What is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma can be malignant (cancer) or benign (non-cancer) by nature. Mesothelioma affects the mesothelium, hence mesothelioma. What is the mesothelium?

The mesothelium is a type of tissue lined with special cells called mesothelial cells. There for the mesothelial cells typically line the abdominal cavity, heart cavity, chest cavity and the outer surface of most internal organs. Each cavity has a specific name for the mesothelial covered cavity, namely:

  •     Peritoneum: abdominal cavity
  •     Pleural: chest cavity
  •     Pericardium: heart cavity

Meanwhilea the mesothelium has a specific purpose in the body. You also need to understand that the mesothelium produces a lubricating fluid that allows easy movement of the organs. For example, the pleural mesothelium ensures that the lungs can move easily with every breath. Without it, breathing would be a difficult and potentially painful process.

Many call malignant mesothelioma simply mesothelioma. There are three main types of malignant mesothelioma, ranked from less likely to more common:

  •     Sarcomatoid
  •     Mixed / biphasic
  •     Epithelioid

Malignant mesothelioma more often starts in the chest cavity (pleural mesothelioma). About 10-20% of cases of malignant mesothelioma start in the abdominal cavity (peritoneal mesothelioma). Malignant mesothelioma rarely starts in the cavity around the heart (pericardial mesothelioma).

Malignant Mesothelioma Statistics:

Mesothelioma is a very rare cancer that is estimated to affect between 2,000 and 3,000 newly diagnosed cases in the United States each year. The United States reported an increased mesothelioma rate between 1970 and 1990, which is currently stabilizing and may have declined. However, European countries are still seeing an increase in the number of mesotheliomas.

Mesothelioma is often seen between the ages of 65 and older, but it increases with age. Mesothelioma is also 5 times more likely to affect men than women. Mesothelioma is more common among Caucasian citizenship than among African Americans.

Mesothelioma is a very serious cancer. Symptoms do not usually appear early, which means that mesothelioma is diagnosed at an advanced stage. For this reason, mesothelioma has a low survival rate of about 1-2 years. However, Computer Technology articles, Cancer Research is slowly changing this statistic. Read more about what risk factors predispose you to mesothelioma.
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