Mesothelioma is a form of cancer which develops in the mesothelium; protective layer of thin platelike cells covering over most of the body’s internal organs such as heart, lungs and abdomen.
Mesothelioma is almost always caused by prolonged exposure to asbestos particles in the past. The disease doesn’t occur soon after the inhalation of asbestos particles, but they get accumulated in the lungs and form a tumor that later transform into malignant cells (cancer).
The malignant (affected) cells will get increased in the body for years without showing any signs of abnormality. It’s after years that the malignant cells start showing their adverse effect to the body and causing malfunctioning of many organs. That’s why it usually attacks the patient only after the patient becomes old (mostly over 40 years old) and the disease has progressed to its end stage.
Mesothelioma is an absolutely fatal disease which has taken many lives. It’s not curable until now. Patient usually has only a year or two after the disease has been detected. But, if the disease is detected at initial stage, the patient might survive till at the most of 5 years.
There’s no specific symptom associated with mesothelioma at its initial stage, and if any, the symptoms is often general and very similar to any lung disorders or other less serious diseases. The general symptoms are shortness of breath, pain in the chest, cough and weight loss.
There’re three types of mesothelioma:
- Pleural mesothelioma This type of mesothelioma leads to pain in the chest because of fluid retention in the chest. This further causes short breath, croaking, coughing up of blood and difficulty in swallowing. Pain in upper abdomen, arm or shoulder might be present too.
- Peritoneal mesothelioma Symptoms associated with this type of mesothelioma include weight loss, abdominal fluid retention and pain, intestine obstruction along with anemia, fever, blood clots.
- Pericardial mesothelioma