What Is Mesothelioma? All You Need to Know

World Health Organization (WHO) reports cancer as one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Roughly 10 million people died in 2020 because of this deadly disease. And while we wish no one to become a victim of this life-threatening disease, still with the staggering stats, gaining comprehensive knowledge about cancer is imperative.

Cancer occurs due to cells start developing uncontrollably in the human body. Among various types, one of the rarest types of cancer is mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma is a cancer in which abnormal cells grow and attack a thin membrane called mesothelium. The membrane covers the body’s major internal organs such as lungs, abdomen, and heart. Primarily, this thin-layered membrane allows the organs to function well. So when the cancerous cells develop uncontrollably in this thin lining, they negatively affect the membrane, stopping it from working properly.

If you wish to learn more about mesothelioma, continue to read on below comprehensive guide:

CAUSES

Not the only one, yet the most prominent cause of mesothelioma is asbestos exposure. Since the naturally-occurring thin microscopic fibrous mineral – asbestos offers excellent resistance to heat and electricity, many construction and automotive industries utilize this toxic mineral. When a person inhales or absorbs asbestos, the poisonous fiber cause damage to the body’s main organs. However, it is to note that it often takes several years for a person to develop mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos.

No wonder receiving the news of being diagnosed with mesothelioma can be heart-breaking for you and your loved ones. It can cause emotional, physical, and financial stress. And although you can’t change what’s happening, still filing a lawsuit can help you the compensation you deserve. Thus, consider contacting sokolovelaw.com and get in touch with experienced lawyers who can help you with your mesothelioma case.

TYPES OF MESOTHELIOMA

The type of mesothelioma depends on the location where these tumor cells develop. Below are the three main types of mesothelioma:

  • Pleural mesothelioma

It is one of the most common types of mesothelioma and accounts for almost 70% to 75% of all mesothelioma cases. In this type, the cancer cells develop and affect the linings of the lungs, called pleura and chest cavity. Common symptoms of pleural mesothelioma include shortness of breath, unexplained weight loss, cough, chest pain, and fatigue. Usually, an X-ray can help medical practitioners diagnose this cancer.

  • Peritoneal mesothelioma

The peritoneum is a thin membrane that covers the abdominal cavity. Peritoneal mesothelioma arises when cancer develops in this membrane. Primary symptoms of this type of cancer are abdominal pain, weight loss, bowel changes, swelling problems, nausea, and vomiting. The good news is patients with this cancer type have a more favorable life expectancy than other types.

  • Pericardial mesothelioma

People diagnosed with pericardial mesothelioma have cancer cells in the tissue that surrounds the heart, known as the pericardium. It is one of the rarest types of mesothelioma cancer and accounts for only 1% of total cases. Symptoms associated with pericardial mesothelioma are irregular heartbeat, chest pain, constant cough, and abnormal breathing.

Often, all these types of mesothelioma symptoms are similar to minor illnesses. Due to this fact, many people usually ignore these symptoms during the initial stages. However, if you get diseases often or have had asbestos exposure in your life, it’s better to consult a doctor immediately. Although mesothelioma is incurable, you can increase your survival odds by early diagnosis and treatment. Some common treatments are chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation.

RISK FACTORS

Simply put, a risk factor in medical terms refers to anything or a condition that increases the possibility of a patient developing a disease. Apart from asbestos exposure, the following are other controllable and uncontrollable risk factors that may tend to cause this cancer:

  • Age

The elderly population is more likely to develop this life-threatening disease than the young ones. Commonly, people age 55 or above have more chances of developing mesothelioma because it usually takes up to 20-50 years for patients to develop symptoms. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that young people can’t contract this malignant disease.

  • Gender

Although no disease is gender-specific, the incidence rate of mesothelioma is still higher in males than in females. The reason might be because the male population has dominated the asbestos-related occupations.

  • Genes

Rarely do some people inherit mesothelioma. It is very rare and occurs due to a change in a gene called BAP1.

  • Zeolites

Zeolites are aluminosilicate minerals found in rocks and soil. These minerals are similar to asbestos, and breathing in the same air as these fibers can increase the risk of mesothelioma. 

Other common mesothelioma risk factors include radiation exposure, smoking, poor lifestyle choices, alcohol, etc. 

Conclusion

Mesothelioma is the rarest type of cancer in which symptoms usually take years to show up. Still, getting frequent medical checkups can help in early diagnosis, and you will be able to get medical assistance timely.

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