Mesothelioma: It Doesn’t Always Affect the Lungs
When we think of mesothelioma, we typically associate it as a condition of the lungs. And while this illness, which is called pleural mesothelioma, does in fact affect the lungs in the majority of patients, mesothelioma can develop in other areas of the body.
In addition to pleural mesothelioma, this illness can be grouped into three other categories, each of which affects the body in different ways.
Keep reading for more on the other types of mesothelioma, includes information on causes, symptoms and available treatment options.
Peritoneal mesothelioma develops in the thin tissues that house the abdominal organs. Though rare, peritoneal mesothelioma is the second most common form of this illness, and is usually caused by the ingestion of asbestos fibers. These fibers settle in the cell walls of the abdominal cavity, called the peritoneum, which results in irritation and, over time, the development of cancerous cells. Peritoneal mesothelioma is also associated with the growth of malignant tumors, which often spread to other areas of the body.
Like pleural mesothelioma, peritoneal mesothelioma may not produce any symptoms whatsoever until the disease has progressed, considerably. However, when symptoms are present, they typically include pain in the abdomen, diarrhea or constipation, a feeling of fullness in the stomach, nausea, vomiting, unexplained weight loss and chronic fatigue.
Peritoneal mesothelioma is usually addressed through a number of treatment options. First of all, surgery is often used to remove tumors and affected tissues. Chemotherapy and radiation can also be administered, which helps to eradicate cancerous cells and slow or halt the growth of inoperable tumors. It’s important to note that, like all types of this illness, peritoneal mesothelioma is extremely aggressive, and is associated with a very poor prognosis. However, with early detection and the proper treatments, patients can experience a longer lifespan and enhanced quality of life.
This type of mesothelioma affects the pericardium, which is the thin, membranous tissue that covers the heart. One of the rarest forms of this illness, pericardial mesothelioma produces symptoms like chest pain, fatigue and shortness of breath. However, since these symptoms mimic other illnesses, pericardial mesothelioma is often difficult to diagnose, which lends to an extremely low rate of survival.
Like other types of mesothelioma, the pericardial variety is linked to the exposure of asbestos. In fact, according to one mesothelioma resource, over 3,000 Americans are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year, with each patient having been exposed to asbestos at some point in their lives. And while factors like type, location and stage can vary, this illness is usually aggressive, difficult to treat and deadly.
Testicular mesothelioma develops in the thin tissue that surrounds the testicles. Accounting for less than one percent of all mesothelioma diagnoses, testicular mesothelioma is the rarest form of this disease. What’s more, while survival rates are low, men who are diagnosed with this illness often receive a slightly better prognosis than patients with other forms of mesothelioma.
Because it is so rare, the symptoms associated with testicular mesothelioma are less than definitive. However, many men report swelling in one or both testicles, as well as the buildup of fluid in the scrotum.
In treating testicular mesothelioma, surgery can be used to remove, either partially or fully, the affected testicle. Following surgery, chemotherapy and radiation are often used to destroy any remaining cancerous cells. However, even with effective treatment, testicular mesothelioma is known to recur, and is also associated with extremely rapid growth and progression.
Although pleural mesothelioma is the most common form of this disease, all types of mesothelioma are aggressive and difficult to treat. However, since early detection can significantly enhance the odds of recovery, diagnosing this illness in its earliest stages is crucial. Therefore, if you think you were exposed to asbestos at any point in your life, speak to a doctor today to find out about screening and diagnostic measures.