Mesothelioma ? Diagnosing The Silent Killer
Mesothelioma ? What Does It Mean?
Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer. It is a cancer of Mesothelial cells. These cells cover the outer surface of most of our internal body organs, forming a lining called Mesothelium. Mesothelioma usually affects the thin membrane that lines the chest cavity and the lungs. Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral that was used in a variety of industries during 1870-1970. The mesothelioma disease develops at least 15 years after exposure to asbestos. People usually are diagnosed with this deadly disease between ages 50 to 70.
Diagnosis of Mesothelioma
Most of the people who are diagnosed with Mesothelioma have chest pain or shortness of breath as the first symptom of the disease. Mainly the cancer itself causes chest pain. Other possible symptoms of mesothelioma cancers include abdominal pain, swelling, cough, fatigue and unexplained weight loss. Doctor will ask about the symptoms and medical history before doing a complete physical examination. To diagnose the disease with symptoms like this is quite difficult because these symptoms may appear in other ailments as well. This may cause a delay in the diagnosis of Mesothelioma.
There are two types of Mesothelioma viz. the pleural Mesothelioma and the peritoneal Mesothelioma with symptoms of their own. The tissues lining the lungs are called the pleura. The pleura are fibrous covers to protect the lungs. These produce a fluid that fills the gap and helps the lungs to move smoothly in the chest while they are inflating and deflating as one breathes. Mesothelioma is most often diagnosed in the pleura and its relative symptoms are cough, chest pain and shortness of breath. If you see such symptoms, you should see a doctor right away.
Peritoneum tissue lining the abdomen helps to protect the contents of the abdomen. Peritoneum produces a lubricating fluid, which helps organs to move smoothly inside the abdomen as one moves around.
Mesothelioma of the tissues, lining the abdominal cavity, is called peritoneal Mesothelioma. It is less common than the pleural Mesothelioma. Its symptoms are abdominal pain, vomiting, weight loss etc. Tests that are usually needed for diagnosis of mesothelioma are electrocardiogram, a chest or abdominal x-ray. If these tests show abnormality of lungs or pleura, patient will need a CT scan or MRI scan. These imaging studies allow the physician to determine the size, location and extent of any tumor in the chest or abdomen.
Doctor can also recommend biopsy in which tissue sample has to be taken. The tissue sample can be taken with procedures i.e. either thoracoscopy or laproscopy for an abdominal tumor and VAT for a pleural tumor. In all these procedures, a tube like the one instrument inserted through a small incision makes the doctor view the tumor and collect a tissue sample. These tests can verify whether the patient is suffering from Mesothelioma or not.
About the Author: Kirsten Hawkins is a asbestos and mesothelioma specialist from Nashville, TN. Visit http://www.asbestosblog.org/ for information on asbestos reform, mesothelioma lawsuit news, and more.