Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Mesothelioma-a Rare Type of Cancer

Mesothelioma is a particular type of cancer which occurs in the mesothelium and as a matter of fact it is not a type of lung cancer. Now to understand this properly you need to know what mesothelium is. This is cover of various body organs like the lungs, heart and abdomen,. The mesothelium covering these three organs are known as pleural, pericardial and peritoneal mesothelium respectively. These linings protect the respective organs and generate a fluid to lubricate them so that they can function easily. Now mesothelioma makes the mesothelial cells divide abnormally to form harmful tumors. Now mesothelioma does not limit itself within the mesothelium but spread in other parts of the body damaging them badly. This particular type of cancer can be benign or malignant. The malignant ones are not rare anymore and they are not at all responsive to the treatments.

Cause and Victims of Mesothelioma

There are various types of mesothelioma which are mostly caused by exposure to asbestos for a long time. In fact mesothelioma and malignant mesothelioma is the cause of the death of thousands of American residents who are into some occupation related to asbestos. Though there is a general idea that cancer is always related to smoking, mesothelioma has got nothing to do with it. Asbestos is a natural mineral that generates tiny fibers which harm the covering of the body organs and injure them to a high extent. Approximately 2000 new mesothelioma cases are detected in United States of America per year and almost 80%v of them have traces of asbestos in the affected area of their body. The Mesothelioma Research Association says that this disease can show up after around 35 to 50 years of working in industries like brick making, shipbuilding, welding, construction and asbestos sheet manufacturing.

Types of Mesothelioma

There are few varieties of mesothelioma. The first one is pleural mesothelioma which affects pleura, the membrane covering the lungs and the other two are pericardial mesothelioma and peritoneal mesothelioma. From the total number of mesothelioma cases, around three fourth is pleural and about 20% is peritoneal mesothelioma. Among the three of them pericardial mesothelioma is the rarest. The general symptoms of mesothelioma include breathing trouble, loss of appetite, coughing, severe pain in the affected area and inadequacy of sleep. Peritoneal mesothelioma can result in swelling and excessive accumulation of fluid in that region. The patient can feel extremely tired after little physical activity. Pericardial mesothelioma also gives rise to chest discomfort and palpitation.

Clinically mesothelioma is categorized in three different types which are sarcomatoid, epithelial and mixed. This disease was recognized in the year of 1700 and researches are going on to improve the techniques of treatment which include surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.