Mesothelioma is a cancer that affects the mesothelium cell, a membrane that lines the lungs, but also the heart and abdominal organs, male testicles and uterus, in women.
There are different types of mesothelioma, the most common being pleural mesothelioma, which occurs in the lung pleura, and peritoneal mesothelioma, which affects the peritoneum. The peritoneum serves as protection to the abdominal organs. Pericardial mesothelioma, on the other hand, originates in the pericardium, testicular mesothelioma originates in the mesothelium of the testes, and perimeter mesothelioma, which occurs in the uterine serous tonaca.
In 80% of mesothelioma cases, the primary cause is exposure to potentially harmful substances, such as asbestos or asbestos. Unfortunately, cases of mesothelioma, in people who work exposed to asbestos, are high. About 9 out of 10 people suffering from mesothelioma have had direct contact with asbestos during their lives. The effects can appear even after several years, in some cases 20 or even 50.
The symptoms of mesothelioma depend on the location of the tumor, whether it is related to the lungs or the heart. To get an accurate diagnosis, and understand where the tumor mass is located, a biopsy is required.
Symptoms of pleural mesothelioma are pain in the chest and lower back, difficulty breathing, chronic coughing, in some cases even with the presence of blood, pleural effusion and then other symptoms common to several cancerous conditions, such as fever and chronic sweating, muscle fatigue and weight loss for no reason. Among the symptoms of pleural mesothelioma there is also pleurisy, which is an inflammation of the pleura, creating a sharp pain in the chest.
Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma are non-specific and include: weight loss, cachexia, abdominal bloating and pain due to ascites (accumulation of fluid containing protein in the abdominal cavity), intestinal obstruction, blood clotting abnormalities, anemia, fever, feeling of nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite and weight loss. In some cases, an abdominal mass, which can also be felt by touch, may also be present.
If the tumor extends beyond the mesothelium to other organs, the symptoms depend on the level of involvement of the compromised organ.
In any case, however, these symptoms relate down to an advanced stage of the tumor. In fact, at the beginning, mesothelioma is totally asymptomatic. For this reason it is particularly difficult to make an early diagnosis.
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