What is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos, a mineral found in nature. While intact, asbestos doesn’t pose much of a threat. However, when the mineral is disturbed, pieces of its fibers become loose and airborne. WhoeverÂ breathes them in can develop a range of health complications, including mesothelioma cancer.
In general, mesothelioma affects the lining of the body’s most vital organs, including the lungs, heart and the abdominal cavity. Depending on the type of mesothelioma and the area that is affected, victims may experience lesser or more severe symptoms. There are actually three different kinds of mesothelioma:
- Pleural Mesothelioma Pleural mesothelioma affects the lining of the lungs (pleura) and makes up about 75 percent of all mesothelioma cases. The most common symptoms of pleural mesothelioma include chest pain, shortness of breath, fluid buildup, and a persistent cough. Victims can also experience pain when breathing.
- Peritoneal Mesothelioma Peritoneal mesothelioma affects the lining of the abdomen (peritoneum) and accounts for between 20 to 25 percent of all known mesothelioma cases. Those who are diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma have the best life expectancy, especially if the cancer is caught and treated as soon as possible. However, while peritoneal mesothelioma doesn’t typically spread to the lungs, it has been shown to spread other areas in the abdomen, including the ovaries, liver, and intestines. Common symptoms include stomach pain, fluid buildup, sudden and unexplained weight loss and loss of appetite, nausea, blood clots, and fever.
- Pericardial Mesothelioma As the name suggests, pericardial mesothelioma targets the heart. The most common symptoms of this type of mesothelioma cancer are chest pain, fatigue, fluid buildup, and heart murmurs. Of all the different kinds of mesothelioma cancer, pericardial mesothelioma is especially hard to detect and diagnose. In addition, the cancer has a high chance of metastasizing to the lungs or abdomen, so obtaining medical treatment right away is critical.
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