Saturday, February 18, 2012

What Are Some of the Symptoms and Causes of Mesothelioma? by Wendy Moyer

Mesothelioma is a relatively rare malignancy that is usually comes about as the result of a person's being exposed to asbestos. This form of cancer arises most frequently in the pleura - the cells that line the chest - or in the peritoneum - the cells that line the abdomen.

The most common form of this disease is pleural mesothelioma and its symptoms often present themselves in the chest area.

What are the Symptoms of Mesothelioma?

Peritoneal mesothelioma is considerably rarer than pleural mesothelioma. If a person has peritoneal mesothelioma the organs in the abdomen are affected and the symptoms may include abdominal swelling, vomiting, nausea, and bowel obstruction.

The rarest type of this disease, pericardial mesothelioma, involves the sac that surrounds the heart.

Most of the people who have mesothelioma complain of a shortness of breath. Their difficulty breathing is sometimes accompanied by chest pains.

What may come as a surprise is that the chest pain is not often pleuritic. This means that the pain doesn't worsen when a person takes deep breaths.

It's surprising because the lung's outer surface - the pleura - is so often a part of the diseased area of the body. Virtually every other disease that involves the pleura is associated with pain that gets worse as people breathe deeply.

As mesothelioma progresses, the victims breath gets increasingly shorter. It's not unusual for appetites to decrease and for the patient to begin to lose weight.

At times night sweats can also develop. Night sweats means that a patient experiences excessive sweating during the night.

As the tumor invades different areas of the body the patient may experience a change in their voice and their diaphragm may cease to function. However, whatever additional symptoms a patient may experience would be specific to the area of their body that's being invaded and the organs that are in the adjacent structures of the victim's body.

What Causes Mesothelioma?

Most of the people who have malignant mesothelioma have been employed by companies that required them to be in areas where they could inhale asbestos particles and fibers. The majority of the victims are males over forty years of age.

Sometimes the family of an employee who has worked for a company that mined, manufactured, or produced products that contained asbestos has also acquired the disease. This often happened because asbestos fibers were transported on the clothing that people brought home with them from their workplace.

Instances of the children of asbestos workers who sat on their parents' laps getting the disease have recently been increasing. And a number of the spouses who did the laundry of an asbestos worker have also contracted the disease through second hand exposure to asbestos.