Mesothelioma is a form of cancer which affects the mesothelium. The mesothelium is a thin membrane which covers the heart, lungs and other internal organs. You normally get this disease from being exposed to asbestos fibers at some point in your life.
Types of mesothelioma
Pleural mesothelioma is the most common form is pleural mesothelioma which develops within the mesothelium. Pleural mesothelioma will develop in the pleural membrane which is the lungs lining.
Breathing in asbestos fibers is the cause of pleural mesothelioma. Upon entering the lungs, the asbestos fibers will work their way into the lungs pleural membrane. Once in there, the body will find it almost impossible to get rid of them. Over a period of several decades, the asbestos fibers will cause the pleural cells to change. These changes may lead to the lungs becoming scarred and, eventually, tumors forming.
Once the cells of the pleural membrane turn cancerous, they will continuously divide, leading to a reduction in lung capacity and causing fluid to buildup between the layers of the pleural membrane.
Because pleural mesothelioma is usually not caught until the later stages of the disease, the prognosis for the patient is normally poor. But, if the disease is caught in the early stages, then the patient's prognosis as well as the life expectancy will be much improved.
Malignant peritoneal mesothelioma - this is a very rare form of cancer which strikes the peritoneum (the cell walls surrounding the abdominal cavity. The peritoneum lubricates the abdominal cavity which allows the surrounding internal organs and body structures to expand and contract. Peritoneal mesothelioma is very rare with fewer than 500 people contracting this form of cancer each year.
Several decades after asbestos fibers are breathed in or ingested; cancer will develop in the patient's abdomen. Modern tests can diagnose whether or not a patient has peritoneal mesothelioma. Despite the fact that it is not usually diagnosed until it is in the later stages, there are still some treatment options.
Although some patients may qualify for surgery and other curative treatment options, other patients may simply choose palliative measures. Most patients with peritoneal mesothelioma survive for less than a year. However, with the proper treatment, life expectancy could increase. A mesothelioma specialist can help patients find the best treatment options for their cancer, which might improve the patient's prognosis.
According to some studies, the average life expectancy of a man diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma is 7 months, although a few men have survived for almost 100 months. Women usually survive for approximately 9 months after being diagnosed, with a few women surviving for a maximum of 49 months. Patients whose mesothelioma was caught early and with less severe symptoms naturally have a better prognosis.
Mesothelioma treatment options
When it comes to treating cancer, doctors focus on killing the malignant cells and saving the healthy ones. There are several ways to do this.
Doctors will utilize chemotherapy, surgery, or radiation or a combination of all three as the most effective way to treat mesothelioma. The treatment that will be recommended is dependent on several issues:
The type and location of the mesothelioma
How big are the tumors?
How much the cancer has metastasized?
What stage the cancer is in.
The patient's age
The patient's overall health
Several types of doctors will be involved in treating the cancer such as an oncologist or cancer specialist, a radiologist, and a pulmonologist or lung specialist. It can take time to figure out the precise location and variety of the cancer, but determining these factors will enable the oncologist to prescribe the most effective mesothelioma treatment.
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