Mesothelioma is a very aggressive and sometimes deadly type of cancer. Like other forms of cancer, mesothelioma often begins in the lining of organs like the lungs, the heart, the abdomen, the heart, or the brain. The cells that line the internal organs and cavities of the body are called the mesothelium. When these cells become cancerous, they can then spread to other parts of the body, affecting the other organs and leading to cancerous tumors. With this disease, malignant mesothelioma cells can migrate to the lungs, the heart, the abdomen, the brain, or even the eyes. For some individuals with mesothelioma-like symptoms, a cure is not possible.
Different types of mesothelioma exist, depending on where the mesothelioma cells are localized. They include peritoneal mesothelioma (which affects the abdomen), pericardial mesothelioma (which affects the heart), periculohumeral mesothelioma (which affects the brain or eyes) and pleural mesothelioma (which affects the chest). Doctors divide mesothelioma according to what area of the mesothelioma cell is affected. In general, if the mesothelioma-causing cells are present in an area that receives high levels of asbestos, the patient is at a greater risk for developing cancer. However, even when asbestos is not present, mesothelioma can still occur because the body has difficulty clearing away the abnormal cells once they form.
One of the most common forms of mesothelioma treatment is surgery. Surgery, which can be either total or partial, removes the mesothelioma-causing tissue from the affected areas. Sometimes, doctors use a special mesh to replace the tissue, which is also effective in removing mesothelioma-causing material from the affected areas. However, these surgeries are not without risk. The high level of radiation often damages normal tissue along with the cancer cells, so it can take many years for the normal tissue to recover.
When doctors suspect mesothelioma in patients, they typically perform imaging tests such as X-rays, CT scans and MRIs. These tests can help identify the nature and location of the mesothelioma tissue, but they cannot provide doctors with an accurate diagnosis at this point. When the cancer cells begin to spread uncontrollably, they can affect the lining of the abdominal cavity or the pericardium, which can cause abdominal pain and vomiting. Some patients experience respiratory symptoms as well, such as shortness of breath and fever. Unfortunately, there is no way to test for the presence of mesothelioma in the heart, chest or lungs.
If you believe you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma despite having a definitive diagnosis, then you should talk with your doctor as soon as possible. Once the condition has been confirmed, your doctor will determine whether surgery or other treatment options will help you. Your doctor will likely ask you to undergo several tests in order to make a proper diagnosis. Some tests will include a physical examination of the affected area, a chest x-ray and a lung scan. In addition, your doctor will want to review your medical history, work up a complete profile of your medical history and talk with you about any prior problems you may have had.
Unfortunately, determining the existence of mesothelioma is often not easy due to the fact that the majority of cases are thought to be related to asbestos exposure. Although most people who have been exposed to asbestos are aware they have this illness, some do not become aware until they begin experiencing shortness of breath, chronic cough, shortness of time to heal and fatigue. The best way to determine if you have mesothelioma is to immediately notify your doctor.