Mesothelioma – How do you get mesothelioma


Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that is rare but has aggressive growth in the patients in which it develops. Mesothelioma Cancer develops or targets the lining areas of lungs, abdomen or heart of the patient. Once the Mesothelioma Cancer is diagnosed, the life expectancy of the patients can be estimated to be of 12-21 months.

The Symptoms for Mesothelioma Cancer include pain in chest, increase in fatigue and shortness of breath. Though many researches have been carried out in gaining more knowledge on Mesothelioma the only known cause of malignant mesothelioma Cancer has been related to asbestos.

What is Asbestos that is the cause of mesothelioma Cancer:

Asbestos the only cause for mesothelioma Cancer can cause serious health problems when its fibre becomes airborne. Asbestos, once known as a miracle material for its qualities such as resistance to heat and fire has been widely used in construction, oil refineries and ship building industries etc.

The health risk through intact or unbroken asbestos in very less in comparison to the level of risk when the material becomes damaged. The damaged asbestos can create fibers that can get easily inhaled by an individual which can then lead to serious health issues such as mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis.

A person can get into contact with asbestos anywhere where there is exposure of the same like for example homes, building, workplace or any product that has been exposed to asbestos.

Despite of the restricted use or ban on the material in some countries, one can get easily exposed to asbestos in the developing or underdeveloped countries. This being said, it is not guaranteed that the developed nations like Our nation (United States), Canada and United Kingdom are free of these material as it is still allowed in certain products and industries.  

You can learn more about Asbestos, What is Asbestos Exposure, Health risks involved with Asbestos exposure and much more on our other blogs.

Types of Mesothelioma

There are four primary types of Malignant Mesothelioma based on where the tumors first develop after exposure to asbestos:

  • In the lining of the lungs (pleural).
  • Abdomen (peritoneal).
  • Heart (pericardial).
  • Testicles (testicular).

Mesothelioma Types by Location

After a person is exposed to asbestos fibber’s, mesothelioma cancer occurs. Years after initial exposure, abnormal cells start growing and multiplying in the “Mesothelium,” a thin layer of cells lining the outside of internal organs, including the lungs, heart, abdomen and testicles. The tumor location is the primary method used to determine the mesothelioma type.

Pleural Mesothelioma – Which develops in the lining of Lungs

Pleural mesothelioma is the most common form of aggressive disease in the lining of the lungs, known as pleura. Approximately 80% of all mesothelioma cases diagnosed are pleural, and the disease is often not definitely diagnosed until it reaches its later stages.

Pleural mesothelioma-related symptoms include shortness of breath, vomiting, chest pain, and weakness, often mis-attributed to other illnesses, such as lung cancer. Non-specific symptoms exacerbate the diagnosis, along with the long delay period following exposure to asbestos.

In an average, patients with pleural mesothelioma live 6 to 12 months after diagnosis, Pleural mesothelioma patients survive on average six to twelve months after diagnosis, with a one-year survival rate of around 73% and a five-year survival rate of around 5%.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma – Which develops in the lining of Abdomen

Peritoneal mesothelioma is the second most common cancer type and is diagnosed in approximately 15-20 percent of all cases of mesothelioma. In the lining of the abdominal cavity, known as the peritoneum, cancer cells grow, causing symptoms such as abdominal pain and swelling, weight loss, and abdominal fluid.

Although the general prognosis for peritoneal mesothelioma is poor, patients have a better life expectancy than other forms of the disease due to treatment advances, such as surgery combined with intra-peritoneal hyper thermic chemotherapy (HIPEC). Patients with peritoneal mesothelioma have a 92% one-year survival rate.

Pericardial Mesothelioma – Which develops in the lining of Heart

Pericardial mesothelioma is a very rare form of cancer and is diagnosed every year in less than 50 people in the U.S., accounting for about 1 percent of the total number of cases. In the lining of the heart sac, called the pericardium, mesothelioma tumors form, causing symptoms such as chest pain, build-up of fluid and arrhythmia.

Due to the proximity of the tumors to the brain, even at the early stages, patients may experience severe symptoms. The general prognosis of pericardial mesothelioma is very poor due to its rareness.

Patients survive on average for six months, with a one-year survival rate of 51%. In most cases, there are only palliative care options available to pericardial mesothelioma patients to help alleviate symptoms.

Testicular Mesothelioma – Which develops in the lining of Testicles

Testicular mesothelioma is diagnosed in less than one percent of all cases and there are only about 100 diagnosed cases described in medical literature. The cancer develops in the tunica vaginalis, the lining of the testicles, and typically presents symptoms like testicle pain, a mass on the testicle, and scrotal swelling caused by fluid build-up.

Patients with this type of mesothelioma, with an average prognosis of about two years, have a better life expectancy than other types. Reports, however, have shown that testicular mesothelioma has a high rate of recurrence, including approximately 93% of patients within five years of initial diagnosis.

Spread awareness

Support Mesothelioma awareness by participating in Mesothelioma awareness Day, 26th September every year.

By – Karen – Health Blog Expert (Contributing Author)

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