What Is Mesothelioma? Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

MesotheliomaMesothelioma is a form of asbestos-related cancer, which lines around the heart, lungs, stomach, and other organs.

Mesothelioma is a rare disease, it affects the surface of the pleura (the shell of the lungs), the membrane of the peritoneum, and pericardium. Due to a rapid growth, such tumor metastasizes to neighboring organs in a short time.

The main causes of mesothelioma are smoking and inhaling asbestos vapors.

The disease in most cases occurs in men over the age of 50.

Mesothelioma tumor can be both benign and malignant with an unfavorable prognosis for the patient. In recent years, the incidence rate has increased significantly. The incidence of mesothelioma among the countries of Europe is ranked first by the United Kingdom.

Causes of mesothelioma

  • Asbestos exposure;
  • Genetic predisposition to the disease;
  • Chemical substances released in large industries (copper, nickel, beryllium, paraffin in liquid form, polyurethane, etc.);
  • Virus SV-40;
  • Irradiation in the treatment of other cancers.

Symptoms of mesothelioma

  • Dry cough (sometimes with hemopoiesis);
  • Shortness of breath (dyspnea);
  • Respiratory complications;
  • Poor appetite and weight loss;
  • Pain in the chest or abdomen (due to ingrowth of the tumor into the ribs);
  • Fever, night sweats;
  • Pleural effusion (fluid around the lungs);
  • Fatigue and decreased efficiency;
  • Muscle weakness.

Diagnosis of mesothelioma

  • Radiography of the chest. Such a study helps identify lesions of the pleura, pericardium, lungs and detect fluid accumulation. Also, the X-ray makes it possible to specify the focus of the tumor its size;
  • CT and MRI-help to detect secondary metastases in other organs;
  • Ultrasound of the peritoneum and pleura;
  • Thoracoscopy – the study is carried out using a special optical device;
  • Puncture – the fluid is withdrawn from the cavity of the pleura. This allows you to conduct a biopsy, which includes a cytohistological analysis and clarify the stage of the disease.

Treatment of mesothelioma

mesothelioma treatment

With the surgical method of treatment, excising a tumor is not always possible because of its inaccessibility. If it is possible to remove the tumor completely, the sections of healthy tissues are also removed to reduce the risk of relapse.

Removal of pleura (pleurectomy) is performed at an early stage of pleural mesothelioma. In later stages, in addition to the pleura, it is possible to remove the lung, parts of the diaphragm and pericardium.

Chemotherapy is the most common treatment for mesothelioma. The tumor is affected by potent drugs that are injected intravenously or into the pleura itself. Effective drugs are Cisplatinum and Pemetrexed. You can find other effective drugs for mesothelioma treatment at Canadian Health&Care Mall. Chemotherapy can be used as an additional treatment after surgical removal of the tumor.

The above methods of treatment cannot be independent. The doctor individually selects a comprehensive treatment, looking at the patient’s condition and stage of the disease.

Prognosis for mesothelioma. Stage 4 – how long do I have to live?

The prognosis for a mesothelial tumor depends on many factors: the stage of the disease, the localization of the tumor, the possibility of surgical removal of the tumor. The earlier the disease is diagnosed, the better the prognosis. In the absence of treatment, life expectancy at stage 4 does not exceed 6 months. Supportive therapy is able to extend this period up to 2 years.

Mesothelioma prevention

To protect yourself from this terrible disease, every person must know that asbestos exposure and other harmful minerals provoke cancer. Those whose professional activities are related to the extraction of asbestos, those work in industries, and people living in industrial zones, should undergo a regular medical examination and take tests to avoid mesothelioma.