The Types of Mesothelioma

April 29, 2011 - 3 minutes read

We often mention how mesothelioma is the result of asbestos exposure.  However, victims should realize that there are other aspects to the crippling cancer.  Doctors have identified mesothelioma in three forms: pleural, pericardial, and peritoneal.  Each form varies in frequency and the symptoms they indicate.  If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, take the opportunity to understand the types of mesothelioma.

Pleural Mesothelioma

Pleural mesothelioma cases account for approximately 66-75% of all diagnoses.  The pleura are sacs with a thin membrane that encase the lungs.  As asbestos fibers are inhaled and accumulate, they puncture the lungs and enter the pleural cavity.  They destroy the lung’s outer lining that allows them to expand and contract naturally.  Fluid in the pleura becomes saturated with these fibers and cancerous tumors develop.  The tumors grow to an alarming size and cause a range of symptoms.  Patients report persistent coughs, difficulty swallowing, fatigue, chest pains, and even visible lumps in the chest area.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma

This type of mesothelioma affects the digestive and intestine system and accounts for 25-30% of cases.  Asbestos fibers collect in the stomach and pierce their way through the stomach lining.  The fibers stimulate cell mutation along the stomach lining.  Tumors develop and exert pressure on the stomach and lower organs.  Patients often have a history of stomach pain, weight and appetite loss, abdominal swelling and trouble passing waste.

Pericardial Mesothelioma

This is the rarest type of mesothelioma and represents fewer than 5% of the reported mesothelioma cases.  Pericardial mesothelioma begins in the pericardium, which is the protective lining around the heart.  Asbestos fibers infect the bloodstream and travel to the heart.  Once there, they deteriorate the protective lining and cause a buildup of fluid.  The cancer causes its victims to suffer from many of the same symptoms as the other types of mesothelioma.  They also experience heart tremors and irregular heartbeats.

Physicians treat mesothelioma using three methods.  They can surgically remove infected parts or in drastic cases the entire cancerous area.  Radiation is also performed to kill cancerous cells.  Radiation presents a problem, however, as healthy cells are also damaged in the process.  Powerful cancer drugs used in chemotherapy are also helpful in stunting the growth and killing tumors.  Although these procedures may prove effective, they do not come without side effects.  Patients are often left with additional health problems that will affect them for the rest of their life.

Currently there is no cure for any of the types of mesothelioma.  With new medical developments and successful results from trial studies, doctors are closer to discovering improved ways to treat the cancer.  Mesothelioma is fatal and you don’t need to remain silent about the negligence of companies who are responsible.  Contact a mesothelioma attorney today to have your claim assessed.