Mesothelioma is the type of Cancer in which some specific organs of the human body, including the lining of the lungs, heart and the abdomen get affected. The primary cause of being the prey of the disease is inhalation of asbestos fibres.
As per the record of The American Cancer Society, every year, more than 3000 patients come with a case of malignant cancer or Mesothelioma.
WHO CAN GET AFFECTED:
In general, Cancer affects the body when several changes take place in the cell of the DNA. As we all know that DNA is behind every working of our body cells. The unexpected mutation or change, thus instructs the cell to get multiplied being out of control. As a result, the body cells get accumulated abnormally and form a tumour.
Though the initial cause that leads to Mesothelioma is not very clear, there are specific causes that led the disease to affect the human body. They are:
- Exposure to asbestos fibres
- Inhalation or Swallow of the asbestos fibres
- A tumour left untreated for a longer time
It was found that if the asbestos gets disturbed, the tiny fibres get an exposure to the air which can get ingested or inhaled after that. The fibres then lodge themselves in the inner lining of the human organs, which can even cause inflammation and leads to developing Mesothelioma.
There is another unproven but considerable cause of Mesothelioma too.
TYPES OF MESOTHELIOMA:
The nature of the disease is considered according to the location where the tumour is formed. The cyst is formed in some particular organ linings including the lungs, heart, abdomen and testes. The place where the cancer is formed is known as Mesothelium.
There are basically four types of the disease:
Malignant pleural mesothelioma:
Pleural Mesothelioma takes place when the tumour is formed in the lining of the lungs or in the chest wall. This is the most common type of the disease. It is found that every year there is almost 2,500 new cases of Pleural Mesothelioma
Peritoneal Mesothelioma is when the tumour gets formed in the lining of the abdomen or in the Peritoneum. This type of Mesothelioma takes place when the inhaled or swallowed asbestos fibres get trapped in the Abdominal lining. This type is rare.
Pericardial tumours are rarest, but this type of cancer takes place in the inner cavity of the heart or Pericardium.
Testicular Mesothelioma is developed in the testes lining or in the tunica vaginalis testes.
STAGES OF MESOTHELIOMA:
The doctors basically categorize mesothelioma is four stages, and Pleural Mesothelioma is the only one which can be divided into these four stages. The steps are classified as per the TNM (Tumor, Lymph Nodes, Metastasis) System.
The staging helps the doctor and the patients to have a better understanding of the disease and the possible treatment.
Stage 1: In this stage of mesothelioma, the tumour gets located in the organ lining. Any symptoms in this stage are infrequent and limited. As a treatment, a multimodal approach is taken aggressively, and the possible treatments include chemotherapy, radiation therapy or surgery.
Stage 2: At this stage, cancer starts to spread in the nearby tissues from where it is located, but there is no distant metastasis in this stage. The same aggressive and multimodal treatment approach can be taken in this stage.
Stage 3: The tumour in this stage gets spread beyond the nearby tissues and almost reaches the lymph nodes. In this stage, surgery is no more an option for treatment, and the choices get limited in this stage. Many patients who reach this stage undergo clinical trials and palliative treatments too.
Stage 4: In this stage, cancer spread in the nearby as well as in the distant organs. Thus distant metastasis is present in this stage. Primary palliative treatments are given to the patients in this stage to reduce the symptoms of the disease.
The disease has a long latency period, which means that it can take decades for the symptoms of the disease to emerge after the exposure of asbestos. The symptoms of Mesothelioma is not specific and often come out in the form of common diseases. Which makes the diagnosis of the disease late and hard.
The common symptoms include:
- Dry Cough
- Short Breath
- The complication in the Respiratory system
- Chest or Abdominal Pain
- High Body Temperature
- Weakness in the Muscle.
To improve the prognosis of Mesothelioma can be improved through early diagnosis. Thus the patients who exhibit the first symptoms of Mesothelioma must seek immediate medical care.
DIAGNOSIS OF MESOTHELIOMA:
The determination of mesothelioma typically involves:
Imaging Scans: To look for the tumours and other abnormalities in the organ, different types of scans, including the X-Rays, MRI, Ultrasound and CT scans, are used.
Blood tests: To detect biomarkers, certain types of blood tests can be done. Blood test reports can identify the presence of Mesothelioma and also can show the asbestosis exposure history.
Biopsies: A biopsy is considered to be the most precise way to diagnose the presence of mesothelioma. Tissue fluid is taken as a sample, and the malignancy of the disease is determined. A biopsy can also diagnose the type of Mesothelioma and its stage.
PROGNOSIS OF MESOTHELIOMA:
After the type and the stage of the Mesothelioma are diagnosed by a qualified doctor, the patient can be provided with a prognosis or an estimate of expectancy. The prognosis of Mesothelioma is utterly dependent upon the stage of the disease. The patients who get diagnosed in the very early stage can have a better prognosis than the patients who are in the later stages.
Though the Prognosis is not rigid and can get influenced by the cell type or the type of mesothelioma. Also, other general factors including the age, gender and health can affect the prognosis. To understand the prognosis better, the patients must discuss their cases with qualified doctors.
The Prognosis of the disease involves the knowledge about:
- How the condition may progress further
- The estimated time of survival
- A statistical study indicating the survival ratio in a certain number of patients in a certain amount of time.