What is Malignant Mesothelioma: Causes, Signs, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Facts

What is Malignant Mesothelioma?

An uncommon type of cancer that affects the thin cell wall lining of the internal structures and organs of the body is known as malignant mesothelioma. It is the lining that is called the mesothelioma.

What is Malignant Mesothelioma

Malignant mesothelioma is a cancerous tumor caused in the linings of cell walls. This particular cancer can be caused in four prime sections of the human body.

  • If the cancer is present in the chest then it is called malignant pleural mesotheliomas. Three out of four malignant mesothelioma cancers are pleural mesotheliomas.
  • If malignant mesothelioma cancer is caused in the abdomen it is called malignant peritoneal mesotheliomas
  • A malignant mesothelioma cancer is caused in the casing around the heart is called malignant pericardial mesotheliomas and this type is very rare.
  • A malignant mesothelioma cancer caused in the covering coating of the testicles is the tunica vaginalis mesotheliomas. This type is also very rare.

Facts about Malignant Mesothelioma

  • Malignant mesothelioma is an illness which generally occurs through forming of the malignant cancer cells in the inner layer of the abdomen or of the chest.
  • Danger of malignant mesothelioma can be enhanced if someone is exposed to asbestos.
  • If you encounter difficulty in breathing and an ache underneath your rib cage, those could be symptoms of malignant mesothelioma.
  • There are numerous tests to examine the abdomen and chest in order to check for malignant mesothelioma signs.
  • Treatment and prognosis for malignant mesothelioma depends on certain factors.

The Mesothelium in “Malignant Mesothelioma”

Mesothelial cells are a film of specialized cells which are found inside the abdomen, in the chest and the gap covering the heart. This thin film of cells covers the external surface of many internal organs. This thin lining which covers and protects many organs is called mesothelium.

A particular lubricating fluid is generated by the mesothelium which helps in protecting our organs. And also this lubricant permits the organs to motion opposed to each other without friction. For instant when breathing, lungs can expand or contract efficiently due this lubricant. The mesothelium, the special cell layer is recognized by different names in diverse sections in our body:

  • Lungs and the area of the chest containing lungs is layered by the pleura.
  • The lining of the internal walls of the abdomen plus several other organs within the abdomen is done by peritoneum.
  • The heart and the space where it is located are covered by a lining called pericardium.
  • The testicles are coated from tunica vaginalis.

From any of the above described coatings or linings malignant mesothelioma, the rare cancer could be triggered. Some of the tumors could be non-cancerous too.

What Type of Cancer is Malignant Mesothelioma?

Malignant mesothelioma is a very uncommon form of cancer which develops through organ protective linings mesothelium cells. Malignant mesothelioma could be easily triggered due to exposure to asbestos.

How Long Does it Take for Asbestos to Kill You?

People who usually get exposed to asbestos might have to face many diseases including cancer. Even though any distress that occurs due to asbestos usually takes between 10 and 40 prolonged period of years to show up the symptoms. That is the more dangerous aspect of asbestos related diseases.

What is the Difference between a Malignant Tumors and a Benign Tumors?

Malignant tumors are created out of cancerous cells which grow beyond control from the primary location to the rest of the body parts by attacking the nearby tissues. In other hand benign tumors are formed from non-cancerous cells which do not multiply and do not open out to other sections of the body.

Causes of Malignant Mesothelioma

Malignant mesothelioma is majorly caused by asbestos inhalation. Malignant mesothelioma is identified and considered as solely asbestos related disease. Asbestos is often used in many diverse types of industries. Therefore a considerable amount of individuals get exposed to asbestos and they are vulnerable to asbestos related diseases. Asbestos is just another natural mineral but yet poisonous. Tiny asbestos fibers which could not be seen by our naked eyes penetrate to human body through inhalation that means through lungs and/or through intake of food and beverages. These sturdy asbestos fibers are not able to remove from the body once entered. As a result of that nature majority of people who are exposed to asbestos are vulnerable to asbestos related diseases including even life threatening malignant mesothelioma. Asbestosis is another dangerous respiratory condition caused by asbestos fibers.

Industrial workers who cannot avoid asbestos exposure and even their family members are vulnerable to all asbestos related problems including malignant mesothelioma. Within those who are exposed to asbestos directly or indirectly, diseases may trigger without letting the individual to notice any symptoms. Therefore till it become worse and starts to show signs sometimes it might be too late to keep hopes about the recovery even after suitable treatment procedures. Almost between 30 to 50 years the patients of malignant mesothelioma might feel very normal about their health condition.

Signs and Symptoms of Malignant Mesothelioma

There are many signs and symptoms for malignant mesothelioma but they usually will not be seen until it is too late. Collection of fluid within the abdomen or within the chest is not a good sign because sometimes these fluids might help to cause a cancer. If you notice any of the below mentioned sings do not delay to consult a doctor.

  • Chronic cough is a symptom of malignant mesothelioma.
  • Breathing trouble, pain or puffiness in the abdomen are also the signs of malignant mesothelioma.
  • Pain underneath the rib cage is also a possible indication of malignant mesothelioma.
  • Weight loss without a reason.
  • Constipation.
  • Feeling very tired.
  • Lumps within the abdomen.
  • Problems with clots of blood (clots develop when they should not form).

Risk Factors for Malignant Mesothelioma

Malignant mesothelioma’s primary risk factor is exposure to asbestos fiber. There are many factors which could enhance the risk of malignant mesothelioma and few are mentioned below:

  • Within your family circle if any one has suffered from malignant mesothelioma you are also at a risk of getting the same disease. The family history plays a role in developing malignant mesothelioma.
  • If you are open to the elements of asbestos at your work place or if there is asbestos related factory near your house you are vulnerable to malignant mesothelioma at a great percentage.
  • Even if you are living with somebody who is working in an asbestos factory they may carry fibers which are not noticeable by the naked eye through their cloths and other office suit accessories. Therefore it is highly recommended that the workers who are working in asbestos related factories should have a cleanup from head to toe before they go home.

Tests to Diagnose Malignant Mesothelioma

There are various tests to diagnose malignant mesothelioma. If you come across any of the symptoms like swallowing difficulty, breathing difficulty, constant cough, shortness of breath or chest pain and if you inform these to your doctor most probably he might suspect that you may have malignant mesothelioma and he will start investigations towards diagnosing malignant mesothelioma.

There are many further diagnostic tests for malignant mesothelioma. Like computer topography/ magnetic resonance imaging, this is most common imaging scanning method to check for malignant mesothelioma. A sample of cells from the affected area will be taken too by the doctor to perform a biopsy test. A cancer specialist will investigate the behavior pattern of these cells in order to confirm the diagnosis.

  • In physical checkup and health history test for malignant mesothelioma a physician checks to investigate the whole body for unusual lumps and patches including any other unusual signs leading to malignant mesothelioma disease. Find out the health history of the patient like past sicknesses, treatment that he has undergone and even whether he is exposing to asbestos thin fiber film at the environments where he mostly hangs around.
  • Chest X-ray to diagnose malignant mesothelioma. To have a clear image of the affected area inside the body, X-rays of bones and organs inside the chest could be taken. X-rays are energy beam which can penetrate through the body up to film and then take a picture of the arranged area.
  • CT Scan or (CAT scan) Meanings of these abbreviations are computed tomography (CT)/computerized tomography (CT)/computerized axial tomography (CAT). CT or CAT scan for malignant mesothelioma is a procedure which takes a sequence of comprehensive images from different angles of the abdomen and the chest. This image capturing procedure works in a company of a computer and an X-ray system. To highlight the tissues and organs within the body a special dye is utilized and it is injected into a blood vessel or let the patient to ingest the dye. Once the internal parts of the body are highlighted through the computer screen then the taking away of cells from the peritoneum or pleura can be done easily.
  • Biopsy test to diagnose malignant mesothelioma. The extracted cells from the peritoneum or pleura then can be viewed and observed through a microscope to check for indications of cancer by a pathologist.

Sometimes even cancer specialist may misdiagnose malignant mesothelioma as any other cancer like lung cancer or other respiratory sickness as all of these illnesses some symptoms are identical. Therefore before they come to a final conclusion about the type of the caner he holds all the possible investigations need to be performed. Specially try to discover whether the patient has any exposure to asbestos, if so, for sure divert the investigations towards malignant mesothelioma.

What Options do Patients of Malignant Mesothelioma Have?

Records indicate that a majority of individuals who have got diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma is because of negligent or inattentive exposure to asbestos fibers. The manufacturers of all the asbestos related products by now know the danger of their industry to the society starting from their own labor force. Industries like power plants, ship yards, factories and all the other asbestos related work places generally result in thousands of malignant mesothelioma affected individuals every year. It has become so pathetic situation in most of the countries and many powerful countries have already replaced most of the asbestos related products with less harmful alternatives.

Prospective malignant mesothelioma patients or patients with respiration issues should consult cancer specialists and should undergo the entire related checkup for malignant mesothelioma or for related issues. There are many treatment options available to cater for premature malignant mesothelioma issues.

Malignant Mesothelioma Treatment Expenses

Stand with the expenses of diagnosing and treating of malignant mesothelioma is more challenging and horrible than stand with the malignant mesothelioma itself. That may be the reason even prospective malignant mesothelioma individuals will not go for premature diagnosis investigations and early treatments for malignant mesothelioma. For malignant mesothelioma treatments only your insurance claims cannot do the needful. Therefore before entering to the comprehensive treatment procedure it is always safe find and keep your finances in your accounts more than expected. Employees who are working in asbestos related manufacturing companies may receive financial support from the company welfare account. Prospective malignant mesothelioma affected individuals can always be in touch with their legal rights in case if they have to face this kind of horrific situation.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:April 4, 2018

Recent Posts

Related Posts