The Ultimate Guide to Mesothelioma of the Pleura: Symptoms, Causes and Treats

Mesothelioma, a cancer that attacks the mesothelium, is a tissue that lines various types of organs. There are four types of mesothelioma cancer, namely:

Pleural mesothelioma (pleural mesothelioma), is a cancer that attacks the pleural mesothelium (pleura). This variety is the type that most often occurs.

Mesothelioma peritoneum (peritoneal mesothelioma), is mesothelioma in the lining of the abdominal cavity (peritoneum).

Pericardial mesothelioma (pericardial mesothelioma), is a mesothelioma that attacks the protective layer of the heart organ.

Testicular mesothelioma, a mesothelioma that attacks the protective lining of the testicles or testicles.

There is a benign tumor in the chest called a solitary fibrous tumor which is sometimes called a benign mesothelioma. This condition is not included in the mesothelioma that will be discussed.

Causes of Mesothelioma

The cause of mesothelioma is not known with certainty. Instead, mesothelioma is always associated with asbestos or asbestos exposure. Asbestos is a mineral that is widely applied as building construction materials, such as roofs, because of its hot weir and fire weir. The legal application of asbestos has been banned since 1999.

When asbestos is destroyed, good during mining or building renovations, asbestos will create fine fibers or dust. Fine asbestos fibers are actually easily inhaled, then enter and settle in the organs, most importantly the lungs. Asbestos fibers that are ingested can also move through the lymphatic method, settling, and infecting cells in the lining of the abdominal cavity (peritoneum).

Exposure to asbestos can also affect the function of the reproductive organs and heart. However, it is not known for certain the progress of its spread because it really rarely happens.

Having ordinary, there are some elements that increase the risk of mesothelioma, namely:

The work environment is vulnerable to asbestos exposure, such as mineral mines, construction sites, the automotive industry, power plants, the textile industry, and steel plants.

Residing in old buildings or neighborhoods whose land contains asbestos.

Having a family member who works in an environment that is vulnerable to asbestos exposure. Asbestos can glue on the skin and clothes, so asbestos can be carried into the house or other environments.

Have a history of mesothelioma or genetic disorders that increase the risk of cancer.

But asbestos, there are some other elements that can increase the risk of mesothelioma, whereas it rarely happens. Among these are exposure to erionite minerals, exposure to radiation from the chemical thorium dioxide which was applied in X-ray examinations until the 1950s, and was infected with a simian virus (SV40).

Symptoms of Mesothelioma

Symptoms of mesothelioma develop gradually and generally takes 20-30 years until symptoms develop. The patient may not enjoy any symptoms when mesothelioma is at an initial stage. But over time, cancer cells will grow and suppress the nerves or other organs, thus causing symptoms.

The symptoms of mesothelioma differ depending on the location of the presence of cancer cells. In pulmonary mesothelioma, symptoms that may arise are as follows:

Fever is accompanied by sweat, especially at night.

Excessive fatigue.

Cough accompanied by unbearable pain.

Shortness of breath impacts the buildup of fluid in the lungs, precisely in the pleural cavity, which is the space between the two layers of pleura lining the lungs.

Weight loss without light.

Chest pain.

Swelling and changes in appearance at the tip of the finger (clubbing).
Lumps arise in the tissue beneath the surface of the skin in the chest zone.

Meanwhile, stomach mesothelioma (peritoneal) has the following symptoms:

Loss of appetite.
Weight decreased dramatically.
Pain in the components of the stomach.
Swelling in the abdominal zone.
A lump in the stomach appeared.
Disorders of defecation and urination.

Pericardial mesothelioma and testes are a very rare type of mesothelioma. Pericardial mesothelioma usually presents with symptoms in the form of chest pain and respiratory problems, although testicular mesothelioma is characterized by swelling or the appearance of a lump in the testicular zone.

The symptoms of mesothelioma are nonspecific and can be caused by other conditions. Therefore, see a doctor immediately if you enjoy the symptoms above, especially if you have a history of asbestos exposure.

Diagnosis of Mesothelioma

The doctor will suspect a patient suffering from mesothelioma, if there are symptoms, which are strengthened by physical examination. But to be sure, an imaging experiment needs to be run. Among these are:

X-rays, to detect abnormalities, such as thickening in the lung lining, fluid in the pleural cavity, or changes in lung format.

CT scan, to examine the chest and abdomen zones, and detect any signs of cancer, decide the location of the cancer, and check whether the cancer has spread to other organs.

PET (Positron Emission Tomography). Examination using compounds containing radioactive atoms that are injected into the body to receive detailed illustrations of tissue suspected cancer cells.

MRI, to receive a more detailed illustration of tissue to determine the location of the tumor.

Instead, doctors can also recommend further examinations in the form of:

Liquid sample examination. Furthermore, the patient experiences a buildup of fluid in the body related to mesothelioma, therefore the doctor will take a fluid sample by using a needle that is inserted via the skin into the zone where the fluid area is located. Type, the liquid will be examined in the lab to detect the existence of cancer cells. There are several types of fluid and tissue sample trials, including:

Thoracentesis, fluid sampling in the pleural cavity zone.

Paracentesis, taking fluid in the abdominal cavity.

Pericardiocentesis, taking fluid in the layers (membranes) around the heart.

Biopsy, is the procedure of removing tissue samples from certain body components for later review in the lab. There are some variations of biopsy examinations, namely:

Needle biopsy. A kind of biopsy by applying a long needle that is inserted through the skin into the chest or abdomen to take tissue samples.

Thoracoscopy, laparoscopy and mediastinoscopy. A type of biopsy using an elastic camera hose and special surgical instrument is inserted through one or more small incisions to take tissue samples. The type of sample removal procedure typically depends on the zone of the body undergoing the examination, which are:

Thoracoscopy, to examine the space between the lung and the chest wall.

Laparoscopy, to examine components in the abdominal organs.

Mediastinoscopy, to check the zone around the heart.

Surgery biopsy. For some situations, the doctor will carry out invasive procedures to take larger tissue samples to determine the diagnosis. According to, doctors will also work on the procedure to remove all tumors if possible. There are two types of biopsy procedures through surgery, which are:

Thoracotomy, a variety of biopsies performed via open surgery on the chest component.

Laparotomy, is a variety of biopsies that are performed through open surgery on the abdominal component.

Bronchoscopic biopsy. The procedure for removing tissue samples is by using a long, thin elastic tube that is inserted through the throat to examine the respiratory tract.

Mesothelioma Stadium

Measuring the degree of spread, mesothelioma is divided into four stages. This division of stages allows the doctor to identify the development of cancer cells in the body and determine the treatment steps to be carried out. These four stages of mesothelioma are:

Stage 1: The tumor is still local, is only in one zone of the body and mesothelioma cells have not spread to other tissues or organs. The age of surgery is done to remove the tumor. The life expectancy of patients diagnosed with stage 1 mesothelioma is 21 months or more.

Stage 2: The tumor size is bigger and mesothelioma cells begin to spread to the nearest zone. Surgical removal of the tumor can still be carried out, while the end is not too targeted. The survival rate for stage 2 mesothelioma patients is 19 months or less.

Stage 3: Mesothelioma cells have spread to surrounding organs. Surgery is no longer on target because some cancer cells have spread to other zones. The life expectancy for stage 3 mesothelioma patients is around 16 months.

Stage 4: Mesothelioma cells have spread to various zones in all bodies through the bloodstream. Treatment that is still in the research phase will be offered to patients to extend the patient's life opportunities. The survival rate for end-stage mesothelioma patients is really low, which is around 12 months.

Mesothelioma Treatment

Mesothelioma is a cancer variation that is rare and has not been cured until now. Treatment is carried out to regulate or reduce the symptoms experienced and prolong the patient's life chances. Treatment steps are usually arranged according to some elements, are:

Variety and state of overall patient health.

Variation and location of mesothelioma.

Stage or spread of cancer cells in the body.

Size of mesothelioma

The above considerations, there are some treatment steps that may be recommended by doctors, namely:

Chemotherapy, therapeutic treatment with anticancer drugs to destroy or inhibit the growth of cancer cells that cannot be removed through surgery. Chemotherapy can be done before or after surgery to shrink the tumor, facilitate the progression of tumor removal, and reduce the risk of recurrence of cancer.

Radiation therapy (radiotherapy), therapeutic treatment with X light and proton light focused on certain body zones. Radiotherapy is usually carried out after the patient underwent a surgical procedure, to remove the remaining cancer cells. This therapeutic treatment is also carried out to reduce the symptoms of advanced cancer when surgery is not possible to do.

Operation. Age of surgery is carried out when mesothelioma is still in the initial stage. There are a number of options for actions that the doctor may perform during the operation. Among these are:

Appointment of cancer cells as much as possible from the patient's body. This age can support the treatment of patients with radiotherapy to reduce pain and prevent the growth of cancer.

Fluid suction impacts the buildup of fluid in the chest zone which can interfere with breathing. This age is carried out by inserting a catheter tube into the chest to suck up fluid. The doctor can also inject drugs to attach the pleural cavity so that the fluid cannot accumulate anymore. This age is known by pleurodesis.

Removal of tissue around the abdominal cavity, ribs, or lungs affected by cancer cells.

Removal of the affected lung organ components and surrounding tissue. This procedure is generally followed by radiotherapy.

Multimodality therapy. This therapy is a combination of three or more treatment steps, for example surgery, postoperative chemotherapy and radiation therapy to increase the success rate of treatment.

Research stage. The doctor will inform the patient about the treatment system that is still in the research phase. Instead, the possibility of the patient recovering is not yet known with certainty, so it needs to be considered accurately. On the other hand, this treatment method can increase the chances of doctors to learn more about mesothelioma treatment. There are some treatment systems that are still in the research stage that can be carried out by patients, are:

Biological therapy - applying the patient's immune system to fight cancer, also called immunotherapy.

Gene therapy - changes the genes contained in cancer cells to stop this disease.

Target therapy - applying drugs to attack abnormalities / disabilities that occur in cancer cells.

Supporting treatment. This treatment can help sufferers to limit the signs and symptoms of mesothelioma, such as:

Breathing exercises, to control breathing when sufferers experience symptoms of difficulty breathing.

Body relaxation exercises, to reduce respiratory muscle tension, so that patients can more easily breathe.

Prevention of Mesothelioma

The age of primary prevention of mesothelioma is to avoid contact with anything that contains asbestos. Furthermore, you work in an environment that is at high risk of being exposed to asbestos, so follow the work safety rules set by the company. Among these are:

Dispose of personal protective equipment while in the work zone that is vulnerable to asbestos exposure.

Except the rest of the asbestos material in a safe and harmless environment.

Do not bring home clothes and shoes worn during the profession

Instead, there are some things that can be done to reduce the risk of mesothelioma, which are:

Perform routine health checks to detect symptoms or signs of disease associated with asbestos, for example asbestosis.

Smoking smoking a cigarette. not immediately cause mesothelioma, but smoking is a trigger element and can increase the risk of various cancers, including mesothelioma.

Learn and follow the guidelines regarding safe handling of asbestos in the surrounding environment. Do not move material that contains asbestos carelessly.