Types, Symptoms & Treatment

SYMPTOMS OF MALIGNANT MESOTHELIOMA

These symptoms are:

  • Chest pain under the rib cage
  • Painful coughing
  • Prolonged coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Unusual lumps of tissue under the skin on your chest
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Collapse of lung
  • Blood in sputum (phlegm) coughed up from the lungs
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Prolonged hoarseness
  • Nausea
  • Low oxygen levels

Although the above-referenced symptoms may have other causes, if you are experiencing them and have been exposed to asbestos, you should see your doctor or contact us and we will refer you to a known specialist.

WHAT IS PLEURAL MESOTHELIOMA?

Pleural mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that develops in the lining (mesothelium) of your lung (pleural cavity).

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF PLEURAL MESOTHELIOMA?

As this mesothelioma cancer resides in your lungs, your symptoms will be related to your thoracic cavity (chest), pleural cavity (lungs) and your breathing. They include:

  • Chest pain under the rib cage
  • Painful coughing
  • Prolonged coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Unusual lumps of tissue under the skin on your chest
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Collapse of lung
  • Blood in sputum (phlegm) coughed up from the lungs
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Prolonged hoarseness
  • Nausea
  • Low oxygen levels

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is wise to contact an oncologist experienced in mesothelioma or contact us and we will refer you to a known specialist.

HOW IS PLEURAL MESOTHELIOMA DIAGNOSED?

Step 1: Mesothelioma cancer specialists use a variety of tests instruments and procedures to gather evidence leading to a possible diagnosis.

These may include:

  • Physical examination
  • Health history review including possible asbestos exposure
  • Blood tests such as SOMAmer and MESOMARK
  • Chest X-ray of the organs and bones inside the chest
  • CT scan: A procedure that makes a series of detailed, computer-generated pictures of the chest, taken from different angles
  • MRI scan: A procedure that uses radio waves and a large magnet to look at organs and structures within the body
  • PET scan: Typically used in combination with a CT or MRI scan, the PET scan uses radiation to show activity in the body on a cellular level

Step 2:  In order to officially make a diagnosis of pleural mesothelioma a tissue biopsy must be conducted. By examining tissue cells under a microscope, a mesothelioma specialist can determine the existence of a pleural mesothelioma tumor.

Procedures used to collect the cells or tissues include the following:

  • Fine-needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy of the lung – The removal of tissue or fluid from the lung using a thin needle.
  • Thoracoscopy: An incision (cut) is made between two ribs and a thoracoscope (a thin, tube-like instrument with a light and a lens for viewing) is inserted into the chest to examine the area and take a tissue sample
  • Thoracotomy: An incision (cut) is made between two ribs to check inside the chest for signs of disease
  • Open biopsy: A procedure in which an incision (cut) is made through the skin to expose and remove tissues to check for signs of disease

WHAT IS PERITONEAL MESOTHELIOMA?

Peritoneal mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that develops in the lining (mesothelium) of your abdomen (peritoneum).

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF PERITONEAL MESOTHELIOMA?

  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Lumps of tissue in the abdomen
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is wise to see your doctor.

HOW IS PERITONEAL MESOTHELIOMA DIAGNOSED?

Step 1: Mesothelioma cancer specialists use a variety of tests instruments and procedures to gather evidence leading to a possible diagnosis.

These may include:

  • Physical examination
  • Health history review including possible asbestos exposure
  • Blood tests such as SOMAmer and MESOMARK
  • X-ray of the organs and bones inside the chest and abdomen
  • CT scan: A procedure that makes a series of detailed, computer-generated pictures of the abdomen, taken from different angles
  • MRI scan: A procedure that uses radio waves and a large magnet to look at organs and structures within the body
  • PET scan: Typically used in combination with a CT or MRI scan, the PET scan uses radiation to show activity in the body on a cellular level

Step 2:  In order to officially make a diagnosis of peritoneal mesothelioma a tissue biopsy must be conducted. By examining tissue cells under a microscope, a mesothelioma specialist can determine the existence of a peritoneal mesothelioma tumor.

Biopsy procedures used to collect the cells or tissues include the following:

  • Fine-needle aspiration (FNA): The removal of tissue or fluid using a thin needle. An imaging procedure is used to locate the abnormal tissue or fluid in the abdomen. A small incision may be made in the skin where the biopsy needle is inserted into the abnormal tissue or fluid, and a sample is removed.
  • Peritoneoscopy: An incision (cut) is made in the abdominal wall and a peritoneoscope (a thin, tube-like instrument with a light and a lens for viewing) is inserted into the abdomen and a tissue sample is taken
  • Laparotomy: An incision (cut) is made in the wall of the abdomen to check the inside of the abdomen for signs of disease
  • Open biopsy: A procedure in which an incision (cut) is made through the skin to expose and remove tissues to check for signs of disease

By examining cells or tissues, a mesothelioma specialist can determine if you have peritoneal mesothelioma.

PERICARDIAL MESOTHELIOMA

Pericardial mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that develops in the lining (mesothelium) of your heart (pericardium).

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF PERICARDIAL MESOTHELIOMA?

  • Chest pain
  • Coughing
  • Heart murmurs
  • Arrhythmia
  • Fluid build-up
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Night sweats

HOW IS PERICARDIAL MESOTHELIOMA DIAGNOSED?

Step 1: Mesothelioma cancer specialists use a variety of tests instruments and procedures to gather evidence leading to a possible diagnosis.

These may include:

  • Physical examination
  • Health history review including possible asbestos exposure
  • Blood tests such as SOMAmer and MESOMARK
  • X-ray of the organs and bones inside the chest
  • CT scan: A procedure that makes a series of detailed, computer-generated pictures of the chest, taken from different angles
  • MRI scan: A procedure that uses radio waves and a large magnet to look at organs and structures within the body
  • PET scan: Typically used in combination with a CT or MRI scan, the PET scan uses radiation to show activity in the body on a cellular level
  • Echocardiogram: An echo uses sound waves to create images of your heart’s chambers, valves, and walls

Step 2:  In order to officially make a diagnosis of pericardial mesothelioma a tissue biopsy must be conducted. By examining tissue cells under a microscope, a mesothelioma specialist can determine the existence of a pericardial mesothelioma tumor.

Biopsy procedures used to collect the cells or tissues include the following:

  • Pericardioscopy: An incision (cut) is made in the abdominal wall and a pericardioscope (a thin, tube-like instrument with a light and a lens for viewing) is inserted into the chest cavity and a tissue sample is taken
  • Pericardiocentesis: An incision is made in the chest and a hollow needle is inserted into the pericardium and fluid from the needle is drawn out for testing

EPITHELIOID MESOTHELIOMA

Epithelioid mesothelioma is the most common form of malignant mesothelioma and is found in epithelial tissues which line the cavities of the body. It is found in the outermost layer of those cells (epithelium) lining the lung, chest wall and abdomen.

  • Epithelioid– The epithelium is one of the four basic tissue types, along with connective tissue, muscle tissue, and nervous tissue. The first layers of the mesothelium are composed of epithelioid cells, which are elongated and ovular. Cancer affecting this cell type is aptly called “epithelial mesothelioma.” This form grows more slowly than other forms and is generally the easiest to treat.

The cancer, malignant mesothelioma, is most usually found in the lining in three areas of the body. They are:

  • Lung – pleural mesothelioma
  • Chest wall – also known as pleural mesothelioma
  • Abdomen – peritoneal mesothelioma

The cause of epithelioid mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos.

DIAGNOSING EPITHELIOID MESOTHELIOMA

Although oncologists (cancer doctors) experienced in treating epithelioid mesothelioma know that the most likely cause is asbestos exposure, they also know it can be difficult to properly diagnose. That’s because it doesn’t appear until decades after the asbestos exposure and, in some cases, resembles other types of cancer.

SARCOMATOID MESOTHELIOMA

These are large, spindle shaped cells that form fibrous bundles within the mesothelium. Sarcomatoid mesothelioma is aggressive, develops quickly and spreads rapidly to other areas of the body. It is resistant to treatment and considered the most deadly.

BIPHASIC MESOTHELIOMA

Biphasic mesothelioma indicates a presence of both sarcomatoid and epithelioid cell types.

OTHER FORMS OF MESOTHELIOMA

Signs and symptoms of other types of mesothelioma are unclear since these forms of the disease are very rare.

  • Mesothelioma of tunica vaginalis (mesothelioma in the tissue surrounding the testicles) can cause symptoms such as a swelling or a mass of a testicle
  • Metastatic mesothelioma– cancer that has spread beyond its origin
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