Mesothelioma is a form of cancer which occurs on the outer surface of the lungs, and is most common in those who have been exposed to asbestos, although does occur in those who have never been exposed to asbestos.
Mesothelial cells are cells which surround all our organs and it is in these that the Mesothelioma cancer occurs. There are three types of mesothlial cells, Epitheliod, Sacromatoid and Biphasic, and in cases of cancer one or more of these may be present in different combinations.
Epitheliod cells are the most common cancer cells of the three and account for between fifty and seventy percent of cells in malignant mesothelioma. This type of cell has a cubed shaped appearance and as a group they are arranged in a tubular, uniform arrangement.
Epitheliod cells are often mistaken for adenocarinoma cells, as they are similar in appearance, although if the two cells are looked at closely through a strong microscope then they can be distinguished from each other.
Biphasic Mesothelioma cells are less common than epitheliod, but more common than the sacromatoid cells. They account for around twenty to forty percent of mesothelioma cells and are a combination of the two other kinds. Biphasic cells frequently occur when the other two types of cells are present in a tumour and are able to combine continuously.
The last type, sacromatoid mesothelioma cells, are least common of the three, only making up on average between ten and fifteen percent of mesothelioma cells. These cells have an irregular oval shape where the nucleus is not visible, which makes them difficult to tell apart from the more common sarcoma cells.
Whether only one cell type is present or a combination of more, the methods of treatment are very similar. There are traditional methods such as chemotherapy, surgery and radiation, and recently there has been further research in to less traditional methods, with a many suggesting these types of treatment will have more success.