Category: Disease Prevention

Symptoms to watch out for Mesothelioma

Published:15 Feb, 2017     By: Salan Khalkho     5 min read

Every year there are approximately 2000 patients diagnosed with Mesothelioma annually in United Kingdom. As per CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), each year 2,700 people are killed by Mesothelioma in USA.


Asbestos causes Mesothelioma cancer

Mesothelioma or more precisely known as malignant is a rare cancer of mesothelial cells, especially those in the lining that covers the lungs and organs in the abdomen. Mesothelial cells are present in the lining (membrane) that covers the outer surface of our body organs. It's a sarcoma since it's a cancer of the lining. In majority of the case, patients live about one year post diagnosis.

Mesothelioma cancer has increased almost tenfold

Death arising from Mesothelioma cancer has increased almost tenfold

According to a report published by 'Medical News Today', every year there are approximately 2000 patients diagnosed with Mesothelioma annually in United Kingdom. As per CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), each year 2,700 people are killed by Mesothelioma in USA. The death arising from Mesothelioma cancer has increased almost tenfold during 1969 to 2009 in UK. Four out of every five death due to Mesothelioma involve men.

Mesothelioma diagnosis is rare but devastating

This type of diagnosis is devastating. Mesothelioma is extremely rare, at least 100 times less common than lung cancer. This also makes researching and studying treatment options much difficult. However still there are many clinical researches that are happening globally.

Exposure to asbestos

Exposure to asbestos causes Mesothelioma

Majority of people diagnosed with mesothelioma have at least once been exposed to asbestos at some point in their life. Each year on 26th September the world observes Mesothelioma Awareness Day to raise people's awareness about this dreaded illness.

    It takes anywhere between 20 to 40 years to turn affected cells cancerous

    So far it has been established that prolonged exposure to asbestos or particle is the primary causes of Mesothelioma and it takes anywhere between 20 to 40 years to turn affected cells cancerous. There aren't enough study to known about the magnitude of exposure that can cause Mesothelioma besides many other factors such as genetic and environment. But still the risk of developing Mesothelioma is closely linked to asbestos particle doses, for example how long the person is exposed to asbestos particle and how much did they actually inhale. WHO (World Health Organization) said in 2005, that approximately 125 million people are exposed globally to asbestos at their work place.

    dust containing fine asbestos

    Atmosphere may still have asbestos dust

    The use of asbestos has decreased significantly over time, yet its exposure is still possible and continues to pose a serious threat. When older material containing asbestos breaks down, there is a potential that dust containing fine asbestos particle may release in the atmosphere which can be inhaled or ingested. One of the common scenarios is when an old building is demolished or is renovated.

      Jobs that may cause Mesothelioma cancer

      Jobs that may cause Mesothelioma cancer

      People in jobs where they are exposed to asbestos fibers are much likely to develop disease. Asbestos is commonly used for insulation, fireproofing, ironing board covers, sound proofing and roofing. Some of the places with chances of asbestos exposure include, steel mills, oil refineries, power plants, construction sites and shipyards.

      Accidental exposure to asbestos

      Sometimes even family members who have never set their foot outside in a working environment that contained asbestos can be exposed. The asbestos fibers may be carried home along with the workers cloths and then breathed by other household members.

      asbestos causes Mesothelioma cancer

      How exposure to asbestos causes Mesothelioma cancer?

      When asbestos particles are inhaled or ingested, they settle on the lining of the abdomen, chest or lung. This accumulation over time increases the chances of development of cancerous cells. When asbestos is damaged, its particles or fibers are released into the air making the environment hazardous for human health.

      There are chances that fiber may be swallowed or breathed thereby making their way into the human body where they get embedded to the tissue and eventually lead to Mesothelioma.

      Mesothelioma is categorized in to three types depending on where it is present on the body.

      • Pleural mesothelioma - This is when pleura a lining that surrounds the lungs, is affected. In fact this is one of the most common types of mesothelioma.
      • Peritoneal mesothelioma - This is when the cancer attacks the peritoneum which is lining of the abdomen. This is second most common type of mesothelioma.
      • Pericardial mesothelioma - This is when cancer attacks the protective layer that covers the heart. This is one of the rarest forms.

      All of the above three form of mesothelioma are nearly always caused by exposure to asbestos. Mesothelioma is highly aggressive form of cancer and for most of the patients there is no cure. In majority of the case all that can be done is to focus on improving the quality of life as the disease progress while making patient as comfortable as possible.

      symptoms of mesothelioma

      Signs and symptoms of mesothelioma

      Symptom is something that patient observes or feels while sign is something that everyone could see including doctors and nurse. For example pain is a symptom that only a patient can feel while a rash on the skin is a sign that everyone can see.

      Exposure to asbestos or asbestos dust can take as long as 30 years to show up any symptoms of mesothelioma. In most of the cases, by the time a patient is diagnosed with mesothelioma, the disease has already advanced. An effective outcome depends on how early malignancy is diagnosed.

      The signs and symptoms of mesothelioma vary depending on where on the body the cancer is.

      Pleural mesothelioma (cancer in the tissue surrounding the lungs)

      • The patient observes shortness of breath.
      • Persistent coughing is observed which is often painful
      • Patient undergoes unexpected and unexplainable weight loss
      • There is a pain under the rib cage
      • In some cases lump is detected under the skin in the chest area
      • Lower back pain
      • Patient also observes discomfort in the side of the chest
      • Exhaustion
      • Many patients may also experience sweating, fear or even difficulty in swallowing

      Peritoneal mesothelioma (cancer in the lining covering abdomen)

      • Patient undergoes unexpected and unexplainable weight loss
      • Patient also experiences pain in his abdomen
      • Swelling is also observed in the abdomen
      • Lump formation in the abdomen
      • Nausea and vomiting

      Pericardial mesothelioma (cancer in the lining covering heart area)

      • The symptom is marked by low blood pressure
      • Shortness of breath
      • Patient experiences fluid retention (edema), often in legs
      • Heart palpitations
      • Patient experiences extreme fatigue after light exertion
      • Patient also observes pain in his chest


      Important Note: Medical and health related information given in this article is not a substitute for professional medical advice. This article is intended for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment.



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