What is Mesothelioma? Complete Guide for Beginners
Mesothelioma is an aggressive lung cancer which causes deadly tumors to form in the lung or chest cavities. This desease is mainly caused due to exposure to asbestos and seriously affects the membrane lining of the lungs and abdomen.In the asbestos-related diseases, Malignant Mesothelioma is the most serious one. As Mesothelioma is a type of cancer, first of all we should know about and its symptoms and how it affects the human body. Effective treatments like Chemotherapy,surgery and radiation can be done to ease symptoms and improve prognosis.
Cancer is a class of disease characterized by uncontrollable growth of cells. There are different types of cancer, and each type is classified into subtypes based on its parental cell which has been already affected. Cancer is caused ultimately as a result of cells that uncontrollably grow and do not die. Non cancer cells in our body have orderly path of growth, division, and death. Programmed cell death is called apoptosis, and when this process of apoptosis breaks down,cancer begins to form. But,cancer cells do not have the path of death and instead continue to grow and divide. This leads to uncontrollable growth of mass of abnormal cells(tumour).
Cancer harms the body when damaged cells divide uncontrollably to form lumps or masses of tissue called tumors (except in the case of leukemia where cancer prohibits normal blood function by abnormal cell division in the blood stream). Cancer tumors can grow and interfere with the digestive, nervous, and circulatory systems, and they can release hormones which affects normal body function. Some of the tumors that stay in one spot and controls growth to a limit are known as benign. More dangerous (malignant) tumors are aggressive when a cancerous cell manages to move throughout the body using the blood or lymph systems, destroying healthy tissues. The process is said to be invasion and the cells manage to divide and grow, form new blood vessels to feed itself and is called angiogenesis.When the tissues get metastasized (Invading and Destroying other healthy tissues) they cannot be treated and when the cancerous tumor spreads to other parts of the body and grows, invasion and angiogenesis takes place. and this process is called metastasis. The development of secondary malignant growth from the primary site is called metastatic growth.This is a dangerous condition and is generally difficult to treat.
Causes of Cancer: The known causes of cancer are genetic factors,lifestyle factors like tobacco, alcohol,food habit and physical activities, sun and UV exposure, radiation, chemical exposure,damage caused by infections,health of the immune system,asbestos,pollution at work and environmental causes. Alcohol is the main risk factor for cancer which affects liver, lungs, mouth, esophagus, pharynx, breast, larynx, rectum, and pancreas. Individuals can reduce the risk when causes of cancer is known, prevention is better than cure.
Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer,the only known cause is asbestos exposure. Mesothelioma is a disease of the smooth lining of the chest, lungs, (pleura), heart (pericardium), or abdomen (peritoneum). Mesothelioma(malignant) cancer most commonly develops in the lungs of people exposed to asbestos. The cancer usually affects the thin, protective membrane surrounding the lungs, heart or abdominal cavity and most patients are diagnosed to job-related asbestos exposure. Although asbestos use declined dramatically in recent decades, the incidence of mesothelioma remains steady. This disease usually develops after many years of exposure to asbestos. It could be developing from childhood days but it is not known or have no symptoms for years. It can occur in its full form anywhere from twenty to fifty years of asbestos exposure. It shows obvious symptoms and an oncologist can make a definitive diagnosis. While there is no cure for the disease which exists and the prognosis being poor, nowadays researchers have shown significant progress in understanding the cancer and improving new treatment options and new methods of therapies. Before the dangers of asbestos were known, for decades it was used in the construction of all kinds of buildings and in the manufacturing of many consumer products. Today, people who are exposed to asbestos — especially in the workplace — are still at risk of developing health related problems like mesothelioma and other lung infections, and employers and manufacturers must be liable for the same. Malignant Mesothelioma is an asbestos induced cancer that is difficult to diagnose. The tumour is often resistant to treatment and most patients will survive less than a year. An indicator of patient survival is the growth pattern of tumours, which in turn is influenced by expressed proteoglycans.In very rare cases, mesothelioma develops from benign, non-malignant cells. This is also called benign mesothelioma which can be cured surgically.
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