Despite the fact that mesothelioma has been on the rise just recently, not many people know what this is, what causes it, and what the signs and symptoms are. This article aims to inform the general reading public about mesothelioma: its nature, its cause, and its signs and symptoms.
What Is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma, or more precisely known as malignant mesothelioma, is a rare form of cancer that develops from transformed cells that originated from the mesothelium, the protective layer that covers the many internal organs of the body.
It develops in many different parts of the body, but there are some of the common anatomical sites where mesothelioma develops. Among others, these anatomical sites include the pleura (the outer lining of the lungs and internal chest wall), peritoneum (the lining of the abdominal cavity), pericardium (the sac that surrounds the heart), and tunica vaginalis (a sac that surrounds the testis). This type of cancer is also known to grow at a much faster rate, and causes metastasis of isolated limbs of the body, thus, bringing unwilling predictions.
What Causes Mesothelioma?
The most common and considered as the undisputed cause of mesothelioma is prolonged exposure to asbestos. There are several ways a person can come in contact with asbestos fibers: occupational, environmental, and paraoccupational.
People who work in asbestos-exposed areas, such as construction site, ship yards, and factories are considered to have the highest risk rate of developing mesothelioma. However, some people come in contact with asbestos fibers due to their locality’s proximity to naturally occurring asbestos or minerals with the same properties as that of asbestos, such as the zeolite mineral known as erionite. Some people develop mesothelioma due to secondary exposure to asbestos; this is known as the paraoccuopational exposure. Those whose family members work in an asbestos-exposed area are also in the risk of developing mesothelioma, as asbestos dust and/or fibers can accumulate in their clothes and can be brought home. This is the reason why people who work in asbestos-exposed area are required to take a shower and change clothes before going out of the area. Another reason that a person can develop mesothelioma is due to their exposure to buildings constructed with asbestos-based materials. Small but regular exposure to asbestos can lead to mesothelioma development.
What Are the Common Signs and Symptoms of Mesothelioma?
Common symptoms of mesothelioma include breathing problem, uncontrollable cough, severe chest pain, weakness, and/or unexpected weight loss. The common signs and symptoms of mesothelioma are often wrongly thought of as simple diseases and/or symptoms of common illness, and when it is detected, it is often too late to reverse or cure it. Most of the time, mesothelioma are confirmed after the doctor have conducted a biopsy on the anatomical site where the mesothelioma cells have gathered.