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Types of Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is most commonly malignant, resulting in a tumor that can spread cancerous cells throughout the body. The types of mesothelioma that an individual may develop depends on what area of the body the cancer attacks. Each type will result in different symptoms and require varied methods of mesothelioma treatments. In each case, the cancer is almost always fatal.

Pleural mesothelioma

In 70% of the cases, patients are diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma. This occurs in the pleural sac that surrounds the lungs and mesothelium, which produces fluid that allows for the contraction and expansion of the lungs. The inhaled asbestos fibers can migrate through the wall lining of the lungs and into the pleural cavity.

Inside the pleural cavity, cancerous tumors may develop as a result, and lung movement may be constricted. If the cancer makes its way into the lungs, it can then spread to other parts of the body.

Someone suffering from pleural mesothelioma may experience the following symptoms:

• difficulty breathing • weight loss
• chest pain • shortness of breath
• difficulty swallowing • fever
• coughing

Treatment for pleural mesothelioma typically involves surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy or a combination of these.

Peritoneal mesothelioma

This type of mesothelioma is less common (20%) than pleural mesothelioma and occurs on the lining of the abdomen and stomach. From here, the cancer may spread to other parts of the body and cause additional symptoms that may not become apparent until decades later.

The average peritoneal mesothelioma sufferer lives for just 10 months after they receive a diagnosis.

Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include:

• abdominal pain • nausea
• weight loss • shortness of breath
• loss of appetite • vomiting
• bowel obstruction

Depending on how far the cancer has spread, surgery may be the best form of treatment for this type of mesothelioma. A patient may also receive chemotherapy in the form of drugs or radiation therapy.

Pericardial mesothelioma

This rarest type of mesothelioma (10%), is also caused by an exposure to asbestos.

Symptoms of pericardial mesothelioma include:

• chest pain • palpitations
• shortness of breath • coughing

These symptoms are similar to those associated with other types of mesothelioma, which makes it important to consult a doctor for a proper diagnosis.

Pericardial mesothelioma can be treated with surgery, but this option is not preferred. By the time this mesothelioma type is diagnosed, the cancer is too developed to be treated with surgery, which rarely can remove all the tumors.

Radiation therapy is the most common type of treatment and has proven to be successful in some cases.

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