All About Mesothelioma

All About Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that attacks cells that affect the tissue that lines the body's cavities called the mesothelium. Malignant mesothelioma is a type of cancer that occurs in the thin layer of tissue that lines most internal organs (mesothelium).

Mesothelioma is an aggressive and deadly form of cancer. There are treatments available for mesothelioma, but for many people who suffer from this disease, the cure is not possible.

Doctors divide mesothelioma into various types based on what part of the mesothelium was affected. In general, mesothelioma affects the tissue that surrounds the lungs (pleura). This type is called "pleural mesothelioma." Other less frequent types of mesothelioma affect the tissue of the abdomen (peritoneal mesothelioma), the tissue that surrounds the heart, and the tissue that lines the testicles. The only known cause of this disease is exposure to asbestos

Diagnostic incidence

Between 2,5000 and 3,000 new cases are diagnosed annually in the US. This indicates that although it is not a disease with a huge incidence, it will be according to the forecasts.

Age of diagnosis

Mesothelioma is usually diagnosed in people between 50 and 70 years old. Although there are earlier and later diagnoses, these cases are considered to be outside the statistics.

Demographics of patients

More cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed in men than in women, which is due to the increased risk of occupational exposure to asbestos. However, there is no evidence to suggest that men are more prone to suffer from this disease than women.

Life expectancy

Mesothelioma is usually diagnosed in the later stages, which makes the survival prognosis low. Many patients are given a life expectancy of no more than one year. However, it must be taken into account that an early diagnosis dramatically improves life expectancy. As alternatives to treatment are being developed, it is foreseeable that hope will increase.

Mesothelioma latency

The latency period in mesothelioma after exposure to asbestos is quite long, usually between 20 and 50 years. For long periods of time, asbestos fibers are lodged in the lungs, inflaming the outer tissue of these, which in many cases is the precursor of mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma remission

Mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer. However, there are some patients who have a remission of the tumor. Mesothelioma usually expands locally to the lungs, lymph nodes or abdominal cavity

Mesothelioma cure

There is no cure for mesothelioma although much progress has been made in its treatment. Patients who are diagnosed in the first stages can survive many years if they are treated with chemotherapy, with an intervention or with radiotherapy. Combining alternative treatments with traditional treatments for cancer has a positive effect on patients

Mesothelioma survivors

Traditional treatments, nutritional supplements, palliative therapies and de-stressing techniques have helped many patients to survive beyond the expectations originally given to them.

Life expectancy in mesothelioma

The general state of health, the phase of cancer at the time of diagnosis and the suitability of the patient with respect to aggressive treatments, affects life expectancy. Those who have been diagnosed with cancer in the early stages and who have a good state of health are those with the best prognosis.

The first symptoms of mesothelioma

There are more than 100 diseases that are covered under the umbrella of cancer. The common denominator of all is an abnormal division of cells - malignant cells are those that grow without control. It is known that cell division is an important process of the body that allows to grow and repair the damage caused, when the DNA that controls the division of the cells fails, the cancer enters the scene. These cancer cells invade other healthy tissues, something that healthy cells do not.

The first symptoms of mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that not even those who suffer from it are aware that they suffer from it. The symptoms are not clear at the beginning of the disease and may go unnoticed. There are patients who do not even have the symptoms. All these circumstances can lead to the disease is not diagnosed or is misdiagnosed for years. It is imperative that a person who has the first symptoms immediately see their doctor. If the mesothelioma is not diagnosed or not treated, the cancer can spread throughout the body.

Stay well informed about the first symptoms of this malignant disease. offers you a detailed informative package with the essential information of this disease. For those who suffer the first symptoms, a proper diagnosis can lead to a better prognosis and better treatment options. Fill out the questionnaire below to send you this vital information.

Period of latency

This carcinogenic modality can remain silent for up to 50 years after exposure to asbestos. If a person knows that they have been exposed to asbestos it is important that they tell their doctor who will make a specific follow-up for this disease. The doctor will monitor the lungs so you can check for signs of the disease. A person has a longer life expectancy if the cancer is detected in its first stages. The best recovery options take place when the disease is treated before the symptoms have appeared.

Basic symptoms of mesothelioma

The first symptoms are usually respiratory limitation and a feeling of heaviness in the chest area. 99% of patients have these two symptoms. However, since these two symptoms do not seem serious, many of the patients do not go to their doctor. Respiratory limitation or heaviness are caused by the fluid that is stored in the lungs. These two symptoms should be considered seriously especially if the person has a history of exposure to asbestos.

Types of mesothelioma

The pulmonary and pectoral zone is the most common zone for the development of mesothelioma. This type of mesothelioma is called pleural mesothelioma. The abdominal cavity is also an ideal area for mesothelioma to develop. Any tumor that is lodged in this area refers to peritoneal mesothelioma. The symptoms of each type of mesothelioma are very similar to each other and may appear overlapping. Pericardial mesothelioma affects the membrane that covers the heart

Additional symptoms of mesothelioma

Some symptoms of pleural mesothelioma include pain in the back, chest and groin, cough, difficulty swallowing, fatigue and weight loss. Peritoneal mesothelioma is accompanied by abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, back pain, anemia and intestinal obstruction. Both types of mesothelioma leave the patient with a feeling of general weakness. It is extremely important that the person visit their doctor as soon as these symptoms appear. The longer the disease remains untreated, the lower the chances of finding an effective treatment.

Similar diseases

Any of the symptoms described above may indicate that the person suffers from asbestosis, which is the first result of an exposure to asbestos. However, not because an asbestosis is diagnosed the person will have to develop a mesothelioma later. It is crucial that if a person has the symptoms, they will undergo an examination to see if it is a benign or malignant disease. Asbestosis must be specifically controlled to see if it becomes a malignant disease and can seriously affect health.

Types of mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that originates in the mesothelium, a protective layer that covers the internal organs of the body. The different types of mesothelioma is a way to classify the disease depending on the area of the body where the cancer lies.

Find out what are the different types of mesothelioma and the specific treatments there are. Fill out the questionnaire below and from we will send you an informative packet about diagnosis, treatment and clinical trials.

Pleural mesothelioma

The pleural mesotheliomaIt usually develops in the chest cavity and lungs. It is the most malignant type of mesothelioma, since it usually expands to numbers of body organs and lymph nodes. The difficulty of diagnosis and detection make the treatment hard. Its typical symptoms, such as chest pain, weight loss and fever, are too common to be detected as cancer precursors. Other more severe symptoms such as difficulty in breathing and pleural fluid do not manifest until the disease has progressed. The hope of survival for those who suffer from this disease is tragically low. Only 8% of patients manage to live an average of 3 to 5 years since the symptoms appear, placing the general life expectancy at around 12 months.

Cancer that affects the mesothelium, a membrane that surrounds certain areas of the body, including those of the lungs and heart organs, is called mesothelioma. Mesothelioma occurs when the mesothelium cells divide uncontrollably.

Types of mesothelioma

Pleural mesothelioma develops in the lung zone, peritoneal mesothelioma in the abdominal area, pericardial mesothelioma in the cardiac area, and testicular mesothelioma in the male genital area. Pleural mesothelioma is the most common modality and accounts for 75% of cases.

Causes of pleural mesothelioma

Asbestos is the main cause of pleural mesothelioma, and has been used for many industrial and domestic applications. This mineral was an industrial advantage in manufacturing processes. At the beginning of the 20th century it was discovered that asbestos was dangerous to the health of whoever was exposed to it. The employers and the state itself were aware of these dangers but did not inform their workers and did not prevent them from being exposed to this material. Asbestos was banned in the United States in the late 1980s, except for a few applications that were rigorously regulated.

Period of latency

When someone is exposed to asbestos, the fibers are embedded in the body. These fibers aggravate the cells and as a result the cancer blooms. Someone who has been exposed to asbestos can live for decades without developing any symptoms. The latency period of mesothelioma can be from 20 to 50 years.

Symptoms of pleural mesothelioma

The indicators of pleural mesothelioma are often confused with symptoms of other ailments, which causes the diagnosis to be delayed. Symptoms include:
  • Fatigue
  • Persistent cough, usually dry and rough
  • Cough with blood
  • Chest and back pain
  • Swelling
  • Development of lumps under the skin on the chest
  • Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
  • Hoarsely
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Night sweats or fever

Diagnosis of pleural mesothelioma

Pleural mesothelioma, like other forms of cancer, is difficult to diagnose. As a consequence of part of the long latency period, and taking into account that mesothelioma shares symptoms with other more common diseases, pleural mesothelioma usually receives by mistake a treatment planned for other diseases such as pneumonia.

Taking into consideration the patient's symptoms, a medical examination, taking samples of fluid and tissue and undergoing imaging tests can help diagnose mesothelioma. In addition, the location of the tumor is confirmed when the patient undergoes imaging tests such as x-rays and scans.

The cancer can spread to other parts of the body, which is known as metastasis. Doctors use the term "stage of the disease" to indicate the extent of the tumor and to classify its size. The most common stage systems are the Butchart System, the TNM System and the Brigham system.

Treating the disease

After diagnosis, doctor and patient have to discuss treatment options, which means taking into account the patient's wishes and other factors. Radiation, surgery and chemotherapy are the most common treatments.

Radiation can be used internally, from within the body, or externally, from outside the body. Radiation generally destroys cells, but it is not usually seen as the best choice for mesothelioma. Chemotherapy involves the use of drugs to destroy the malignancy. This type of therapy can be used when the disease has spread or has reappeared after a remission. The intervention is a good option if the cancer has been caught in its first stage and the tumor can be removed. Sometimes patients combine both treatments as a multimodal attack against the disease.

One type of intervention, palliative, is used to mitigate the patient's suffering while suffering from the disease; another version aims to prolong the life expectancy of the patient. Respiratory difficulties can be alleviated by draining the pleural fluid, which is what is known as pleurocentesis or through injections of drugs or other substances that prevent the fluid from accumulating, which is known as pleurodesis. These treatments can help prolong the patient's life, but do not cure the disease.

In addition, patients may be interested in seeking alternative treatments. These techniques are not recognized as curative of cancer, but research has corroborated that combining it with other treatments can help with pain, stress and even prolong life expectancy. Some alternative therapies are yoga, reiki, massage therapy and animal therapy.

More and more research is being done to find a cure for this disease terminal. Since pleural mesothelioma is the most common form of this cancer, there are more and more studies on it.

Mesothelioma forecast

The early detection of mesothelioma is essential and is closely related to life expectancy. If a patient is diagnosed with the disease in the early stages, their life expectancy, compared to others who have been diagnosed in more advanced stages, will be much higher.

Research conducted in the United Kingdom shows that only ten percent of mesothelioma cases survive from 3 to 5 years, and only 8% more than 5 years. These studies mention some investigations that speak of survival rates higher than 50% after two years, which determines that the survival time range is very broad. It is important to remember that each case of cancer is unique and that these statistics are not mirror reflection of each individual situation. As the Cancer Research Center of the United Kingdom has said "there is no statistic to tell you what is going to happen to you. Your cancer is unique. The same type of cancer can grow differently in different people. The statistics are not going to tell you what treatments the people should have had or what treatment should have affected the prognosis. There are many individual factors that will affect your treatment and your situation.

Since it is difficult to detect cancer early because of the latency period where symptoms usually do not appear until 20 or 50 years old, if an individual has been exposed to asbestos, they should undergo regular medical examinations as a precautionary measure.

For those who have been diagnosed with cancer in its last stages, palliative treatments are usually highly recommended. These treatments, although they do not cure, are designed to reduce the pain and discomfort that is generated as the disease evolves, in order to improve the quality of life of the patient.

Pericardial mesothelioma

The least common form of mesothelioma is the pericardial and affects the heart. This rare form of cancer is found in the sac that surrounds the heart, also known as the pericardium. Cancer prevents the heart from transmitting oxygen to the body in an efficient way, and as a result the patient's body deteriorates as a result of the high heart rate. Heart attacks, chest pain, and limited breathing are the typical symptoms of pericardial mesothelioma.

Pericardial mesothelioma is one of the forms of cancer related to asbestos. This type of mesothelioma affects the pericardium, which is the membrane that surrounds the heart muscle. It also affects the membranes of the lungs. It is a rat form of mesothelioma, which in itself is already a rare disease. Tumors in the pericardium are usually diffuse, meaning they can not be localized and tend to cover the entire heart.

Pericardial mesothelioma accounts for half of the tumors that appear in the pericardium. The investigations carried out up to now speak of that this form of cancer supposes the between 1 and 6% of the cases of mesothelioma. This form of cancer is rare that no more than 150 cases have been used in the medical literature and no more than 200 coconut have been located worldwide.

Causes of pericardial mesothelioma

As in the other cases of mesothelioma, undoubtedly the most common cause is having been exposed to dust and asbestos fibers for long periods. Dust is a substance found in the construction, maintenance and repair of objects that contain asbestos. It is known that asbestos fibers once inhaled remain in the lungs and are sent through the blood to the pericardium and other membranes. The lymphatic system also comes into play when it comes to spreading the asbestos fibers to other parts of the body.

After the diagnosis there are some important steps that must be taken for what they must face mesothelioma. These steps can be the difference between succumbing to illness quickly and maintaining a good standard of living while fighting the disease. Even if symptoms that seem trivial appear, it is important to contact your doctor immediately, especially if you have been exposed to asbestos in the past.

Symptoms of pericardial mesothelioma

Having been exposed to asbestos is not good at all. Symptoms may take 20 to 50 years to appear and may not even become relevant until the cancer has reached its last stages. It is very important to understand what symptoms are so that the diagnosis can be made as soon as possible.

Many of the symptoms of pericardial mesothelioma are the same as the pleural and include:

  • Limitation on breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Chronic cough
  • Fatigue after a light exercise
  • Palpitations
  • Arrhythmia
  • I murmur
  • Fever or night sweats
  • Difficulty in respiation even at rest (dyspnea)
  • Orthopnea (difficulty in breathing when you are on your stomach)
These symptoms are the result of the fluid that is stored around the heart and that is caused by the cancerous tumor and are not symptoms of mesothelioma itself. The symptoms that are specific to pericardial mesothelioma are low blood pressure, fluid retention in the legs and palpitations.

Diagnosing the disease

Anyone with the symptoms described here should visit their doctor immediately. The first part of the treatment of pericardial mesothelioma is to have a quick and correct diagnosis.

Having a good diagnosis starts with a good medical history, which includes questions about possible exposure to asbestos. The next logical step will be to submit the patient to imaging tests, starting with an x-ray that will allow to know the state of health of the heart. After the x-ray, a tomography and an MRI will be done. Biopsy of the affected tissue is a common practice to confirm the presence of mesothelioma in the membrane that covers the heart.

Research is looking for new ways to diagnose the disease. New methods will make early detection possible.

Treatment of pericardial mesothelioma

Treatment may begin after mesothelioma has been diagnosed. Since there is no cure for mesothelioma, the treatments aim to prolong the life of the patient and in the time that in the time that you have the quality of life is the best. The investigations are aimed at finding new methods of treatment and even healing.

Treatment options include radiation, chemotherapy, surgery and medication. The disease must be diagnosed in the first stages so that the surgical option is viable. Radiation is quite successful and is used to kill cancer cells and reduce the tumor. Chemotherapy usually the second option but it has side effects.

There are procedures that are used with certain frequency and by which the liquid that is created in the tissue that surrounds the heart or chest is eliminated. Although these treatments do not treat the disease itself, they are successful in lessening the pain that the fluid can cause.

Peritoneal mesothelioma

The peritoneal mesothelioma develops in the abdominal area and can quickly spread to the liver, the intestine or spleen. The presence of pleural fluid and severe pain in the chest are symptoms of this type of mesothelioma, as well as vomiting, problems in the intestine, fever and numb feet.

Mesothelioma of the peritoneal layer is very rare and its diagnosis and treatment pose a challenge. Unfortunately, sometimes it is fatal. The symptoms of mesothelioma may not appear until 50 years after exposure to asbestos but their symptoms are very real.

Peritoneal mesothelioma is a cancer that is located in the abdominal layer that serves to protect the abdominal organs and the glands that release fluids that allow the organs to move with fluidity. Cancer of the peritoneum causes the abdomen to swell and healthy cells to be removed from the cavity while allowing the growth of cancer cells.

Causes of peritoneal mesothelioma

The most common cause of peritoneal mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos It has been proven that asbestos that remains lodged in the layer that covers the abdomen causes this type of cancer, although it is not understood how the layer becomes infected. The most accepted theory is that asbestos dust is swallowed, so that it allows the fibers to easily enter the abdomen. This leads to inflammation and sometimes cancer. Another theory of how asbestos reaches the peritoneal membrane is that asbestos fibers are inhaled and travel to the membrane through the lymphatic system

Regardless of how this toxic fiber enters the peritoneal membrane, the fact of the problem is that once it enters the body it is very difficult to get rid of it. Due to the nature of the fibers, they are lodged in the membrane and between 20 and 50 years change the dynamics of healthy cells, causing them to change and grow rapidly and uncontrollably.

This rapid growth of the cells causes the peritoneum to swell and a liquid is created in the peritoneal layer that causes discomfort in the patients. Finally, this growth of cells causes tumors to begin to form.

Period of latency

After an initial exposure to asbestos, cancer usually does not manifest itself until after 50 years. Despite this long period of latency, this form of cancer is the fastest and most fatal. At the beginning of the disease the symptoms of cancer are hardly visible. The first symptom is usually abdominal pain, which can usually be associated with another problem so that the correct diagnosis is delayed. Later symptoms include abdominal swelling, weight loss, nausea and vomiting, shortness of breath, intestinal obstruction, fever and hernia,

Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma

This type, which is the second most common form of mesothelioma, develops in the tissue that lines the abdominal cavity and is known as the peritoneum. The symptoms of this disease include:
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Sweating or fever
  • Swelling or abdominal pain
  • Formation of fluid between the peritoneum and the abdominal organs
  • Anemia
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea, colitis, or unexplained changes in the intestines
  • Appearance of lumps under the skin of the abdomen
These symptoms are usually the result of a thickening of the layer that surrounds the abdomen. The thickening is a consequence of a rapid growth of cancer cells. Generally, this rapid growth leads to the accumulation of fluid between the membrane of this area, exerting pressure on the abdomen which leads to the symptoms of this cancer.

Diagnosis of peritoneal mesothelioma

In order to obtain a diagnosis, the doctor will perform different tests, review the medical history and perform diagnostic imaging tests such as a scanner or PET scan. After localization of the tumor, it is usual to perform a biopsy to determine if the tumor is carcinogenic. In contrast to pleural mesothelioma, there is no system to determine the stage of cancer. Instead, physicians directly go to determine which treatment option is the most appropriate. Unfortunately, radiation, chemotherapy, and surgical removal are treatments that have not been proven to work separately.

Treating the disease

The most effective treatment options are those that combine traditional therapies. The radiation can be used to attack the cancer cells and thus alleviate the pain and reduce the swelling of the abdomen. After the radiation is completed, chemotherapy is used to reduce the tumor. Third, the surgical alternative can be used to resect the tumor. Chemotherapy will be used again after the intervention. If the diagnosis has been made soon, these treatments can be effective, although a cure is rarely possible. Instead, the goal is usually to manage pain and relieve symptoms


There are ongoing research and clinical trials to determine how the chances of finding a cure for peritoneal mesothelioma can be increased. Currently the only possibility of cure is to find the tumor in its primary stages. People who have been in contact with asbestos should undergo frequent medical check-ups to reduce the risk of developing a mesothelioma or any of the diseases related to asbestos.

Benign mesothelioma

Benign mesothelioma is a non-cancerous tumor that forms in the membrane of the lung or abdominal organs. A benign tumor does not spread in the same way that a cancerous or malignant tumor does, and does not attack nearby tissues. Benign mesothelioma is not common and is difficult to diagnose because it resembles other types of cancer. Doctors do not usually distinguish easily whether the tumor is benign or malignant. Malignant mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos, although it is not known if certain types of asbestos also cause non-cancerous forms of benign mesothelioma. The US national medical library also specifies that this form of benign tumor develops more frequently in men than in women.

While malignant mesothelioma usually has a latency period of 20 to 50 years, benign mesothelioma may appear much earlier. Since it is not carcinogenic, its approach is usually fast and close. It should be an alert for the doctors who must control the patient in case they develop any other diseases related to asbestos.

In addition, while malignant mesothelioma has an extremely high mortality rate, it is possible that those who suffer a benign mesothelioma recover if an immediate and effective procedure is followed.

Types of benign mesothelioma

Both the benign and malignant tumors are thought to grow in the mesothelial membrane. This is a membrane that covers the organs and allows them to function. An adenomatoid tumor is a tumor that is located in a part of the mesothelioma that lines the reproductive organs, especially in the epididymis in men and the fallopian tubes in women.

Benign cystic mesothelioma is another type of tumor that can develop near the female reproductive organ. A growth of this solitary tumor can develop in the pleural mesothelium (the breast membrane) but it is not considered a mesothelioma as such because it really starts in non-mesotheliic cells.

Symptoms of benign mesothelioma

A benign tumor can grow considerably and can press on organs that are close to those where the tumor grows. A person may experience chest pain, discomfort, attacks of frequent coughing and difficulty breathing. Occasionally patients with a benign mesothelioma may not feel any symptoms.

Treating the disease

The process for treating benign mesothelioma usually involves surgery to remove the tumor. The most successful type of intervention is resection by which the tumor is completely removed and the tissues surrounding it. Benign tumors can appear up to 10 years after treatment. They can occasionally return in carcinogenic form. If left untreated, the benign tumor will grow in a threatening manner. A pleural effusion happens when there is an excess of fluid in the pulmonary membrane. The liquid may flood other nearby membranes. A pleural effusion does not have to be a threat to the patient's life if it is attacked quickly if the fluid drains.

Diagnose the disease

If any of the symptoms associated with mesothelioma is experienced, the patient should consult with his doctor quickly, especially if there has been a previous exposure to asbestos. The doctor must then be able to carry out tests such as an x-ray or a scan to determine the diagnosis, as well as a biopsy. During the biopsy, the tumor cells are excised and then examined. The patient can also be tested to see if he suffers from diseases such as asbestosis, which is a chronic inflammation of the lung tissue. If the patient has asbestosis, he may be in danger of lung cancer.

Once it has been diagnosed and treated, the patient will undergo revisions to ensure that the tumor has not returned. The doctor will warn the patient of the need to monitor their health in the future. It is essential to obtain an adequate diagnosis and obtain the correct treatment, because an early treatment can be a sure success.

Biphasic mesothelioma

 Malignant mesothelioma is a cancer that is defined by the presence of malignant cells, the membrane called the pleura, which is located next to the chest cavity covering the lungs. Cancer cells can also be located in the peritoneum, which is the tissue that surrounds the abdomen and its organs, as well as the heart's membrane, the pericardium. It's kind of cancer is very rare.

Those who are at risk of suffering from malignant mesothelioma are people who have somehow inhaled asbestos in their work at home, or those who lived with people who worked near asbestos. Most cases of mesothelioma are not diagnosed until late and when 20 or 50 years have passed before the first symptoms appear. Some of these symptoms are difficulty in breathing, weight loss, lumps in the abdomen area, pain below the ribs, and swelling or pain in the abdomen.

Biphasic malignant mesothelioma

One of the main forms of malignant mesothelioma is the biphasic form. Malignant biphasic mesothelioma accounts for 30 or 40% of cases of malignant mesothelioma. It is a mixture of two other forms of mesothelioma, the epithelial and the sarcomatoid. When a person is diagnosed with this disease, they will be diagnosed with both mesothelioma, epithelial and sarcomatoid.

Diagnose the disease

Mesothelioma is diagnosed through medical tests and the use of imaging tests. Other tests that can be carried out are blood tests, bronchoscopy and biopsies. Malignant mesothelioma cells are classified into three histological categories - epithelial mesothelioma, biphasic mesothelioma, and sarcomatoid mesothelioma.

For the specific form of biphasic mesothelioma, in order to be able to diagnose it correctly, it is necessary to rule out the possibility of other cancers that contain similar characteristics such as synovial sarcomas and carcinomas. In order to do this, there are techniques that allow the identification and labeling of specific proteins that exist in cells, such as the immunohistochemical tests that can be carried out to distinguish this disease from other forms of cancer.

Since the cells are very small and both sarcomatoid cells and epithelial cells have the ability to be present in different areas of the tumor, it is difficult to diagnose and detect biphasic mesothelioma. Given this knowledge, the best way to get a correct diagnosis is to assess the substantial amount of tissue that is affected. Taking a sample, similar to the one taken in biopsies, is a good way to determine the type of tumor.

Treating the disease

The treatment of malignant biphasic mesothelioma is different from other simpler types since it will vary depending on the ratio of sarcomatoid to epithelial cells that are present. Since sarcomatoids are typically more aggressive than epithelial ones, patients diagnosed with biphasic mesothelioma with low levels of sarcomatoid cells tend to have better outcomes. There are two types of treatment:

Traditional treatments - Traditional treatments include chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. These treatments are usually combined to achieve a better result and increase life expectancy. The combination of treatments chosen will depend on the stage in which the cancer is found.
The type of surgery that will be carried out as a treatment for malignant mesothelioma will include drastic procedures such as the removal of the affected part of the lung and the pectoral layer that surrounds it. Less drastic is the procedure of draining the fluid that surrounds the lung and can cause pain and pressure.

New treatments- Some of the new treatments for mesothelioma include gene therapy, immunotherapy and photodynamic therapy, new chemotherapeutic agents and modulated radiation therapy. Currently, these treatments are not as successful as traditional treatments, but with time as they develop, they will reach those

Additional treatment methods

Along with the new forms of treatment mentioned above, other more radical treatments for biphasic malignant mesothelioma are being tested, such as angiogenesis, interferon, and interleukin therapy, as well as many clinical trials. Research is studying the effectiveness of alternative treatments, such as the use of herbs, special diets, acupuncture, homeopathic medicine, long doses of vitamin C and therapeutic massage.

Epithelial mesothelioma

Epithelial mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos. Asbestos is a mineral fiber frequently used in materials such as construction insulators given its strength and resistance to heat. However, when asbestos-containing materials are damaged and the fibers are inhaled, a threatening effect on health takes place. Epithelial mesothelioma is the most common form of cancer derived from exposure to asbestos and has a better outlook than the other two types - sarcomatoid and biphasic / mixed. However, the average survival after diagnosis is scarcely one year.

The epithelial tissue is the membrane that covers the internal organs and covers all parts of the body. The symptoms of epithelial mesothelioma are vague and depends on which organs and what area of ​​the body is affected. Cancer cells can form in the heart, which is what is called epithelial mesothelioma, in the tissue of the lungs which is what is called pleural mesothelioma or in the abdomen, referring to abdominal mesothelioma. Rarely tumors form in the testes, which are called testicular mesothelioma

Symptoms of epithelial mesothelioma

Depending on which area is affected, the symptoms vary and can be from a limitation in breathing, chest pain and abdominal swelling. The symptoms can be mild and indistinguishable from other more common diseases, so the diagnosis of cancer is often not reached until its last stages, when it is less treatable.

Aggressive treatments such as surgery and radiation can be much more effective in their early stages and studies have shown survival beyond 50% after five years during Phase I. Given the knowledge that early detection is viable for get a better prognosis If a person has symptoms indicative of a pleural mesothelioma and is known to have been exposed to asbestos, the means of diagnosis will be exhausted.

Diagnosing epithelial mesothelioma

Diagnosing an epithelial mesothelioma is a hard task. Cancer can be confused with an adenocarcinoma, another type of epithelial cancer that has characteristics similar to one of the subtypes of mesothelioma, glandular mesothelioma.

 Radiological and pathological examinations, as well as collecting data on a previous exposure to asbestos, will be used to diagnose cancer. Patients will also undergo an imaging system using immunohistochemistry, or any other immunological technique to study the tumor marker.

Cytology and needle biopsy are also used as techniques to know if the patient has an epithelial mesothelioma, however they are usually ineffective because a large sample of the affected tissue needs to be taken to determine the subtype of mesothelioma. Other medical procedures such as internal examinations or lung cavity biopsies, also known as thoracoscopy, will help distinguish between an epithelial mesothelioma and an adenocarcinoma.

The type of treatment that will be most effective in fighting and preventing the spread of the cells will depend on the severity of the cancer and where it is located in the body. Chemotherapy by itself has not been proven to be an effective treatment but can be used in conjunction with radiation or surgery. The function of chemotherapy and radiation is to reduce the presence of cancer cells but at the same time they damage the healthy cells, causing many side effects.

Surgical options

Surgery can help relieve pain in patients who are in the late stages of their cancer. In addition, surgery can be an attempt to cure or improve the prognosis of longevity. It is extremely important to discuss the benefits and risks of treatment options with doctors so that you have the best possible information

Subtypes of epithelial mesothelioma

Depending on the shape, size and structure mesothelioma is divided into different categories. The most common is deciduoid epithelial mesothelioma. Originally these were cases that affected four young women who had not been exposed to asbestos. All these cases were located in the peritoneum and it was considered that this subtype, given its unique morphology, was not related to asbestos.

However, according to the study published with a medical publication of the University of Texas, four cases of three men and a woman aged between 46 and 78 years, presented this deciduoid subtype in the mesothelioma they suffered. Two of those four patients had been exposed to asbestos. These findings therefore indicate that this variant of epithelial mesothelioma is not limited to a specific population or even to the peritoneum.

Malignant mesothelioma

Malignant mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. The disease attacks the mesothelium, which is a thin double layer that covers the membrane that lines the internal organs of the body such as the lungs, heart, chest and abdomen. Mesothelioma affecting the chest is called pleural mesothelioma while mesothelioma affecting the abdomen and heart are called peritoneal mesothelioma and pericardial mesothelioma respectively.

About 75% of mesotheliomas are known to begin in the chest and in the lungs making it the most common form of the disease, followed in 10 or 20% of cases of mesothelioma affecting the abdomen. A rare form of mesothelioma is that which is located in the tunica vaginalis or testicular that affects the reproductive organs.

Causes of malignant mesothelioma

Malignant mesothelioma is almost exclusively caused by exposure to asbestos. The particles that are inhaled or ingested enter the respiratory system of the patient and can potentially create an aggravation and growth in the cancer cells of the membranes.

In the USA more than 3,000 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma annually. These people may have been exposed to asbestos in their work given the extensive use that was given as insulation and fire retardant. Those most at risk of exposure to asbestos were:
  • Electricians
  • Tubers
  • Bulkhead installers
  • Metal workers
  • Welders
  • Isolators
  • Workers of chemical plants
  • Nuclear plants
  • Mechanics
  • Shipyard workers
  • Members of the armed forces
In addition, asbestos fibers can get impregnated into the workers' clothes in their hair, causing their families to be at risk when they return home from work. Many roofs, floors and pipes are covered with asbestos. Once those fibers are broken and released they can be extremely toxic to anyone around.

Symptoms of malignant mesothelioma

The symptoms and signs that are usually associated with mesothelioma are cough, fatigue, pain in the chest wall, side, back or abdomen, weight loss, fluid accumulation in the abdomen, limited breathing and spitting blood.

Since these symptoms are similar to other diseases or less serious ailments, they remain initially ignored until the disease is more serious. It usually takes two to three months from the onset of symptoms until malignant mesothelioma is diagnosed.

Diagnosing malignant mesothelioma

The diagnosis of mesothelioma is carried out by means of scanners and biopsies that aim to identify where the cancer is located and the size of the tumor. Normally imaging tests such as X-rays, PET, TSC or MRI are used to diagnose the disease. Other methods that are usually used to diagnose cancer are blood tests and tissue and fluid tests. The diagnosis will also determine whether the tumor is benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (carcinogenic).

While benign tumors are completely resectable, if surgery is not performed to remove them they tend to become carcinogenic. Even once a revision has been removed every ten years it is recommended as a precautionary measure.

Types of mesothelioma

There are three types of malignant mesothelioma: the epithelial one that supposes between 50 and 70% of the cases of malignant mesothelioma; the sarcomatoid that supposes between 7 and 20% of the cases of malignant mesothelioma; and the cases of mixed / two-phase that supposes between 20 and 35% of the cases.

On the other hand, benign tumors such as adenomatoid tumors, which grow in the female and male reproductive organs and cystic tumors, which grow only in the female reproductive organs, are also common. However, they are not carcinogenic and can be removed with surgery.

Phases of mesothelioma

After identifying the tumor, the next step is to determine the cancer phase. Three staging systems are commonly used to determine if the cancer has spread, the extent of that spread and if it can be removed with surgery. These systems are what are known as the Butchart system, the TNM system and the Brigham system

Treating the disease

The final phase is to establish the correct form of treatment based on the location, type and phase of the tumor, as well as the patient's age, weight and health status. Normally malignant mesothelioma treatments include chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. Chemotherapy involves using drugs to destroy cancer cells. It can also be used to improve the results of radiation therapy or to destroy cancer cells that reproduce. On the other hand, radiation is used to slow down the growth and spread of cancer cells.

Some of the malignant mesotheliomas can be treated with surgery. Palliative surgery is an option to reduce pain or eliminate pleural fluid. Another option more complex than the curative is what is known as extrapleural pneumonectomy that involves a complex reconstruction that affects the mesothelium cells with prostates.

Malignant mesothelioma can be treated; The treatment can reduce pain, slow the growth of cancer, and significantly improve the quality of life of patients and prolong life expectancy. However, malignant mesothelioma does not have a total cure and usually presents recurrence.

Papillary mesothelioma

A rare version of mesothelioma is what is known as well-differentiated papillary mesothelioma, it is epithelial in nature, which means that it only affects epithelial cells. It is quite different in its manifestation with respect to malignant mesothelioma because its nature of metastasis of other organs or areas of the body is low. Unlike other common forms of mesothelioma, it affects women more and has a good prognosis.

Who is at risk of developing a papillary mesothelioma?

Although there is evidence that men develop malignant mesotheliomas more often than women, it seems that papillary mesothelioma is the opposite. The papillary variant is diagnosed predominantly in women between 30 and 40 years old.

Treatments for papillary mesothelioma

Given its rarity, it has been difficult to recommend a particular treatment for the disease. Physicians with patients who have this disease should believe in the studies, where they reveal the treatments that are usually applied in epithelial mesothelioma. These treatments involve chemotherapy, radiation and surgical procedures.

Since this cancer is considered less aggressive, the prognosis is more favorable. In fact, a study carried out in the Department of Pathology CHU Caen in France found that in 24 patients with a well differentiated papillary mesothelioma the average survival was 74 months. The statistics, compared to the 9.89 months of survival for patients with malignant diffuse mesothelioma, prove that papillary mesothelioma is associated with better survival. It has also been proven that a survival of more than ten years represents 30.8% of well differentiated papillary mesotheliomas.

The tumor of papillary mesothelioma

The clinical manifestation of papillary mesothelioma is usually benign and causes very little pain, to say nothing in the person diagnosed. The diagnosis for a person with papillary mesothelioma is usually very good. However, a few cases of this disease have been found that have been aggressive. It is quite common that papillary mesothelioma, as occurs with benign tumors, is recurrent.

The typical site in which papillary mesothelioma develops is the membrane that surrounds the abdominal cavity, also known as the peritoneum, of women while they are in their fertile years. There have been other cases of this tumor that has developed in the male reproductive system, specifically in the tunica vaginalis. Another location for this disease are the ovaries, the mesothelium of the lungs (which is what is known as the pleura) and the mesothelium of the heart, known as the pericardium.

How does papillary mesothelioma develop?

Traditionally malignant mesothelioma is known to have been caused by an exposure to asbestos in most cases. With papillary mesothelioma, there does not seem to be a direct relationship between this exposure and the development of the disease, since in many of the cases there has not been a known exposure to this material. However, it has been shown that there has been a significant number of patients who have developed a papillary mesothelioma having been exposed both in their jobs and through secondary exposure.

Sarcomatoid mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a rare and lethal form of cancer that affects the thin layer that surrounds many internal organs. Pleural mesothelioma, which affects the membrane of the lungs, accounts for 30% of cases. Consequently, exposure to asbestos fibers is the primary risk factor for developing a mesothelioma and exposure to asbestos increases the risk of mesothelioma by between 10 and 20%. The next most common form of mesothelioma is peritoneal mesothelioma that affects the layer that surrounds the internal abdominal organs.

Forecast and life expectancy

Unfortunately mesothelioma is almost always diagnosed after the tumor has spread and the prognosis is very poor. The measure of survival among patients is between 8 and 14 months even with treatment.

Sarcomatoid mesothelioma and histological types

The most lethal histological type of mesothelioma, in terms of life expectancy, is the sarcomatoid. This type occurs between 10 and 20% of patients with mesothelioma. The other types are epithelial and biphasic affecting between 50 and 60% and between 30 and 40% of patients respectively. Biphasic mesothelioma consists of cells with an epithelial and sarcomatoid shape. Classifying mesothelioma tumors with this type is useful for its diagnosis and for predicting the survival rate. For example, epithelial tumors respond better to treatment as there is evidence of increased survival and mixed tumors usually have an intermediate response to treatment

Characteristics of sarcomatoid mesothelioma

Sarcomatoid mesothelioma is one of three subtypes of histological mesothelioma, Histopathologically studying the tissue characteristics of damaged cells is a diagnostic tool for different types of cancer, including mesothelioma.

Only between 10 and 20% of cases are diagnosed as sarcomatoid mesothelioma, the rest are epithelial or biphasic. These carcinogenic terms are used to distinguish the appearance of cells under the microscope and categorize them according to the shape of the cells and their structure.

Sarcomatoid cells are named for their similarity to sarcoma cells. The structure of these cells is stretched and similar to a spindle. These cells normally overlap in a fibrous and random pattern. Since these cells resemble fibrosarcomas or soft tissue tumors, it is usually difficult to diagnose them as a sarcomatoid mesothelioma.

Symptoms of sarcomatoid mesothelioma
The symptoms that patients initially present may include:
  • Breathing problems
  • Chest pain
  • Coughing pain
  • Appearance of lumps under the skin
  • An inexplicable loss of weight
Once there has been an exposure to asbestos, the symptoms may take between 20 and 50 years to appear.

Diagnosing the disease

The diagnosis of mesothelioma can occur in many ways. A history of exposure to asbestos, if known, is considered very useful for diagnosis. Saliva and lung samples can be examined to determine a higher than normal concentration of asbestos fibers. The pleural effusion, which is a fluid that forms around damaged lungs, can be examined for signs of malignancy. A more invasive but more effective form may be what is known as thoracoscopy, which involves taking samples from the biopsy of the pleural cavity using an endoscope and then performing a definitive number of histological procedures on that sample.

Since the cells seem to look towards other diseases such as sarcomatoid lung carcinoma, immunohistochemical data are imperative to distinguish sarcomatoid mesothelioma from other spindle-shaped cells and other diseases. The sarcomatoid mesothelioma cells are positive in keratin which means that they react with anti-mouse antibodies that are used during the collection of samples

Treating the disease

Treatment usually involves combining chemotherapy, surgery and radiation. Since the diagnosis of mesothelioma usually occurs in phase III or later, the goal of treatment will usually focus on prolonging patient survival and improving their quality of life.

The incidence rate of mesothelioma in the USA is around 0.97 per 100,000 between 1973 and 1999. Between 2,000 and 3,000 new cases are discovered every year.

Testicular mesothelioma

Mesothelioma occurs when the cancer attacks the mesothelium, which consists of the mesothelial cells that form a protective layer over the cavities and organs of the body. The mesothelium produces fluids that protect the organs and allow their movement. The membrane located in the chest is called the pleura and the one that covers the abdomen is called the peritoneum.

Testicular mesothelioma symptoms

The first symptom of testicular mesothelioma is sometimes a simple lump that leads to a delay in diagnosis. In addition, in most cases the disease is advanced before a successful diagnosis has been made. Since cancer is very aggressive, patients usually do not survive more than a year after diagnosis.

Luckily, testicular mesothelioma is extremely rare. However, given its aggressive nature, cancer usually reappears, leading to metastasis or spreading to other areas such as the lungs, chest, brain and lymph nodes. Because of this, the life expectancy in a patient with testicular mesothelioma is usually less than two years.

Treating the disease

Early cases of cancer can be treated occasionally with surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Unfortunately in the last stages the cancer is completely incurable and the best that can be done is to improve the quality of life of the patient, which means opting for palliative treatments.

Sometimes the tumor in the testicles is secondary to others that originally form in the peritoneum (the membrane that lines the abdominal cavity). The more the tumor has spread to other areas of the body, the more difficult the treatment with which the primary and secondary tumor should be treated becomes. If the tumor has developed in the testicles, treatment may include total or partial removal of the affected testicle. This excision is then followed by a standard treatment of chemotherapy and radiation.

The treatment of testicular mesothelioma with chemotherapy means that the patient is given chemotherapy drugs. These drugs target cancer cells that divide rapidly to prevent their growth. Radiation therapy is used to eliminate cancer cells to paralyze their growth using radiation that goes to the affected area.

Unfortunately, testicular mesothelioma is considered a very aggressive form of mesothelioma and usually reappears within a few years, even in cases where there has been tumor resection.

Testicular asbestos and mesothelioma exposure

Although research on this type of mesothelioma variety is very limited given its rarity, there are two theories regarding the origin of mesothelioma. One states that the mesothelioma that originates in the testes is that which is located in the vaginal tuna, the membrane where the testicular mesothelioma develops. In this membrane the mesothelial cells are present for the most part making the growth of mesothelioma cancer cells possible.

A second area that is considered the origin of testicular mesothelioma is the serosa surface of the tunica. On this surface, firm whitish yellow nodules can be found that have the ability to coat the scrotum and cause the tunic to swell. This thickening is caused by abnormal cells that divide and grow rapidly. Since the cells have become cancerous they no longer have the ability to regulate their own cycles, so they grow uncontrollably and can lead to the formation of tumors.

Since there is no theory to explain how exposure to asbestos causes the tumor that develops primarily in the testes, it is understood that once the fibers are inhaled and enter the body, they can easily be lodged in the organs generating inflammation or infection . These tissues can lead to the development of mesothelioma. Since mesothelial cells are abundant in the tunica vaginalis and these cells are those that are attacked by testicular cancerigenic mesothelioma, this variety although rare is possible.

Types of mesothelioma

Of the malignant mesotheliomas, the most common is pleural mesothelioma that is located in the chest and is responsible for approximately 90% of mesothelioma cancers in men. One of the rarest types of mesothelioma is the testicular, which affected 0.7% of the cases between 1973 and 1999. Testicular mesothelioma is known to occur among an elderly population since the average number of patients exceeds 50 years. Caucasians are the ones who are most subject to cancer, especially those who have carried out industrial and construction jobs.

Causes of mesothelioma

The first factor that is known to cause mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos. Asbestos is a type of mineral composed of magnesium-silicate fibers. Being a common form of insulation, asbestos was preferred above all because of its resistance to fire and its strength. When investigations proved that asbestos affected health, its popularity began to decrease. However, although it is not considered a popular building material at present, it is still present in many buildings and houses that were built during the 20th century.

Exposure to asbestos

Asbestos has a source of natural origin and is present not only in buildings but also in homes, schools, offices, mines, shipyards, brake discs, insulators in conduits, as well as in various manufactured products. The most common victims are those who worked in the army and the operatives. A secondary exposure is also common among members of families who were in contact with asbestos and their clothing.

Recurrent mesothelioma

Mesothelioma can be a difficult cancer to treat regardless of what stage the patient is in. Questions as to whether the treatment is palliative or curative, as well as what is the specific objective of the treatment, are important to know before the treatment begins. It is also important to determine the benefits and risks associated with various treatments so that the decision to be made is informed. The TNM system divides mesothelioma patients into different stages that will help the doctor determine the diagnosis. However there is another simpler system that helps to decide if the cancer is extirpable or not. That mesothelioma can be removed means that the entire visible part of the tumor can be removed with various surgical procedures. On the contrary if it is not extirpable,

Recurrent mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is said to be recurrent when it reappears after treatment. That reappearance can be local, which means it is in the area of ​​the body where it originated or near it, or it can be distant, meaning it has spread to organs such as the brain or liver. Mesothelioma tends to be a recurrent type of cancer. Subsequent treatment will depend on factors such as where the tumor is located, the general state of health of the patient and the course taken by the treatments already applied. Treatment options for recurrent mesothelioma often mimic those used for mesothelioma that can not be resected. There are clinical trials available for recurrent cancers, since they may be difficult to treat.

Mesothelioma treatment

Only a medical specialist is usually able to diagnose mesothelioma and develop the best treatment plan necessary for each patient. Irrespective of whether mesothelioma can be resected or not, it is a difficult cancer to treat. Many times the necessary treatment is palliative whose objective is to improve the symptoms or extend the prognosis. Mesothelioma has been associated for a long time with asbestos, a human carcinogen that through inhalation and intake stays lodged in the lungs, heart and abdomen. There is currently no known cure for mesothelioma.

Resectable mesothelioma

Mesothelioma can be a difficult cancer to treat regardless of what stage the patient is in. Questions as to whether the treatment is palliative or curative, as well as what is the specific objective of the treatment, are important to know before the treatment begins. It is also important to determine the benefits and risks associated with various treatments so that the decision to be made is informed. The TNM system divides mesothelioma patients into different stages that will help the doctor determine the diagnosis. However there is another simpler system that helps to decide if the cancer is resectable or not. That mesothelioma can be resected means that the entire visible part of the tumor can be removed with various surgical procedures.

Stages and surgery

The stage with the best potential for resection is Stage I. Stages II and III can also be resectable, although there are exceptions. There are different aspects to take into account to determine if the tumor is resectable. The size of the tumor, the metastasis, the subtype of the tumor, the location of the tumor and the general state of health of the patient. The surgery has better long-term benefit in patients in phase I. This is because in this phase there are many possibilities to remove the tumor or cancer cells. The surgery can only be palliative for those who are in the last stages although the benefits are better in the short term. Specifically for those with peritoneal mesothelioma in the early stages, surgery can be very beneficial.

  1. Pleurectomy : a procedure that removes part of the pleura, or the layer that lines the lungs
  2. Decortication : is the surgical removal of the outer layer, membrane or fibers lining an organ
  3. Extrapleural pneumonectomy is a surgery used to remove part of the lung membrane, part of the heart membrane, part of the diaphragm, and the affected lung
  4. Only a medical specialist is usually able to diagnose mesothelioma and develop the best treatment plan necessary for each patient. Irrespective of whether mesothelioma can be resected or not, it is a difficult cancer to treat. Many times the necessary treatment is palliative whose objective is to improve the symptoms or extend the prognosis. Mesothelioma has been associated for a long time with asbestos, a human carcinogen that through inhalation and intake stays lodged in the lungs, heart and abdomen. There is currently no known cure for mesothelioma.

Unresectable mesothelioma

With not much research around the cure of mesothelioma, it can be very difficult to treat regardless of what stage the tumor is in. Questions as to whether the treatment is palliative or curative, as well as what is the specific objective of the treatment, are important to know before the treatment begins. It is also important to determine the benefits and risks associated with various treatments so that the decision to be made is informed. The TNM system divides mesothelioma patients into different stages that will help the doctor determine the diagnosis. However there is another simpler system that helps to decide if the cancer is resectable or not. That mesothelioma can be resected means that the entire visible part of the tumor can be removed with various surgical procedures.

Other options

In the last phases or even in the first phases, in many occasions there may not be a total removal through surgery. The reason for this may be due to the extension of the tumor or because the patient is not in optimal health to carry out a major surgical procedure. In case it is not resectable, the options may include chemotherapy, radiotherapy or a combination of the two. It is known that these treatments have the ability to stop and slow down the growth of the tumor but do not remove it or eliminate it in the same way as surgery does. In cases where the tumor can not be removed, the treatment aims to relieve the patient's symptoms and pain.

Only a medical specialist usually diagnoses mesothelioma and choose the best form of treatment for each patient. Mesothelioma is not an easy cancer to cure. Due in part to its latency period (from 20 to 50 years), once the patient has been diagnosed with a mesothelioma, the course of action to be undertaken will aim to alleviate the symptoms or extend the prognosis. Mesothelioma has long been associated with asbestos, a human carcinogen that, a human carcinogen that through inhalation and intake stays lodged in the lungs, heart and abdomen. There is currently no known cure for mesothelioma.

Malignancy versus benignity

The above types of mesotheliomas are the most malignant versions of this disease and really the most dangerous. Malignant mesothelioma is usually the result of the inhalation of asbestos by those individuals who have worked or lived in areas where there were no adequate safety and health standards. Since the disease has an extended period of latency, many times the diagnosis is not carried out until the tumor has progressed to levels that can not be rectified.

As its name suggests, benign mesothelioma is a form of non-malignant disease that is easily treatable. While benign tumors are not cancerous, unlike the case with malignant mesothelioma, they will not spread throughout the body, making it easy to isolate and extirpate.

Mesothelioma in non-common areas

In addition to the pleura, pericardium, and peritoneum, and the benign form of cancer, cancer can also affect the ovaries and testicles. These tumors are born in the membrane that covers these organs. The total number of this type of mesothelioma does not exceed a hundred and its symptoms are rarely identified. As a result, the prognosis of this type of mesothelioma is not promising. The effects of this disease are so many that make it more than recommended that anyone who has been exposed to asbestos for a long time or has the first symptoms of the disease visit your doctor immediately.

What is asbestos?

There are two different groups of minerals known as asbestos that can be found on almost every continent and in hundreds of countries. Within these two groups, the amphibolics and serpentines, are six mineral fibers that are found naturally and are known as "asbestos". All of them have been used commercially.

Too small to be seen, the fibers of the asbestos are able to separate and remain suspended in the air, turning them into a serious threat to the environment. The Administration for Occupational Health and Safety of the USA considers fibers that are five microns in length or three times the length of their diameter a threat. Asbestos fibers are approximately 100 times thinner than human hair.

Types of asbestos

The six types of minerals known as asbestos are:
  • Chrysolite : Also known as white asbestos. Less toxic than other forms although it is the most used variety, having a whitish and curly appearance. Although there are mines all over the world, most are imported from Russia, Africa and Canada.
  • Crocidolite : It is considered the most toxic form of asbestos and is formed by straight fibers. Its mines are located in Australia and in South East Africa. It is also known as blue asbestos.
  • Amosita : Called as a consequence of the mines in Amosa, its name is an acronym for "The asbestos mines in South Africa" ​​(in English). These fibers are straight and their structure is brittle. Also known as brown asbestos it has excellent heat resistance and has been used to provide insulating protection.
  • Tremolite : Found naturally in asbestos and other minerals. The tremolite has a calcareous and whitish appearance. Talcum industrial and commercial use contains this form of asbestos as a natural ingredient.
  • Actinolite : This form of asbestos has been used for housing reforms and by the construction industry, long-form, with a flat structure looks like a prismatic. It has not shown to have any chemical resistance.

The most complex structures of the amphibole group, namely crocidolite, amosite, anthophyllite, tremolite and actinolite have not been used as often as the simplest chrysotile structures that have been used in consumer goods. Furthermore, these forms are far from being more dangerous than the chrysolite asbestos that given to its flexible and soft shape can easily penetrate the body tissue and cause cancer. The harmful effects that are mainly derived from asbestos, include asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma The duration and intensity of exposure increases the risk of developing any of these three diseases.

Mesothelioma is a type of lung cancer

Usually malignant mesothelioma is mistakenly characterized as a lung cancer since some of its symptoms are similar, however it is the fact that mesothelium cancer is what explains its name. The mesothelium is a membrane that surrounds the chest, the abdominal cavity and internal organs, lubricating and protecting them. The mesothelium is divided into three sections, the pleura (in the chest cavity) the peritoneum (the abdominal cavity) and the pericardium (the area around the heart).

Mesothelioma usually develops in the pleura, which is the tissue that lines the chest, but can also develop in the peritoneum or pericardium. The symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma differ from the respiratory problems that arise from the pleural types and may include weight loss, abdominal swelling, abdominal obstruction, anemia, and fever. The three types are attributed to asbestos exposure.

A limited exposure to asbestos is not harmful

Although people who have worked directly with asbestos have the greatest risk of developing one of the diseases that are causally related to this product, scientists have determined that there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos. It has been suggested that even washing clothes of those who have been exposed to asbestos may put at risk the person who washed the clothes, since fibers and asbestos dust can get embedded in the clothes and fall off in the air once the clothes are manipulated again. .

The type of asbestos that is most commonly used in consumer products and in the construction of materials is known as chrysolite or white asbestos. It is considered to be a type of serpentine asbestos given the appearance of its structure, making it suitable for fabrics and other applications. Although chrysotile is considered less dangerous than other types of amphibole asbestos, including the least used and known as brown asbestos (amosite) and blue asbestos (crocidolite), there is no safe form of asbestos. All types of asbestos when handled can dislodge fibers that lodge in the membrane lining the lungs and cause mesothelioma

There is no treatment for mesothelioma

Although there is no cure for mesothelioma, there are treatments for this type of cancer. If diagnosed early, the doctor may remove the affected part of the mesothelium with a technique known as pleurectomy or decortication. However, surgery alone is rarely effective, which is why it is usually combined with radiotherapy or chemotherapy.

Although this type of cancer is resistant to radiation if the tumor is still located in the chest or abdominal region, radiation can prevent further growth of the tumor. Chemotherapy is more effective, since it has been proven to increase life expectancy. As with all cancers, the sooner the treatment begins, the better the results will be. Since mesothelioma usually goes unnoticed until its last stages, treatment options are limited although new therapies and treatments are continuously being developed.

Mesothelioma is contagious

This cancer is not contagious, because it is always due to environmental causes. Although many people who work and live together develop the disease, this is because they have been exposed to the same toxin, often as a result of a single person carrying the asbestos fibers in their clothes to the spaces they share. family or work

Mesothelioma is hereditary

Mesothelioma is not hereditary, although it can be developed by several members of a family. Children can be exposed to asbestos both in their homes and in schools, or as a result of their parents working with asbestos and the fibers getting impregnated in the hair or in the clothes they take home. This is known as a secondary exposure to work and can be prevented if people who work with asbestos are required to take a shower and change their clothes before leaving work.

Only men develop mesothelioma

Although it is true that men develop mesothelioma five times more than women, they can also be affected. This is due to the late incorporation of women in the workplace. However, in professions that have always been dominated by women such as teaching and textile jobs, they may have been similarly exposed to asbestos.

Only smokers can develop mesothelioma

Anyone who has been exposed to asbestos, whether they have smoked or not, is at risk of developing a mesothelioma. However, it is true that smokers who have been around asbestos are more likely to develop some of the diseases related to this carcinogen than those who have not smoked and who have been equally exposed

Mesothelioma can not be diagnosed early

Although mesothelioma can be diagnosed in its early stages, it is rare because its symptoms take 20 to 50 years to appear. These symptoms are similar to other lung diseases. The best way to have an early diagnosis is that if someone who has been exposed to asbestos is immediately subjected to regular medical checks in order to see if any of the typical symptoms of the disease appears. The prognosis for patients who are diagnosed in the early stages is much better than for those who are diagnosed in its last phase.

There is no help for patients and family members with mesothelioma

Along with the variety of medical resources there are some legal steps for those who have developed an illness related to asbestos and their loved ones. Since many employers were aware of the risks arising from exposure to asbestos and chose not to inform their workers or give them the necessary safety measures, they must be financially responsible for their negligence.

Questions and answers about mesothelioma

Considered one of the most devastating and dangerous diseases, mesothelioma is a mystery totally unknown to those who have not suffered. Many questions will remain unanswered but those that are now answered will be useful at least to eliminate the biggest questions.

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a mineral fiber frequently used in construction, engineering and industry as an insulating element. Those who have been exposed to this mineral are predisposed to have a health problem to remain these microscopic fibers in the air they breathed.

What is mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos. It can affect the heart, the lungs, the abdomen and / or the membrane lining the lungs.

Mesothelioma is characterized by the low success rate in treatment, which is explained by the delay in its development, which is known as latency and which causes the symptoms to be ignored. In fact, the first symptoms of mesothelioma are nonexistent.

Because they are generic symptoms that develop slowly and can be confused with other diseases, mesothelioma is rarely diagnosed quickly. Symptoms of pleural mesothelioma usually include limited breathing, difficulty swallowing, and persistent constipation.

Peritoneal mesothelioma manifests with fatigue, nausea, the appearance of lumps under the skin, swelling or abdominal pain. Pericardial mesothelioma presents a symptomatology similar to chest pain, cough, irregularity in the heart rate or fatigue. As a consequence of its low incidence, little is known about the symptoms of testicular mesothelioma.

This slow way of recognizing mesothelioma explains its lethal quality. Like many other diseases, mesothelioma is best treated in its first sentences when the tumor is localized and the patient has a better state of health. However, this is rarely possible and patients usually only seek medical help when they are really bad.

Adding to the difficulty of treating the disease, many options such as surgery are not available when the cancer manifests in its later stages. The patient's age and health status will determine the possible treatments and the greater the patient is, not many of the medical alternatives are possible.

What are the symptoms of mesothelioma?

A patient with mesothelioma usually has shortness of breath, cough with sputum and chest pain. These symptoms are similar to other diseases and signs of aging, making it difficult to diagnose. In addition, different types of mesothelioma have different symptoms depending on the location of the tumor.

Are there different types of mesothelioma?

There are three main types of mesothelioma that affect different areas of the body. Pleural mesothelioma is the most common and affects the membrane that lines the lung and the chest cavity. Peritoneal mesothelioma attacks the membrane that lines the abdomen. The most rare modality pericardial mesothelioma that damages the protective sac that covers and lubricates the heart. There are also mesotheliomas that affect the tunica vaginalis and the testicular membrane.

What are the risks arising from exposure to asbestos?

Those who have worked in the construction and shipyard industries where asbestos was used are highly likely to have been exposed to asbestos. There are around 3,000 products known to contain asbestos and to which millions of people have been exposed.

What makes asbestos dangerous?

The small size of asbestos fibers is dangerous because they are suspended in the air. These particles are easily inhaled and are deposited on clothes. Once the particles have been inhaled, they damage the cellular structure of the internal organs, particularly the lungs.

How does asbestos cause mesothelioma?

The exact mechanism by which asbestos fibers cause cancer is still under debate. It is known that once they are deposited in the body, the fibers cause inflammation and cell damage. Over time, it has been known that fibers also chemically and physically alter DNA cells, causing cells to divide uncontrollably and become malignant.

Is mesothelioma the only disease caused by exposure to asbestos?

Mesothelioma is not the only disease derived from exposure to asbestos but the most fateful. Asbestosis is another disease that is caused by the inhalation of asbestos particles

What is asbestosis?

The accumulation of scar tissue caused by asbestos particles causes asbestosis. After a period of time, the lungs are covered with that scar tissue causing heart and lung failure.

Are there treatments for diseases related to asbestos?

Currently there is no cure for mesothelioma or asbestoris. Only your symptoms can be treated. However, medicine is continually advancing to diagnose and procure treatment for these devastating and sometimes deadly conditions.

Can tobacco cause mesothelioma?

Tobacco is not the cause of mesothelioma. However, those who have been exposed to asbestos should not smoke as this combination increases the likelihood of suffering from other types of lung cancer.

What should I do if I have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease?

You must strictly follow your doctor's instructions regarding the prescribed treatment. Contact a lawyer to see if you have legal action against those responsible for the damage caused.

What Are the Signs of Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma starts with small nodules on either the lungs or stomach lining. Before the disease has expanded and distributed, the cancer does not trigger signs. Breathability, toxicity and chest discomfort are first signs. It emerges around the phase of 3 or 4 mesotheliomas once nerves, organs, bones and some other body parts begin to be pushed down by the tumors. Since no indications occur until much longer in the illness cycle, mesothelioma can be almost not diagnosed on the basis of diseases alone in phase 1.

What Caused Mesothelioma?

The signs of mesothelioma are caused by cancer and are comparable to the side-effects of treatment for cancer. After ends of treatment, the side effects of treatment for cancer usually significantly reduce. The signs of mesothelioma appear to advance when the cancer develops. The quality of life depends on the symptom management. Discuss a referral to a palliative care professional with your oncologist. These medical professionals are specialized in the management of symptoms and life quality. Many cancer clinics now give palliative cancer handling for therapy and clinical trial clients.

What Is the Proper Treatment for Mesothelioma Symptoms?

A research in 2019 discovered that patients with lower invasive surgery coupled with cancer, radiation treatment or both of them experienced the shortest period of pleural mesothelioma after their diagnosis. This group's average sustainability was 35 months or almost 3 years.

The cell type of mesothelioma, epithelial versus sarcomatous, does not change the signs of typical cancer survivors. Nutritional supplementary and additional treatments, including acupuncture and body therapy, are showed to assist patients handle pain, fears and nausea. The correct nutrition for mesothelioma may assist patients who retain their strengths, power and recover from mesothelioma treatment and after mesothelioma.

The experts say mesothelioma is indeed a rare condition, and a medical professional in mesothelioma can help boost your access to the latest treatments that assert after a treatment to prolong your survival. Well, radiation treatment does not treat mesothelioma alone, but can reduce cancer and alleviate stress and discomfort.

In addition, inform your doctor regarding improvements in symptom type or intensity. Simple processes such as stomach or abdomen cleansing can be reiterated as required and reduce in discomfort and pain considerably.

You should seek help immediately if you have a historical record of asbestos exposure and believe that your symptoms clearly show mesothelioma. Discuss with your doctor about previous asbestos job and tell them that an oxide-related disease is possible. Ask a mesothelioma expert for a second view if necessary.

What are the symptoms of mesothelioma?

People who have mesothelioma will show particular signs and symptoms. This disease is malignant or cancer that attacks the lungs. The symptoms are chest pain, dry cough, and short breath. They are the basic ones, but some people also feel pain in abdomen, fatigue, and body ache.

Based on study, each symptom will show in different level based on the severity. The most common ones are short breath and chest pain. Lungs are important organ in respiratory system. When cancer is in this part, respiratory system starts to be in disturbance. Furthermore, the patients start to experience heavy breath and chest pain simultaneously.

In severe condition, lungs cannot work properly. The condition is worse and it may spread to other organs. Mostly, it will reach to abdomen and stomach. Mesothelioma induces pain when the breathing relies on abdomen. Dry cough follows this situation, and the cough is chronic that's difficult to stop.

The Cause of mesothelioma

This cancer is mostly caused by asbestos. Lungs inhale this particle that preliminary respiratory system cannot hold. Due to microscopic form, asbestos reaches lungs and cause malignant. Constant exposure will generate more risks that create cancer, called mesothelioma.

Asbestos fiber is common in industrial workplace, military facility, laboratory, and lodging. Workers in the area with high asbestos compound are highly risk to get this cancer. Besides, soldiers who are always in barrack will receive exposure to asbestos at high frequency. Some residential areas in developing countries still rely on asbestos as their roof. It increases probability to be mesothelioma in the future. The condition becomes worse when weather has strong wind that creates debris. Therefore, asbestos fibers are inhaled easily through nose to the lungs.

Treatments for mesothelioma

This cancer does not show preliminary symptoms, until it is at high peak level. Most people see nodes in lungs as simple fiber that's easy to treat. However, heavy and dry cough in chronic condition is the key on this disease. Furthermore, the extreme pain alongside fatigue and muscle strain indicates that the treatment is necessary.

Treatments are available in several methods based on the level of malignant. Doctors will try to do surgery in order to remove the excess liquid in lungs. The process involves many specialists to ensure the patient doesn’t receive extra complication. Regular treatment will rely on radiation therapy to soothe the lungs and get rid of asbestos immediately. This disease requires long-term treatment and medical procedures to ensure the malignant doesn’t go to cancer mode.

Prevention of mesothelioma

Although there are several hypotheses about other causes of mesothelioma in rare cases, the only proven cause is exposure to asbestos. The more you avoid asbestos and the buildings that contain it the better the prevention will be.

Mesothelioma in adults

The greatest number of mesotheliomas occurs in adults who have been exposed to asbestos.

Mesothelioma in childhood

Diagnosis in children is extremely rare and the cause of childhood mesothelioma is not known.

Mesothelioma in women

Many of the women who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma have not been exposed to asbestos. They usually discovered that the exposure occurred when washing or handling the clothes of their husbands who were exposed to asbestos in their jobs.

Vaccine for mesothelioma

It has been discovered that by using antigens that fight against cancer in the body's immune system, many patients present a good response when given the vaccine. Soon this therapy may be applied to those who are at risk of developing mesothelioma, particularly those who have been exposed to asbestos and have not developed cancer.

Mesothelioma Symptoms and Causes

Mesothelioma symptom

The signs and symptoms of mesothelioma vary depending on where the cancer appears.

Pleural mesothelioma , which affects the tissue surrounding the lungs, causes signs and symptoms that may include the following:
  • Chest pain
  • Painful cough
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Unusual bundles of tissue under the skin of the chest
  • Weight loss without apparent cause

Peritoneal mesothelioma , which occurs in the tissue of the abdomen, causes signs and symptoms that may consist of the following:
  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Sickness
  • Weight loss without apparent cause

Other forms of mesothelioma

The signs and symptoms of other types of mesothelioma are not clear, since these forms of the disease are very rare.

Pericardial mesothelioma, which affects the tissue surrounding the heart, causes signs and symptoms, such as difficulty breathing and chest pains.

Tissue mesothelioma, which affects the tissue around the testicles, can first be detected as swelling or as a mass in a testicle.

Causes of mesothelioma

In general, cancer begins when a series of changes (mutations) occur in the DNA of a cell. The DNA contains instructions that tell the cell what functions it should perform. Mutations tell the cell to grow and multiply without control. The abnormal cells accumulate and form a tumor.

It is not clear what causes the initial genetic mutations that cause mesothelioma, although researchers have identified factors that may increase the risk. It is likely that cancer cases are formed due to an interaction between many factors, such as hereditary disorders, the environment, health status and lifestyle choices.

Risk factor's

Exposure to asbestos: the main risk factor for mesothelioma
It is thought that most mesotheliomas are related to asbestos exposure. Asbestos is a mineral found naturally in the environment. Asbestos fibers are strong and resistant to heat, which makes them useful for a wide range of applications, such as insulation, brakes, tiles, flooring and many other products.

When asbestos breaks down, as happens during the mining process or when it is removed from an insulation, dust is formed. If it is inhaled or swallowed, the fibers of the asbestos will lodge in the lungs or in the stomach, where they can cause irritation that, in turn, can cause a mesothelioma. It is not understood exactly how this happens. Twenty to sixty years or more may elapse until a mesothelioma manifests after exposure to asbestos.

Most people who have been exposed to asbestos never suffer from mesothelioma. This indicates that there may be other factors involved in determining if someone contracts mesothelioma. For example, you could inherit a predisposition to cancer or some other disease could increase the risk.

The factors that can increase the risk of suffering from mesothelioma are the following:
  1. Personal history of exposure to asbestos. If you were directly exposed to asbestos fibers at work or at home, the risk of you suffering from mesothelioma is quite high.
  2. Live with a person who works with asbestos. People who are exposed to asbestos can carry the fibers on their skin and clothes to their homes. Exposure to these fibers lost for many years can put other people in the home at risk for mesothelioma. People who work with high levels of asbestos can reduce the risk of bringing asbestos fibers into the home if they take a shower and if they change their clothes before leaving work.
  3. Family history of mesothelioma. If your father, brother or son has mesothelioma, you may have a higher risk of suffering from this disease.
  4. Radiation therapy in the thorax. If you have received radiation therapy for cancer in the chest, you may have an increased risk of mesothelioma.


As pleural mesothelioma spreads to the chest, it puts pressure on the structures in that area. This can cause complications, such as:
  • Short of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Pain caused by pressure on the nerves and spinal cord
  • Accumulation of fluid in the chest (pleural effusion), which can compress the nearby lung and hinder breathing


Reducing exposure to asbestos may decrease the risk of mesothelioma.

Find out if you work with asbestos

Most people suffering from mesothelioma were exposed to asbestos fibers at work. Workers who may find asbestos fibers are:
  • Asbestos miners
  • Electricians
  • Plumbers
  • Plumbers
  • Isolators
  • Shipyard workers
  • Demolition workers
  • Brake mechanics
  • Selected military personnel
  • Home remodelers
Ask your employer if you are at risk of asbestos exposure at work.

Follow your employer's safety rules
Follow all safety precautions in your workplace, such as wearing protective equipment. You may also be asked to take a shower and change your work clothes before taking a break for lunch or going home. Talk to your doctor about other precautions you can take to protect yourself from exposure to asbestos.

Adopt safety standards against asbestos in the home
Older houses and buildings may contain asbestos. In many cases, it is more dangerous to remove it than to leave it intact. Destroying asbestos can cause fibers to be transported through the air, where they can be inhaled. Consultation with experts trained to detect asbestos in the home. They can analyze the air in your home to determine if asbestos is a health risk. Do not try to remove it from your house, hire a qualified expert

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