Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Truth About Malignant Mesothelioma, Pleural Mesothelioma and Peritonial Mesothelioma

Malignant mesotheliomais is a relatively uncommon form of cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos, usually in the workplace. It affects the mesothelial cells that line three of the body's largest cavities surrounding the lungs, heart and abdomen and is an aggressive form of cancer. Pleural mesotheliomais is the most common form of mesothelioma, accounting for approximately 75% of all mesothelioma cases.

Found between the lungs and the chest cavity, the pleura is a thin membrane that provides a lubricated surface so that the lungs can maneuver easily against the chest walls while breathing. The pleura also serves as a protective layer. Pleural mesothelioma is often incorrectly described as a form of lung cancer due to the pleura's close proximity to the lungs.

The second most common type of mesothelioma is peritoneal mesothelioma. This form accounts for approximately between 10-20% of all mesothelioma cases, or mesothelioma of the peritoneum. The peritoneum is a thin serous membrane that encapsulates the organs of the abdomen.

While peritoneal mesothelioma is not as common as pleural mesothelioma, it tends to be much more invasive and aggressive, typically yielding a shorter life expectancy for diagnosed patients. Pericardial mesothelioma is a lesser known form of the disease, accounting for less than 10% of all mesothelioma cases, or mesothelioma of the pericardium. The pericardium is the membrane that protects your heart, also referred to as the heart sac. The rarest form of mesothelioma is called tunica vaginalis testis and can originate in the lining surrounding the testicles.

Asbestos exposure is the only known cause of mesothelioma. Typically the result of occupational duties, mesothelioma can result from brief exposure to asbestos fibers. It has been determined that the dangers associated with working with asbestos have been known for over seventy years; however, employers chose to keep this knowledge disclosed for fear that it could have a negative impact on profitability. Even in this day and age, employees are often not properly notified that asbestos could be present in their working surroundings. This can result in any number of asbestos related diseases including the most serious, malignant mesothelioma.

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