A type of cancer called malignant mesothelioma develops in the thin layer of tissue that covers most of your internal organs (mesothelium). It is an aggressive and fatal form. There are mesothelioma treatments available, but for many mesothelioma patients, a cure is not feasible.
Depending on whatever portion of the mesothelium is compromised, doctors classify mesothelioma into various types. Most frequently, mesothelioma attacks the tissue around the lungs (pleura). Pleural mesothelioma is the name given to this kind. The tissue in the abdomen (peritoneal mesothelioma), the heart, and the testicles are affected by other, more uncommon kinds of mesothelioma.
Depending on where the cancer develops, mesothelioma has different signs and symptoms. The signs and symptoms of pleural mesothelioma, which affects the tissue surrounding the lungs, may include:
- Painful coughing
- Breathing difficulty
- Chest pain
- Unexplained weight loss
- Unusual tissue lumps beneath the skin of your chest
The signs and symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma, which affects tissue in the abdomen, may include:
- Abdominal distention
- Pain in the abdomen
- Unexplained weight loss
Other forms of mesothelioma
Since these varieties of mesothelioma are very uncommon, it is unclear what the signs and symptoms of other types are.
Chest aches and breathing difficulties are only a couple of the signs and symptoms of pericardial mesothelioma, which affects the tissue surrounding the heart.
Testicular edema or a tumor may be the earliest signs of mesothelioma of the tunica vaginalis, which affects the tissue around the testicles.
If you experience any symptoms or signs that worry you, consult a doctor. Because mesothelioma is a rare disease, the signs and symptoms aren’t unique to it and are more likely to be linked to other illnesses. Ask your doctor to evaluate any persistent symptoms or signs if they appear out of the ordinary or unpleasant. If you’ve been exposed to asbestos, let your doctor know.
Cancer often starts as a succession of DNA alterations (mutations) in a cell. The instructions that inform a cell what to do are encoded in its DNA. The cell is instructed to grow and multiply uncontrollably by the mutations. The aberrant cells gather and develop into a tumor.
Although studies have identified factors that may raise the risk, it remains unclear what triggers the initial genetic abnormalities that result in mesothelioma. It’s possible that a variety of factors, including genetic problems, your environment, your health conditions, and your lifestyle choices, interact to create cancer.
It is believed that asbestos exposure causes the majority of mesotheliomas. A mineral called asbestos occurs naturally in the environment. Because asbestos fibers are robust and heat-resistant, they can be used in a wide range of products, including insulation, brakes, shingles, flooring, and many others.
Dust may be produced when asbestos is broken up, such as during mining or after removing asbestos insulation. If the dust is swallowed or inhaled, asbestos fibers will congregate in the stomach and lungs, where they can irritate tissues and possibly develop mesothelioma. Following asbestos exposure, mesothelioma development might take anywhere between 20 and 60 years or longer.
Most persons who are exposed to asbestos do not go on to acquire mesothelioma. This suggests that there may be other factors that affect a person’s risk of developing mesothelioma. For instance, you might have a hereditary propensity for cancer or another illness that raises your risk.
Mesothelioma risk factors include the following:
- Exposure of asbestos. Your risk of developing mesothelioma is considerably raised if you have ever been in close contact with asbestos fibers, whether at work or at home.
- Living with someone who works with asbestos. Asbestos exposure can cause people to bring the fibers home on their skin and clothing. Others in the home may get mesothelioma after years of exposure to these stray fibers. By taking a shower and changing out of their work clothing before leaving, people who deal with high levels of asbestos can lessen the chance of transporting asbestos fibers home.
- Mesothelioma history. You may have a higher risk of developing mesothelioma if your parent, sibling, or kid does.
- Radiation. Mesothelioma risk may be higher if you underwent radiation therapy for chest cancer.