What is mesothelioma?


The mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects the mesothelial layers of the pleura, pericardium, and peritoneum. This type of tumor affects more men than women. It can be benign or malignant. The benign type is very rare and does not appear to have the same origin as the malignant tumor.


Malignant Mesothelioma Disease

The malignant mesothelioma is a multifactorial disease, which may involve genetic and external factors such as exposure to asbestos, commonly known as asbestos, which corresponds to 80% of cases of this disease with a latency period of 20 to 50 years of exposure and onset of the disease. The risk of having malignant mesothelioma due to this exposure depends on the size of the asbestos fibers, and not on their chemical components. The fibers that are long and thin have a greater carcinogenic potential, as they can penetrate easier in the lung and also, makes it more difficult the digestion of them by the phagocytes, thus stimulating the production of free radicals and a consequent mutation.

The most frequent symptoms are difficulty breathing and chest pains, both due to the accumulation of fluid in the pleura. Patients affected by peritoneal mesothelioma present first abdominal pain and sudden weight loss.

The diagnosis is made through examinations such as radiography, which is the first to be requested by the doctor since it is able to detect the accumulation of pleural fluid. Another diagnostic technique used is computed tomography, which is able to show the location and size of the tumor, as well as possible metastases. Through the puncture, it is possible to collect the liquid present in the pleura for the accomplishment of a laboratory examination.

In most cases, the diagnosis of this disease is made after metastasis, thus making it impossible to surgically remove the tumor. That is, the treatment will depend on the extent of the disease, and the doctor will choose the best treatment for the case, which may be chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy.

Mesotheliomas can start in 4 major areas in the body:

  • Pleural mesotheliomas - They form in the chest and represent 75% of mesotheliomas.
  • Peritoneal mesotheliomas - They form in the abdomen and make up most of the remaining cases.
  • Pericardial Mesotheliomas - They form on the lining of the heart (pericardium) and are very rare.
  • Mesotheliomas of the vaginal tunic - They form in the covering layer of the testicles and are also very rare.

Mesotheliomas can be classified according to the organization of their cells:

  • Epithelioid - This type has a better prognosis than the other types.
  • Sarcomatoid (fibrous) - About 10% of mesotheliomas correspond to this type.
  • Mixed (biphasic) - These mesotheliomas have both epithelioid and sarcomatoid areas, and represent 30% to 40% of mesotheliomas.

Malignant Mesothelioma

Malignant mesothelioma is also a rare type of cancer. That causes the growth of a tumor in the membranes that cover the organs of the chest or in the membranes that protect the organs of the abdomen.
Thus, depending on the affected site, there are 2 main types of malignant mesothelioma:
  • Pleural malignant mesothelioma: is the most common type that affects the tissue that covers the lungs;
  • Peritoneal malignant mesothelioma: it appears on the membrane that covers the organs of the abdomen.
Normally, malignant mesothelioma grows on one of the membranes, but it can quickly affect other organs, causing cancer in the lungs or stomach, for example.


Treatment for Malignant Mesothelioma

Treatment for malignant mesothelioma should be guided by an oncologist but is usually done with surgery to remove the maximum of affected tissue, supplemented with chemotherapy and radiation to eliminate the remaining tumor cells.
However, most mesotheliomas are diagnosed at very advanced stages, making treatment difficult. And decreasing survival chances for less than 12 months.

Symptoms of Malignant Mesothelioma

Symptoms of malignant mesothelioma may include:

  • Chest pain;
  • Difficulty breathing;
  • A persistent cough;
  • Frequent nausea and vomiting;
  • Fever below constant 38 ° C;
  • Change in bowel habits;
  • Sudden weight loss for no apparent reason.
The symptoms of malignant mesothelioma are more frequent in the more advanced stage of the disease. And may vary depending on the affected organs.



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Mesothelioma Master: What is mesothelioma?
What is mesothelioma?
The mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects the mesothelioma layer of the pleura, pericardium and peritoneum.Mesothelioma : concept, causes, clinical features, diagnosis, treatment and evolution -
Mesothelioma Master
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