Sunday, March 11, 2012

Mesothelioma Types and Their Symptoms

Mesothelioma, or the cancer of mesothelium, is a fatal tumor that affects pleura, peritoneum, and pericardium - linings around lungs, abdomen, and heart respectively. It is a fatal disease caused by exposure to asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral.

Mesothelioma cancer be benign, i.e. it can be non-cancerous and non-spreading or it can be malignant i.e. cancerous and spread to other parts of the body leading to death. Its primary cause is prolonged exposure to asbestos and it has a latency period of about 30 to 50 years.

Types of Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma can be classified into three types depending on the area of body affected by it.

There are 3 common types of mesothelioma:

1. Pleural Mesothelioma

2. Peritoneal Mesothelioma

3. Pericardial Mesothelioma

Pleural Mesothelioma

The most common form of mesothelioma, Pleural Mesothelioma (cancer of pleura) is a tumor of the protective lining around the lungs. It can be either benign or malignant.

The pleura is a sac-like membrane made of two layers between which the pleural fluid is released. This fluid in turn acts like a lubricating agent and helps the lungs to function smoothly during breathing.


Common symptoms of Pleural Mesothelioma are:

o Shortness of breath

o Chest pain

o Back pain

o Pain in the rib cage

Other symptoms of Pleural Mesothelioma, for both benign and cancerous forms, include:

o Fluid build-up in the lung lining

o Hoarseness

o Coughing up blood

o Swelling of the face and arms

o Muscle weakness

o Paralysis

o Sensory loss

Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Another common form of mesothelioma is peritoneal mesothelioma or cancer of the peritoneum that causes tumor in the abdominal lining. Like pleural it can be benign or malignant.

The peritoneum is the membrane that covers most of the organs in the abdominal cavity and also includes:

o Tunica Vaginalis Testis (mesothelial tissue lining the male internal reproductive organs)

o Tunica Serosa Uteri (mesothelial tissue lining the female reproductive organs).


The fluid released in the peritoneum helps in the smooth functioning of these organs. When the peritoneum is affected, some common symptoms experienced are:

o Stomach pain

o Weight loss

o Nausea

o Vomiting

o Hernia

o Bowel obstruction

o Fluid in the abdominal cavity

If the cancer spreads beyond the abdominal cavity, additional symptoms can be found, such as:

o Anemia

o Blood clotting abnormalities

o Trouble swallowing

o Swelling of neck, face or arms

Pericardial Mesothelioma

Pericardial Mesothelioma or the cancer of pericardium is a tumor of the protective sac-like lining around the heart.

Pericardium protects the heart by:

o Smoothening its motion against surrounding organs

o Limiting its motion so that it stays in the chest cavity

o Preventing it from over-expansion during excess influx of blood


When pericardium's function is affected by mesothelioma, the following symptoms may occur:

o Chest pain

o Shortness of breath

o Fluid accumulation in the lining

If the mesothelioma cancer spreads to other organs of the body, it can affect their normal functioning and cause painful symptoms. Thus, it is important that mesothelioma cancer is diagnosed on time and proper treatment is given to save the patient's life.

Laura Russell is a professional Health Writer having expertise in the filed of Mesothelioma Cancer.

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