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Posted by Brian on Jun 22, 2015

Types of Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a dangerous and life-threatening disease caused by prolonged exposure to asbestos. There are four types of mesothelioma varying in affected areas of the body and symptoms.

The first type of mesothelioma is pleural mesothelioma and is the most common type, affecting 75 percent of mesothelioma patients. This type of mesothelioma develops in the mesothelial lining of the lungs, known as the pleura. Symptoms include shortness of breath, dry cough, chest pain, and difficulty swallowing. However, these symptoms can take years to develop and may be confused for other illnesses. Treatments for this type of mesothelioma can vary based on the stage of the cancer. If found in the early stages, curative surgery may be an option for patients. Unfortunately, if diagnosed too late, pleural mesothelioma is impossible to cure and treatments are used to decrease pain and improve quality of life including chemotherapy and radiation.

The second most common type of mesothelioma is peritoneal mesothelioma and affects the mesothelial lining of the abdomen also known as the peritoneum. Symptoms include abdominal pain, swelling, weight loss, and nausea. Like pleural mesothelioma, treatment can vary based on the stage at which the cancer has progressed. This type of mesothelioma is the quickest to spread to other areas of the body so heated chemotherapy has been shown to be effective.

The rarest types of mesothelioma are pericardial mesothelioma and testicular mesothelioma. Pericardial mesothelioma occurs when fluid builds up in the spaces between the layers of the pericardium or exterior lining of the heart. These symptoms include irregular heartbeat, chest pain, and difficulty breathing. It is nearly impossible to treat because the tumors reside so close to the heart so treatment options are available to improve life quality and decrease pain. Testicular mesothelioma is the rarest form of mesothelioma and affects the tunica vaginalis or the lining of the testes. It is so rare that doctors are not completely sure of what the symptoms are, although some patients undergo surgery to have parts of all of the teste removed.

To learn more about mesothelioma and options if you were unknowingly exposed to asbestos, click here.

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