Chest Pain

What is Mesothelioma Cancer?

Mesothelioma cancer is an unusual disease that disrupts the mesothelial cells of the serous membranes. The prominent form of mesothelioma cancer, referred to as Pleural mesothelioma, impacts the lining of the lungs. Roughly 2,500 individuals are formally diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer each year. 

Mesothelioma cancer disturbs the membranes of several large cavities in the human body. Referred to as serous cavities, these cavities shield a number of organs in the body, including the lungs and heart; membranes that adhere to these cavities protect vital organs from abrasions that occur from daily movements, such as heart beats or breathing. The serous membranes derive from the body’s mesothelial cells, which form to create the mesothelium or the protective tissue of the serous membranes. 

Malignant Mesothelioma may be observed in the following forms:

Pericardial Mesothelioma: Takes place in the pericardium, which is the protective tissue surrounding the heart.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma Cancer: Takes place in the peritoneum, which is the protective membrane of the abdomen. This type of mesothelioma cancer is exceedingly rare and may also form in the male testicles or more specifically the tissues surrounding the scrotum. 

Pleural Mesothelioma Caner: As previously mentioned, this is the most common form of mesothelioma cancer. This form of mesothelioma cancer disrupts the lining of the lung cavity. 

The majority of mesothelioma cases derive from asbestos exposure. It must be stated; however, that not everyone who is in contact with asbestos-containing materials will be infected with malignant mesothelioma cancer. 

All mesothelioma cancer cases originate from acute tumors. Prognosis attached to the disease is bleak because the cancer is susceptible to rapid proliferation. The cancer is likely to metastasize because symptoms are inconspicuousness; a mesothelioma sufferer will likely not notice mesothelioma symptoms until 25-50 years following their first exposure to asbestos fibers. 

Mesothelioma cancer is highly lethal. When detected, the condition has typically metastasized to several vital areas of the body. Because the disease is difficult to detect, prognosis for mesothelioma sufferers is extraordinarily pessimistic. The regular survival period for mesothelioma patients is only 1 to 2 years after diagnosis. This survival timeframe; however, fluctuates based on the form of mesothelioma cancer and the overall health of the patient. 

Symptoms Associated with Mesothelioma Cancer

Mesothelioma cancers are difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are slow-forming.  A mesothelioma cancer patient will not notice mesothelioma symptoms 25-50 years following the initial exposure to asbestos. Moreover, diagnosis is difficult because the cellular makeup of mesothelioma cancer is indistinguishable from other, more common, diseases. 

Common mesothelioma symptoms (especially those associated with pleural mesothelioma cancer) include the following:

• Persistent coughing (a mesothelioma cough is dry and does not project phlegm)

• Pleural Effusions (build-up of fluids in the lungs) with traces as blood

• Difficulty swallowing

• Severe Chest Pain

• Hemoptysis (Coughing up blood)

• Chronic fatigue

• Fever 

• Sweating

• Shortness of breath

• Development of lumps on the chest and under the skin

• Persistent pain in the chest area and the ribs, which complicates breathing 

• Severe and unexpected weight loss

Mesothelioma Symptoms: Chest Pain

Mesothelioma derives from prolonged exposure to asbestos fibers. The disease forms when carcinogens of normal cells in the mesothelium (lining of the lungs and other organs) after a long latency period.

Mesothelioma cancer occurs in either the abdomen or the lungs; however, it can affect other vital organs, such as the heart. In infrequent cases, mesothelioma cancer spreads to other organs including the spleen or liver.

Approximately 75 percent of mesothelioma diagnoses are of the pleural mesothelioma variety, where the cancer forms around the lungs. With prolonged asbestos exposure, the fibrous particles of the mineral stick to lungs and after a prolonged incubation period symptoms will form because of carcinogenesis. 

The second most common form of the disease, peritoneal mesothelioma, affects the lining of the chest cavity, primarily through unintentional indigestion of asbestos filaments. If untreated, this form of mesothelioma cancer will spread to surrounding organs of the body. 

In both forms of mesothelioma cancer—pleural and pericardial—the mesothelioma cancer may be mistaken for other conditions like influenza or pneumonia. In these types of mesothelioma cancer, one of the most common and painful symptoms is chest pain. When the mesothelioma spreads, it prohibits the natural function of the organs.Mesothelioma chest pain occurs because as the mesothelioma spreads the tumors compress the chest and surrounding areas of the abdomen. Localized pain results from the proliferation of mesothelioma cancer; generalized pain occurs from widespread cell damage in the chest. 

Difficulty swallowing or breathing and shortness of breath will augment mesothelioma chest pain. When a mesothelioma patient’s lungs are unable to properly regulate breathing and are instead fighting the cancer, the chest pain will intensify. For Pleural mesothelioma patients, when the cancer spreads to the lungs, the esophagus will constrict, radiating pain throughout the abdomen. 

Additionally, the persistent cough—resulting from pleural effusion and shortness of breath-- attached to mesothelioma cancer, will cause pain. 

Lastly, pericardial mesothelioma, which is the rarest form of mesothelioma cancer, will also yield significant chest pain. Because the lining of the heart is affected in pericardial mesothelioma cases, the natural muscular rhythm of the body will be altered. If the heart struggles to beat against the damaged lining, pain will shoot throughout the body. As the disrupted cells envelop the sac, the heart struggles to beat properly. For the bulk of pericardial mesothelioma patients, the proliferation of mesothelioma cancer in the heart perpetuates extraordinary chest pain. Several pericardial mesothelioma patients will notice symptoms that are akin to a heart attack—the chest paints associated with mesothelioma are extraordinarily painful. 

Typically, chest pain is not a symptom of peritoneal mesothelioma cancer. 

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