Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer type with no cure yet. The leading cause of this disease is exposure to asbestos, which is a naturally occurring silicate. No amount of asbestos exposure is safe although this disease develops after chronic exposure. Between the exposure itself and the mesothelioma cancer detection usually there is a 20 to 40 (even 50 years) years elapse. In the development of the mesothelioma cancer the long exposure time is of decisive importance, just as the type of asbestos and the fiber size. Asbestos today is banned from construction and all of the other industries, which a few decades ago frequently used it.
Mesothelioma is often mistaken to lung cancer because it mostly affects the pleura (thoracic cavity) among other thin membranes, which cover the organs in our body.
Other membranes where mesothelioma develops are: the peritoneum (in the abdominal cavity) the pericardium (fibroserous sac which encloses the heart), and the tunica vaginalis (serous membrane, which covers the front and sides of the testis and epididymis).
The general mesothelioma symptoms are: cough, husky voice, shortness of breath or difficulty to breathe, difficulty while swallowing, chest pain or abdominal swelling and pain, fatigue, anemia, the loss of appetite, weight loss, cachexia, fluid in the chest or abdomen, inability to sleep.
It is very difficult to diagnose mesothelioma and to connect the symptoms with the cancer because many of the symptoms can easily be mistaken for other more common, not life threatening diseases like heart disease, flu, pneumonia or bronchitis.
As mentioned above there are three main types of mesothelioma cancers: malignant pleural mesothelioma, malignant pericardial mesothelioma and malignant peritoneal mesothelioma.
Other occurring mesothelioma types (not very common): testicular, epithelial, biphasic, cystic, liver, brain, papillary, adenocarcinoma, sarcomatoid and desmoplastic mesothelioma.
There are three main options for treating mesothelioma cancer: surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. These three treatment options are often combined for an effective treatment. During surgery, the cancer cells are removed and post-surgery mesothelioma doctors usually use radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Treating mesothelioma cancer with these methods will give the patients a possible extension of five years to their lives. Additional treatments used by mesothelioma doctors are anti-angiogenesis drugs, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation therapy, gene therapy, immunotherapy, massage therapy, acupuncture, and intraoperative photodynamic therapy.