts with a review of the patient’s medical history, including probes that enable physicians to tell if he or she has ever been exposed to asbestos and asbestos products. Nevertheless, the ultimate diagnosis of mesothelioma is heavily dependent on a pathological exam, generally referred to as a biopsy.
Having said that, diagnosis and treatment of mesothelial cancer can be both hard and expensive as it may require the consultation of an experienced oncologist.
If it proves difficult confirming the disease using the fluid samples obtained; the medical specialist will resort to a surgical procedure referred to as thoracoscopy that is quite invasive.
the CT scans can help in diagnosis, but the most exhaustive diagnosis is confirmed with pathological exam of a biopsy.
Mesothelial cancer is fatal disease that is relatively rare, but in the last few years, the number of fatalities has gradually increased.