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Mesothelioma Cancer Types

Mesothelioma or asbestos lung cancer affects the lungs andchest cavity. This type of cancer usually developsin men over 40 years of age, and every year there is about 3.000 new cases ofthis cancer diagnosed. Epithelial mesothelioma affects the lining of the lings,the heart, chest or abdominal cavities. It is divided into three forms:pleural, peritoneal and pericardial mesothelioma. Lung lining cancer affectsmesothelium (membrane that covers most of internal organs of the body).

Pleural mesothelioma is the most common type of this cancer.As it involves in the membrane between the lungs and chest cavity (pleura) it gotthe name pleural. This type of mesothelioma has two subtypes, so it can be either“diffuse and malignant” or ''localized and benign”. It may also be caused by someother factors than exposure to asbestos, and in these cases, it usually affectschest wall, abdominal organs, the lungs or lymph nodes.

Peritoneal mesothelioma is the tumor located in theperitoneum membrane of the abdominal cavity. This is a rare type ofmesothelioma, and only some 25% of all diagnosed cases are of this type. So far,doctors haven’t been able to find any treatment for this mesothelioma andpatients are estimated to live up to one year after diagnosis.

Pericardial mesothelioma is the rarest of all types of mesotheliomacancers.

Staging of the Mesothelioma Cancer

There are three staging systems doctors use when staging mesotheliomaand deciding about the treatment for this condition. They are: TNM, Brigham andButchart systems.

TNM (Tumor, Lymph Nodes, Metastasis) system comprises of 4stages. The first stage involves the lining of patient’s left lung, pericardiumor diaphragm. All affected organs are in the same side of the body, and thelymph nodes are not involved. In stage II, cancer has spread to lymph nodes, orhas affected lungs, pericardium or diaphragm in the same side of the body. Stage IIIis characterized by mesothelioma in the chest wall, muscles, ribs or the heator esophagus, while in the stage IV cancer affected the same organs but in the oppositeside of the body or has metastasized.

Butchart staging system also describes the extent or thetumor. In stage I, tumor affects the lining of one lung and/or diaphragm. StageII mesothelioma progressed in the chest wall, lung lining or esophagus, or tolymph nodes. In stage III, mesothelioma has spread to lining of the abdominalcavity, peritoneum or lymph nodes other than those in the chest. Stage IV isconfirmed metastasis of mesothelioma to other organs in the body.

Brigham cancer staging describes possible ability of thecancer to be surgically removed. Stage I and II are resectable tumors, andstage III and IV are un-resectable.

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