Mesothelioma, a rare form of lung cancer, usually affects the lining tissue that surrounds the lungs. This form is known as pleural mesothelioma, which accounts for the swelling that occurs around the pleura. Other, more common, forms of mesothelioma also affect tissues around the chest (peritoneum) and on the ovaries (perinatal mesothelioma). While most mesotheliomas affect men, there are some cases of mesothelioma in women.
Women who have had cancer of the cervix or pelvic area are at a greater risk of developing mesothelioma because their bodies are more susceptible to the effects of radiation therapy. The increased risk is thought to be because of the fact that the pelvic cavity and the cervix are exposed to elevated levels of radiation during radiotherapy. This increases the risk of malignant mesothelioma by two-fold, since malignant mesothelioma often manifests itself in the pleura (lining the lungs and chest cavity). Women who have had their uterus removed should not receive chest radiotherapy. This is one way that researchers believe explains the increased risk of mesothelioma among women.
Some researchers think that the increased risk of mesothelioma is also related to the amount of asbestos exposure that people receive through their jobs. According to studies, asbestos exposure has been shown to cause several different kinds of cancer including mesothelioma. Workers who have worked with asbestos fibers on a regular basis are particularly at risk. However, it can also be caused by exposure to other airborne elements, such as household dust. Studies have not proven a direct relationship between asbestos exposure and the development of the disease, but many people who have had mesothelioma or are currently experiencing mesothelioma do not want to take any chances.
Symptoms of mesothelioma are usually not noticed until more advanced stages. When the disease initially appears, patients may experience chest pain, shortness of breath, coughing, and a fever. These symptoms will usually improve over time without any treatment, although more advanced cases may require a lung scan to determine if there is any malignancy present. If there is any suspected malignancy, a biopsy will be performed to examine the lungs or abdomen. The doctor will use a special type of x-ray called an intravenous pyelogram, or IPL, to examine the lungs. An image of the lung will be taken using this technology so the doctor can see any potential abnormalities in the lungs or abdomen.
There are several risk factors that can increase the risk of developing mesothelioma, including: having been exposed to asbestos, living in an area that was highly exposed to asbestos, or having a family history of the disease. Other risk factors include smoking and obesity. It is also possible to be exposed to less well-known risk factors such as lead in paint and drinking water. Having a family member who has had mesothelioma can increase the risk of contracting the disease, although this is not a guaranteed cause.
Pericardial Mesothelioma symptoms and signs include: shortness of breath, swelling of the abdomen, unexplained weight loss, nausea, and abdominal pains. Many of these symptoms can be attributed to heart problems, although it is possible for some of them to be due to other things as well. When the pericardial fluid becomes excessively congested, it can cause serious symptoms such as fainting or dizziness. If symptoms are ignored or left untreated, the outcome of the disease can be fatal.