This is a form of cancer that has gained a great popularity in the world of science. At the present time, there is a high concern about this disease which has led to a lot of talks and debates worldwide. Researching about this disease has become a broad subject. In almost every city in the USA, there are awareness groups concerned with this disease. There is a memorial scholarship given in honour and remembrance of people that have been affected by this cancer. Lots of money has been spent and kept in place to fight this dreaded disease that is rapidly affecting the world’s population. Aside from researchers, doctors, scientist, and patients, many people search information about this form of cancer.
This is a rare, aggressive form of asbestos-related cancer that affects the protective cells underlining the mesothelial tissue or sac in the chest, heart, and abdomen. According to research, when asbestos is exposed to air, it is broken down rapidly into tiny fibres that can easily be inhaled without awareness. Once these tiny fibres get to the lungs, they enter and accumulate on the mesothelial tissue. It should take about two months of exposure to asbestos fibres before the development of a tumour that will, in the long run, lead to mesothelioma. It takes over 20-40years before its apparent manifestation. This is why; most mesothelioma patients have an age range of between 50-70 years.
Types of mesothelioma
This cancer is formed in the lining of certain body organs or spaces known as the mesothelium. It is most commonly classified according to the places in the body where it develops. They can be categorized based on three aspects which are; location, cell type, and tumour (malignancy).
Based on location, there are four main types; pleural, pericardial, peritoneal, and testicular. They can equally be classified based on the cell type (epithelial, biphasic, and sarcomatoid) and according to malignancy (malignant and benign).
Based on Location
Formed in the inner lining of the lungs, pleural mesothelioma is the most occurring form as it accounts for over 75-80% of new cases. This form is difficult to diagnose and its symptoms tend to be mild in its early stages but can worsen significantly in its later stages. From the time its first symptoms appear, persons with this disease often live less than 18 months.
This type originates from the heart and of all mesothelioma cases, it accounts for less than 1%. As this disease progresses, it becomes very difficult and complicated for the heart to supply oxygen to the body. Heart attack, breath shortness, and chest pain are the most common symptoms. In many cases, until an autopsy is performed, this disease goes undiagnosed.
It originates in the inner layer of the abdomen and this often extends to abdominal organs, such as bowel, spleen, and the liver. The most common symptom of this disease is a serious abdominal pain later followed by discomfort initiated by abdominal effusion.
This is an extremely infrequent form of this disease with little of it known. About this type, there is no available standard course of treatment as less than 100 cases have been detected worldwide.
Based on Cell type
Presently, mesothelioma diagnosis can be confirmed only by determining its cell type.
These are malignant and adenocarcinomas cells commonly associated with cancer of the lungs. These cells can easily be identified due to it uniform shape and elongated pattern. It is also the most common mesothelioma cell type.
Out of supportive structures such as bones and muscles grows these cells. These are long, spindle-shaped which are arranged in a haphazard manner making it very hard to treat and it is less common.
Based on Malignancy
This is another way to classify this cancer and it is made up of two types;
Most mesothelioma forms are malignant making it deadly. Because of mesothelioma long latency period, it becomes very hard to diagnose and definitely due to its malignancy, it is extremely dangerous.
It is a rare form and often seen in few limited cases. This is always easily and successfully cured than the malignant form. Well-differentiated papillary mesothelioma (WDPM) is often regarded as a benign form of this cancer.
Take away!!! Constant body check-up is vital for the maintenance of good health.