Malignant mesothelioma causes are still unknown. However, the main factor leading to the increase in mesothelioma cases across the world is exposure to asbestos, which is widely used in several industries, including construction, automotive and heating. Asbestos, which was used in the construction industry, is still being used in building materials and renovation works in most countries. It was also used in some electrical appliances. Some individuals are at a higher risk of getting this cancer because of their work history.
Malignant mesothelioma usually develops slowly over a period of time. Malignant mesothelioma develops mainly when malignant fibers from asbestos get into the body and circulate throughout the lymphatic system. When these malignant fibers travel through the body, they produce abnormal growths in various organs of the body. Some of these organs include the lungs, stomach, heart, abdominal area and the pleura (the covering of the lungs). When these organs become infected, mesothelioma can develop.
The main reason why asbestos exposure leads to malignant mesothelioma cancer is the fact that the asbestos particles become lodged in different parts of the respiratory system, especially the alveoli, which are air sacs in the lungs. Inhaled asbestos fibers eventually become trapped in alveoli, which enlarge and cause irritation. If the person was frequently exposed to asbestos in his or her workplace, then there is an increased risk of developing mesothelioma, as well as other lung disorders, due to the accumulation of asbestos fibers in the body. Other risk factors for malignant mesothelioma include smoking, general cancer prior to work, chronic exposure to asbestos, and genetics, as people who have a history of asbestos exposure are more likely to develop this disease.
Pleural mesothelioma, on the other hand, is caused by continuous exposure to different types of asbestos fibers in the workplace. The most common type of asbestos fibers are chrysotile, amosite and tremolite. These fibers are inhaled and can cause severe irritation in the mesothelioma patient’s chest. Chest pain, persistent coughing and fever are some of the symptoms of pleural mesothelioma, as well as weight loss and irregular heartbeats. Asbestosis is another common type of mesothelioma cause, wherein there is an accumulation of scar tissue in the patient’s chest wall, leaving it very hard to breathe.
Once doctors determine that these symptoms are indeed caused by Pleural Mesothelioma, they will usually order additional tests such as chest x-rays and CT scans. If the doctor finds that the mesothelioma has spread, then more tests will be ordered. In fact, if doctors find that more than ten percent of mesothelioma cells have already been affected, then further testing will be done. These tests will involve: Blood tests to confirm the presence of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome; X-Rays to confirm an infection; and CAT Scans to confirm cancerous cell growth. However, if a patient has only one or two symptoms that point to pleural mesothelioma, then it is likely that this cancer will not lead to any life-threatening diseases.
Other symptoms to look out for include persistent cough, dysphagia (difficulties in swallowing), nausea and vomiting, palpitations, chest pain and fever. In order to detect whether the pericardial mesothelioma affects the heart or whether it affects another organ in close proximity to the lungs, blood tests will be taken in order to confirm the diagnosis. If it is found that pleural mesothelioma affects the heart, then the doctors will need to perform a heart transplant.