Saturday, March 07, 2009

Pericardial Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer of the linings that case various organs like the lungs, the digestive system and the heart. Pericardial Mesothelioma is a disease found rarely. This happens when the pericardium (lining of the heart) gets affected. Pericardial mesothelioma is sometimes mistaken for lung cancer as the symptoms are nearly similar but the two diseases are absolutely different from each other. In fact, doctors have not been able to do enough research on the disease as the number of patients diagnosed with it is very little. Only 10% of the total patients suffering from mesothelioma are diagnosed with pericardial mesothelioma.

The cause for both the types of mesothelioma (pleural and pericardial) is the same; asbestos inhalation. The reasons for tiny asbestos fibers to reach the lungs are quite clear and obvious but doctors are yet to understand as to how these fibers are transported to the heart. It is believed that the very fine asbestos fibres reach the heart from the lungs through blood flow and there they clog up in the pericardium where they cause cancerous tumors to develop. The pace of this tumor growth is very fast and after some time it spreads to nearby tissues and fluid starts to build up there. The accumulation of this fluid disturbs regular heart functioning and symptoms of pericardial mesothelioma start to show. The symptoms for the problem include chest pain, shortness of breath, persistent coughing and fatigue. The problem with the disease is that these are not taken seriously on their initial occurrences as they are similar to other common health problems. It is only when they persist for long that the patients seek medical advice and start taking them seriously.

There are three types of cancer cells of mesothelioma and patients of pericardial mesothelioma can have one or even all the three types. These three cancer cells’ types are epitheloid mesothelioma (cancer of epithelium), sacromatoid mesothelioma (develops from the support tissues) and biphasis mesothelioma. The prognosis depends upon the kind of cancer cells. It is believed that patients having tumors with biphasic cells of cancer survive lesser than the patients having other types of cancer cells.

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