Types of Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that originates in the mesothelium. The mesothelium is a thin layer of flat cells that protect the body's internal organs. Our body's internal organs often require the ability to move within the chest and abdominal cavity. These are normal bodily motions of expansion and contraction. For organs to move freely in the body they require the lubrication of the mesothelium. Not only does it spread easily to other parts of the body, mesothelioma initiates within these areas, causing a serious health consequence to the normal body functions.
Among types of mesothelioma, there are generally three recognized forms in which it can manifest. The first and most common is malignant pleural mesothelioma, which develops in the pleural lining of the lung. The second and less common variety is malignant peritoneal mesothelioma, a cancer of the abdominal lining. The rarest form of mesothelioma is malignant pericardial mesothelioma, a cancer of the pericardial lining of the heart.
The only known cause for each of these three forms is exposure to asbestos. While there have been instances in which a patient's history did not include, or did not directly include asbestos exposure, it is blamed in the vast majority of cases. There is no known cure for mesothelioma and prognoses are generally poor. Treatments are readily available in most cases, the most widely used being chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Surgery may be an option but by the time mesothelioma manifests itself in terms of symptoms, stage at diagnosis may have already ruled this mesothelioma treatment route out.
New treatments are being diligently pursued, including multi-faceted treatment programs incorporating two or more of the above treatment programs into a single patient's care. Through awareness of mesothelioma, asbestos, and the potential health consequences we can begin ridding ourselves of this unfortunate disease.
- Cancer Research, UK. "Types of Mesothelioma" http://www.cancerhelp.org.uk/help/default.asp?page=4398
- Cancer Research, UK. "What is Mesothelioma?"http://www.cancerhelp.org.uk/help/default.asp?page=4393
- National Cancer Institute. Cellular Classification. http://www.peacehealth.org/kbase/nci/ncidr.0000062895.htm
Last modified: February 15, 2010.