Mesothelioma is a rare kind of cancer that involves the mesothelium, which is the thin protective covering that surrounds the vital organs within our body. The mesothelium is comprised of layers of cells that form a protective covering around these organs. The function of the mesothelium is to help in the gliding movement of each organ against the other by producing a lubricating fluid. The movement of internal organs may be seen in such examples as the beating heart and expanding and contracting lungs.
Mesothelioma, or cancer of the mesothelium, is a rare disease where mesothelium cells start behaving abnormally and divide without any control or order. They can cause pressure on organs and injure the nearby tissues. Sometimes these cancerous cells can even spread to other parts of the body through metastasis.
2 Common Types of Mesothelioma
The two most common types of malignant mesothelioma are pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma. Pleural mesothelioma affects the pleural lining around the lungs. Peritoneal mesothelioma affects the peritoneal cavity around the abdomen. Peritoneal is the rarer form of the two subtypes.
All types of mesothelioma are caused by asbestos. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was mined and put into thousands of products even after industry knew it was dangerous. In fact, documents produced during litigation have revealed that some companies knew asbestos could cause lung disease as early as the 1930’s. Instead of warning consumers, protecting workers, and notifying health authorities, these companies hid this information for decades. As a result of these acts, many people have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and other asbestos related diseases. Sadly, if the companies and behaved legally and ethically many of these cancers and other illnesses could have been avoided.
Today, there are promising treatments for mesothelioma but no one cure. According to the medical literature, treatments include chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. Sometimes these treatments are combined in multi-modality therapies. In addition, there are clinical trials available for mesothelioma and some patients use integrative and complementary approaches.
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