Mesothelioma is a rare cancer. It represents only 0.3 percent of all cancer diagnoses. Most doctors and oncologists have never encountered it.
Malignant mesothelioma is a rare, asbestos-related cancer. It forms on the protective tissues covering the lungs, abdomen and heart. Symptoms include coughing, chest pain and shortness of breath. Treatments combining surgery, radiation and chemotherapy improve survival and life expectancy.
Common mesothelioma symptoms include:
- Dry coughing
- Shortness of breath
- Respiratory complications
- Pain in the chest or abdomen
- Fever or night sweats
- Pleural effusion (fluid around the lungs)
- Weakness in the muscles
Regarding pathogenesis, the asbestos fibers are ingested and work their way from digestive organs into the peritoneal membrane or these fibers are inhaled and travel to the peritoneal membrane via the lymphatic system.
Development of Mesothelioma
- A person inhales or swallows airborne asbestos fibers.
- The asbestos fibers become lodged in the lining of the lungs, abdomen or heart.
- The embedded fibers damage the mesothelial cells and cause inflammation.
Over time, tumors begin to form on the damaged mesothelium.