Mesothelioma or Asbestos Question?





Types of Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a very dangerous kind of cancer that is almost exclusively linked to asbestos exposure. It affects the mesothelium, a protective membrane that lines certain cavities within the body. Mesothelioma can be classified by the type of tissue it affects and the area of the body in which it is found. It can also be classified as either benign (tumors that do not grow or spread) or malignant (tumors that can increase in mass and spread across the body). Sadly, it is usually malignant.

Types of Mesothelioma Cancer Cells

Healthy bodily tissue grows when cells divide; in other words, one cell develops and eventually divides into two cells, each of which eventually divides again. Like all forms of cancer, mesothelioma results when some of the body’s cells become damaged or abnormal. These damaged cells can divide much more quickly than healthy ones, creating masses of defective cells known as tumors.

There are three basic categories of mesothelioma cancer cells:

  • Epithelioid or epithelial mesothelioma: This kind of cancer originates in the mesothelium itself. It affects the tissue that lines and protects the lungs, heart, and other organs. It is the most common kind of mesothelioma, and also the most treatable.
  • Sarcomatoid mesothelioma: Of course, sarcomatoid mesothelioma also affects the mesothelium. However, it originates in different kinds of tissue, and then spreads to the abdomen’s protective membrane. It can begin in muscle, bone, or fat tissue. It is both the rarest and deadliest form of mesothelioma.
  • Biphasic or mixed mesothelioma: This is a form of cancer that combines symptoms of both epithelioid and sarcomatoid mesothelioma. Sometimes one case of cancer can originate in different places, or it may simply be too difficult to determine its true origin. About 20 – 30% of mesothelioma cases are biphasic.

Doctors determine which kind of mesothelioma a patient is suffering by examining cancerous cells under a microscope. Different types of cancerous cells will have different appearances.

Organs Affected by Mesothelioma

In addition to the type of cancerous cell involved, doctors also categorize mesothelioma based on the area of the body it affects. These areas can also be divided into three categories:

  • Pleural mesothelioma: This is the most common form of mesothelioma. It affects the pleura, a membrane that surrounds and protects the lungs. Unfortunately, it is difficult to diagnose because its symptoms can be caused by so many different illnesses. These symptoms include coughing, shortness of breath, chest pain, and weight loss.
  • Peritoneal mesothelioma: This disease damages the peritoneum, an area of the mesothelium that lines and protects the stomach, liver, intestines, and other organs. It is also difficult to diagnose due to non-specific symptoms. Early warning signs can include abdominal pain, swelling, loss of appetite, and nausea.
  • Pericardial mesothelioma: This is the rarest form of mesothelioma. It affects the pericardium, a part of the mesothelium that protects the heart. Sadly, it can develop slowly and is often resistant to treatment. Symptoms include shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat, and a persistent cough.

Doctors distinguish between these types of mesothelioma based on the patient’s symptoms and the results of lab tests.

Seeking Help

Mesothelioma is a major disease that requires medical treatment as soon as possible. In addition, many patients and their loved ones need other kinds of support. Financial, emotional, and social assistance may all be necessary for people coping with this illness. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related illness, it is very important to seek out the mesothelioma help you need.

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