What Is Mesothelioma?
Have you ever heard a commercial talking about the dangers of mesothelioma or seeking compensation for it? While many people have heard these ads, they often wonder, what is mesothelioma? Maybe you associate it with lung problems or know a bit more about this cancer. Still, if you’ve ever been curious about the symptoms and causes of mesothelioma, this guide is for you.
Because mesothelioma can mirror symptoms of many other common medical conditions, this article may also help you figure out if you need to seek a diagnosis from a medical professional. Still, remember that only your medical provider can determine the state of your physical health.
With that in mind, let’s look at what everyone should know about mesothelioma.
The Basics Of Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer. It impacts the layer of thin tissue that surrounds most internal organs. This layer of tissue is called the mesothelium, so mesothelioma is cancer that affects these areas.
Most commonly, mesothelioma impacts the lungs, but it can also attack other parts of the body. Different kinds of mesothelioma have different names depending on where in the body the disease began to form.
Unfortunately, mesothelioma is often an aggressive type of cancer that is challenging to treat. However, advancements in treatments are helping many more patients.
Different Types Of Mesothelioma
Many people assume mesothelioma affects only the lungs, but this isn’t the case. But, it is one of the most common forms. Mesothelioma that attacks the tissue around the lungs is called pleural mesothelioma.
While rare, peritoneal mesothelioma impacts tissues around the stomach and abdomen. There’s also pericardial mesothelioma which affects the heart.
What Causes Mesothelioma?
As with all cancers, mesothelioma occurs when mutations impact cells and instruct them to multiply. With this out-of-control multiplication, cells grow over time into tumors. Like most other cancers, mesothelioma may have genetic and occupational factors that increase the risk of developing the disease.
However, most people have heard of mesothelioma in connection with asbestos. Asbestos exposure is the only known cause and risk factor for this type of cancer. While asbestos is a strong fiber that’s useful in things like insulation and flooring, asbestos dust exposure can irritate the lungs, and the fibers may get into the body.
It can take decades for mesothelioma to form after exposure. Fortunately, most people exposed to asbestos don’t develop this cancer. Scientists are still researching why the cancer develops in some people and not in others.
Symptoms Of Mesothelioma
The symptoms of this disease vary depending on the type of mesothelioma. For pleural mesothelioma which impacts the lungs, common symptoms include:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Weight loss
- Painful cough
These are also common symptoms of many other lung problems, so it’s best to see a healthcare provider to confirm a mesothelioma diagnosis.
For peritoneal mesothelioma, which impacts the abdomen, symptoms include:
- Pain in the abdomen
- Weight loss
- Swelling in the abdomen
Once again, if you have any of these symptoms, it’s vital to seek tests from your healthcare provider to learn more.
Learn More About Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma can be tricky to detect as it usually forms over time and long after the patient’s exposure to asbestos. The overlap in symptoms with other common illnesses also makes diagnosis challenging. Still, if you have any of the above symptoms, you should talk to your doctor and make an appointment for a health assessment.
I’m a single mother of 2 living in Utah writing about startups, business, marketing, entrepreneurship, and health. I also write for Inc, Score, Manta, and Newsblaze