Saturday, November 10, 2012

What is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a rare cancer that comes mesothelium. The mesothelium is a protective lining that covers the internal organs of the body. Mesothelioma occurs when cells begin to divide uncontrollably mesothelium. They can begin to invade and damage nearby tissues and organs and may gradually spread to other parts of the body.

About 2,500 cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed in the United States each year and most of them traced back to exposure to asbestos work. Asbestos is the leading cause of mesothelioma and main risk factors. There is a higher incidence of cancer in men than women and most of the victims over the age of 65, but the disease can strike at any age.

Although the use of asbestos has declined substantially in recent years, this has not led to a substantial decrease in the incidence of mesothelioma. The reason is because there is a latency period of asbestos exposure for the diagnosis of disease - it can take about 20 to 50 years for symptoms of mesothelioma to develop after exposure to asbestos.

The mesothelium

Mesothelium membrane consists of two layers of cells. One layer surrounds the organs while others form a sac around it. There is a lubricating fluid produced by the mesothelium between the two layers that help in the sliding motion of the organs against each other.
Depending on the location on the body, the mesothelium is known by different names. Mesothelial tissue that covers the abdominal organs is known as the peritoneum and the membranes that protect the lungs and chest cavity called the pleura. The mesothelium covers and protects the heart is known as pericardium.
Most cases of mesothelioma begin in the pleura or peritoneum. However, cancer can invade the tunica vaginalis, which is a sac that surrounds the testis and pericardium.

Types of Mesothelioma

Malignant mesothelioma is, unfortunately, the most common type, but there is also a benign form:

• malignant mesothelioma
It is a rare form of cancer and the most serious of all asbestos-related diseases. It can be a difficult disease to diagnose properly because the symptoms may be similar to other diseases. Today, pathologists using immunohistochemistry to actually identify the protein and the DNA of the cancer cells to help arrive at the correct diagnosis. Typical for the treatment of malignant mesothelioma include chemotherapy (usually pemetrexed and cisplatin), radiation, surgery, and multi-modality therapy (two or more combination therapy).

• Non-Malignant Mesothelioma
Also referred to as benign mesothelioma, this is much easier to treat than the malignant form of cancer. Many cases have been successfully treated and cured.

Protect Yourself from Mesothelioma

Because mesothelioma is caused by asbestos exposure, the best way to minimize your risk is to reduce your exposure to asbestos. Unfortunately, asbestos was used in thousands of different products, especially building products. In addition, the United States does not currently have a total ban on asbestos today. More recently, independent testing found that some children's toys from China contain asbestos. Usually asbestos is harmless unless swallowed or inhaled. However, fiber is very small (microscopic) that you can not see them with the naked eye.

Disclaimer: The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other health care providers qualified with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this article.