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What is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is rare and deadly form of cancer associated to exposure to the asbestos. Asbestos fibers are very dangerous and if person inhales them due to constant exposure to asbestos, mesothelioma cancer may develop. Asbestos is a material that has been widely used in industrial products such as cement, roof shingles, floor tiles, brake linings, textiles and insulation. This material has sound–absorbing properties and it is highly resistant to heat, chemical and electrical damage. Tiny asbestos particles float in the air during manufacturing process hence most endangered group of people are industrial laborers. Apart from mesothelioma, asbestos can cause chronic lung ailment known as asbestosis, lung cancer, kidney cancer and larynx cancer. Mesothelioma is also seen in people who do not have a history of exposure to asbestos like those who live with asbestos workers. That is because asbestos fibers can stay on clothes and hair of the workers which than puts at risk others at home.

Types of MesotheliomaMesothelium is the tissue that lines the lung, stomach, heart and other internal organs. There are different types of mesothelioma distinguished by the area in the body that is affected. They include pleural, peritoneal, pericardial and testicular mesothelioma. Since, inhaled asbestos particles can get trapped in the lungs, stomach and esophagus different type of mesothelioma may develop in exposed person.

Pleural Mesothelioma

Pleural mesothelioma is the most common type of mesothelioma and it represents about 75% of all mesothelioma cases. The cancer develops in lining of the lungs (the pleura) when asbestos particles get caught in small air pockets in the organ. After prolonged exposure to asbestos, the fibers build up in the air pockets and block them. This can cause chronic inflammation that eventually leads to growth of cancerous tumors.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Peritoneal mesothelioma occurs in the lining of the abdominal cavity known as the peritoneum. It is the second rarest form of the disease and account for about 20% of all mesothelioma cancers. The cancer forms in the mesothelial cells of the peritoneum. It may develop in people who breathe more through the stomach. This relatively rare type of cancer is diagnosed in 200 to 500 individuals each year in the United States.

Pericardial Mesothelioma This type of mesothelioma originates in the lining of the heart known as the pericardium. It is unknown how tiny asbestos particles reach the pericardial lining but it is believed that they may be absorbed into the blood stream and trapped in the lining of the heart. Pericardial mesothelioma is very rare and accounts only about 10% of all mesothelioma each year.

Testicular MesotheliomaTesticular mesothelioma is the rarest type of mesothelioma cancer and there are less than 100 cases recorded in the last 60 years. It develops in the lining of the testicles known as tunica vaginalis.

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