Cancers that spread in the mesothelium tissues are known as mesothelioma cancers.
Mesothelium in general is the name of tissue that forms lining of different body organs such as heart, lungs, abdomen and reproductive organs. The lining around abdominal organs is known as peritoneal membrane. Lining around lungs is called pleural membrane while the lining around heart is called pericardium.
These linings perform two functions. They protect the internal organs by producing a lubricating fluid and to allow the smooth movement of the internal organs. Mesothelioma cancers are the cancers affecting these membranes. The names of the cancers depend on the tissue or linings they affect.
Peritoneal mesothelioma, pleural mesothelioma and pericardial mesothelioma are the names of cancers of linings of abdomen, lungs and heart, respectively. Pleural mesothelioma is the most common of all mesothelioma cancers and is found in 70 % of the mesothelioma patients. Peritoneal mesothelioma constitutes 10% to 20% of the mesothelioma patients while third type pericardial mesothelioma, is rare.
Symptoms of Mesothelioma Cancers
Symptoms of mesothelioma cancers are same as of other common diseases. It makes diagnosis mesothelioma cancers a difficult task. Pain and swelling in abdomen, weakness, loss of weight, loss of appetite and nausea are some symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma. Symptoms of pleural mesothelioma are persistent cough, difficulty in breathing, weight loss, loss of appetite, weakness, chest pains, lower back pains and difficulty in swallowing.
History of Mesothelioma Cancers
History of mesothelioma cancers goes back to as far back as 1900s. It took about 60 years to gather sufficient information about these mesothelioma cancers. By the end of sixth decade of last century, experts could conclude that exposure to asbestos particles is the reason behind the disease. J. C. Wagner was first researcher to report 32 cases of mesothelioma cancers and confirmed its association with asbestos exposure.
An alarming fact about mesothelioma cancers is their extended latency period. These cancers may remain asymptomatic in the body for even up to 50 years. Chances of survival for mesothelioma patients are rare and the average survival period after diagnosis is not more than 12-24 months.
Surgery if diagnosed early, chemotherapy and radiation therapy are some common treatments for all types of mesothelioma cancers. People suffering from mesothelioma cancers can, and have, filed lawsuits to recover damages for medical expenses and other damages.