Mesothelioma is a unique and a rare form of cancer. It is commonly referred to as malignant mesothelioma. It usually develops from the mesothelium, which is a protective lining covering most of the internal body organs. These malignant cells believed to cause Mesothelioma are abundantly found in the sac and linings of the chest. This is referred to as the pleural mesothelioma because it occurs in the chest area. It may also occur in the abdomen also referred to as the peritoneum. This version of mesothelioma is much less common and is known as the peritoneal mesothelioma.
The latter cells may also affect the pericardium leading to the most rare form of mesothelioma known as the pericardial mesothelioma. In this case, the sac surrounding the heart is usually affected.
Mesothelioma cells are usually of two types namely epithelial and sarcomatoid. Both types of cells can be present in the body but this is usually not common. Sarcomatoid cells are rare and compute to only 15% of the cases usually reported. It usually occurs as a result of poor prognosis.
What causes mesothelioma has been a puzzle but this has been unlocked by technological innovations and continued research. Rarely does mesothelioma originate from benign and non-malignant cells.
Intake of asbestos through breathing has been the main cause of mesothelioma. A high percentage of people with malignant mesothelioma have been involved in jobs where they inhaled asbestos. Exposure to the dust and fiber originating from asbestos has been highly associated with the disease. This is common with workers over the age of 40 years who have had a long duration of exposure to the latter conditions.
Asbestos has been used as a common insulator although its use has been on the decline after these revelations. Men have been the mainly affected since they work in hard labor and this is synonymous with industrial and chemical remnants having asbestos. Many people in their household environments have also suffered from the exposure of asbestos within their localities. This is usually dangerous since most or these people affected have no knowledge of this happening.
Exposure to asbestos can also be through washing the clothes in most cases of a family member who has worked with asbestos. This puts the one at the risk of catching or developing mesothelioma. Inhaling the constituents of asbestos mentioned above leads to some of them reaching the air sacs hence penetrating into the pleural lining. Environmental exposure may lead to swallowing of the fibres. If swallowed, they reach the abdominal cavity contributing to peritoneal mesothelioma. These fibers and dust harm the mesothelial cells eventually causing mesothelioma.
Contrary to the belief that most people have that smoking may induce the latter disease, it has been noted that there is virtually no association between mesothelioma and smoking. However, smoking as a habit has the effect of increasing greatly the risk of other asbestos induced cancers. Zeolite, a chemical related to asbestos has also been seen to cause incidences of mesothelioma upon exposure to body cells. Lastly, exposure to specific types of radiation has also been known to cause mesothelioma.