Mesothelioma, usually referring to the malignant mesothelioma, is a type of cancer that develops from the thin layer of tissue, rare and aggressive.
In general, it often happens in the lining of the lungs, abdomen, or heart. So far, we have only figured out its cause, the asbestos. And a definitive cure remains unknown.
According to a 2017 report by the Centers for Disease Control, 2,400 – 2,800 American people are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year.
As a matter of fact, the disease was rare before the commercial use of asbestos. More than 80% of mesothelioma cases result from exposure to asbestos. People who have been exposed to asbestos have the highest risk of mesothelioma, and the symptoms take 20-50 years to appear.
Rates of mesothelioma vary from different areas, and occurs more often in males than females. Generally speaking, rates are higher in Australia and the United Kingdom while lower in Japan.
Mesothelioma prefers those who mine asbestos, produce products from asbestos, work with asbestos products, live with asbestos workers, or work in buildings containing asbestos. Even washing the clothing of asbestos workers increases the risk.
In addition, genetics and infection with the simian virus 40 may also lead to the mesothelioma.
To get a better understanding of this cancer, we need to have a close peering at it.
At first, a layer of specialized cells lines the inside of the chest, the abdomen, and the space around your heart. Then these cells cover the outer surface of most internal organs, forming a lining and we call it the mesothelium. Mesothelial tumors can start in any of these linings, which can be non-cancerous (benign) or cancerous (malignant).
The diagnosis may be suspected based on chest X-ray and CT scan findings, and is confirmed by either examining fluid produced by the cancer or by a tissue biopsy of the cancer. Diagnosis typically occurs after the age of 65 and most deaths occur around 70 years old.
Doctors often depend on surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy for a mesothelial tumor. In a word, if it’s benign, surgery can do a big help. But if it’s malignant, patients could only expect better life quality from all the treatments instead of a cure.