Mesothelioma is a rare cancer that is fatal in 99% of the cases. It is a very interesting and unique form of aggressive cancer that affects the lining of your organs.
Mesothelioma | A Dummies Guide to
What is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelium, (visceral) is the thin layer of tissue that covers the majority of the body’s internal organs; while (parietal) Mesothelium covers the body walls. This Mesothelium is composed of an extensive fabric of cells that help lubricate the organs and aid in the transfer or movement of fluids and removal of fibrin inside the body. Mesothelium tissue is vital to the human body working properly and if damaged it can cause a range of harsh problems in men and woman. If fibrin deposits build up they can cause serious events like infertility or impaired lung and cardiac functions. In some cases the cells will become cancerous.
Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer that is caused by breathing in (90% of cases) asbestos fibers or particles. Mesothelium cells start to become abnormal and divide without control. There are approximately 2,000 new cases of Mesothelioma diagnosed each year in the United States.
Normal Mesothelium Cells
It can take up to 20-50 years before a person realizes that something is wrong. Many patients are unaware of the severity of their condition since Mesothelioma symptoms typically resemble symptoms of less serious illnesses. It is considered localized if it affects only the membrane surface; advanced if it has spread to other parts of the body.
Mesothelioma causes a range of symptoms; depending on the initial exposure. Most people experience shortness of breath that is ever increasing in severity. Stabbing chest pain and violent coughing is another telltale sign that progressively worsens when you have Pleural Mesothelioma (50%-70% of cases) in the lining tissue (Mesothelium cells) of the lungs or within the internal chest wall.
Some people will have the cancer form on the lining surrounding the abdominal cavity (Peritoneal Mesothelioma), heart or in the pericardium sac that surrounds the heart, and even through the lining that surrounds male and female reproductive organs (Pericardial Mesothelioma).
Is it fatal?
No matter where or what type of Mesothelioma a person contracts, they will usually only live 1-5 years after diagnosis. This is a cancer that has killed many people unknowingly and is very hard to estimate how many people are still being exposed to its primary cause; asbestos.