Mesothelioma Cancer

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that is found in the mesothelium, a protective sac that covers the body's vital organs. There are three forms of mesothelioma cancer:

•  Pleural mesothelioma : This is the most common form of mesothelioma cancer. It is found in the lining of the lungs.

•  Peritoneal mesothelioma : This is the second most common form of the disease, accounting for 15-20 percent of all mesothelioma cancer cases. It attacks the lining of the abdomen, or the peritoneum.

•  Pericardium mesothelioma : Pericardium mesothelioma is found in the lining of the heart. This is the rarest form of the cancer, only accounting for 10 percent of all mesothelioma cases.

Mesothelioma is directly related to the inhalation of loose asbestos fibers. It can take up to 50 years for the symptoms to develop.

Who is at risk of mesothelioma?

Because mesothelioma cancer is a direct result of asbestos exposure, only those who are around asbestos are at risk of developing the cancer. There is evidence that individuals exposed to large amounts of asbestos over long periods of time are at the highest risk of developing mesothelioma, although any exposure can be harmful. Because of this, individuals who work in environments rich with asbestos are at the highest risk. Following is a list of high-risk occupations:

  • Pipe fitters
  • Steamfitters
  • Shipyard workers
  • Electricians
  • Demolition workers
  • Painters, drywallers
  • Railroad workers
  • Plumbers, maintenance workers

Symptoms of mesothelioma cancer

The symptoms of mesothelioma cancer can vary from case to case, depending on the overall health of the individual and the severity of the disease. While each type of mesothelioma cancer has its own list of symptoms, there are some symptoms that are common among individuals who are diagnosed with the disease. Following is a list of some of the more common symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath, difficulty breathing
  • Loss of appetite, weight loss
  • Uncontrollable coughing, chest pain
  • Weakness, body aches
  • Fluid in the lungs or stomach
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Pain in the stomach
  • Insomnia

If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the symptoms listed above and you have been exposed to asbestos, see your physician right away.

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