Malignant mesothelioma demystified

Malignant mesothelioma demystified

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Malignant mesothelioma demystified
23 Jul 2017

Malignant mesothelioma demystified

If you or anyone you know has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma or are concerned about it, it is likely that you have a lot of disquiet and questions.  Although this is undoubtedly a daunting topic to deal with, learning some basics about malignant mesothelioma is a great place to start.

What are Mesothelial cells?

Mesothelial cells are the cells that are found inside the chest, around your heart, in the abdomen and in the outer surface of most of the human internal organs. These cells create a lining referred to as the mesothelium, which creates a special lubricating fluid that allows organs to move against each other without causing friction.

What is malignant mesothelioma?

Malignant mesothelioma is a type of cancer, which begins in the lining of the cells in certain parts of the human body. In particular, malignant mesothelioma is commonly found in the lining of the abdomen or the chest.  When the cells start to get out of hand and grow excessively, Mesothelial tumors start to form; these tumors can either be cancerous (malignant) or non-cancerous (benign).

Cancerous mesothelioma is frequently shortened to just mesothelioma and can start mainly in the following parts of the body:

  • Pleural mesotheliomas: situated in the chest.

  • Peritoneal mesotheliomas: found in the abdomen; these make up most of the cases.

  • Pericardial mesotheliomas: start forming in the covering around the heart; are extremely rare.

  • Mesotheliomas of the tunica vaginalis: starts forming in the covering layer of the testicles

Benign mesothelium tumors

Benign mesothelium tumors are non-cancerous and can be taken care of through surgery; there is usually no need for extra treatment after they are removed.

Who is at risk of getting mesothelioma?

The truth is that anyone can get mesothelioma, although it is quite a rare disease. The average age at diagnosis for most people is 50 to 70 years old, and it typically affects more males than females.  A large number of people that have been diagnosed with mesothelioma have suffered from exposure to asbestos fibers and dust, most likely from their jobs.

Family members that have been exposed to asbestos from loose fibers that cling to the worker’s hair or clothes may also face the risk of contracting mesothelioma.  Cases of mesothelioma were more common back in the 40’s and 70’s at a time when most jobs available involved hard labor such as mining, factory work, shipping, automotive work, work in heating and construction, and so on.  During these time periods, asbestos was used in a large number of schools, commercial buildings, and homes. Asbestos use has since been banned.


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