Mesothelioma is cancer of the mesothelium – a protective lining made of mesothelial cells. The mesothelium forms sacs of fluid around most human organs to allow them to properly move and function.
Cancer in this lining causes the mesothelium cells to abnormally and uncontrollably divide – which can metastasize and spread to the organ they are protecting as well as to other organs. Although mesothelioma cancers can take anywhere from 20 to 50 years to appear, many patients die within one to two years of diagnosis.
Mesothelioma generally affects these three parts of the human body:
- Lungs (known as pleural mesothelioma)
- Abdomen (known as peritoneal mesothelioma)
- Heart (known as pericardium mesothelioma)
Pleural mesothelioma is cancer of the lungs that starts in the chest cavity or pleura, the lining around the chest cavity. It accounts for 75 percent of all mesothelioma cases. The most common symptoms include:
- Difficulty swallowing
- Night sweats / fever
- Persistent chest pain
- Persistent dry cough
- Shortness of breath.
Traditional treatments for pleural mesothelioma include radiation, chemotherapy and surgery. While radiation and chemotherapy can help to kill cancerous cells, these methods are risky as they kill healthy cells in the process and, like all cancer treatments, can lead to other health concerns. Surgery is also an option for pleural mesothelioma by removing all or part of the affected lung. However, that can be dangerous and seriously affect a patient’s overall health and future quality of life.
Peritoneal mesothelioma is cancer of the abdomen which starts in the abdominal area or peritoneum, the lining around the abdomen. It accounts for 10-20 percent of all mesothelioma cases. The most common symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain and swelling
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Nausea / vomiting
- Weight loss.
Traditional treatments for peritoneal mesothelioma also include radiation, chemotherapy and surgery to remove the cancerous tissue in the abdomen or gastrointestinal tract. However, treatment for peritoneal mesothelioma can be difficult, as it tends to metastasize more quickly than other types of mesothelioma. In many cases, treatments simply focus on the cancer’s symptoms and not a cure.
Pericardial Mesothelioma. Pericardial mesothelioma is cancer of the heart, which starts in the pericardium or the exterior lining around the heart. It accounts for only about one percent of all mesothelioma cases. The most common symptoms include:
- Chest pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Irregular heartbeat
- Night sweats / fever.
Traditional treatments for pericardial mesothelioma also include radiation and chemotherapy; however, surgery to remove the cancer is risky due to its proximity to the heart. As with other forms of mesothelioma, many treatments simply focus on the cancer’s symptoms and not a cure.
Ready To Discuss Your Mesothelioma Claim?
Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. offers a free, no-obligation evaluation of mesothelioma claims in Chicago and throughout Illinois. You will not pay for our legal services unless we obtain compensation for you and your family. Contact us toll free at 312-361-1823 or use our free online contact form.