What is Mesothelioma Cancer?

Malignant mesothelioma cancer is a rare medical condition that affects the mesothelial cells of the serous membranes. The most common form of malignant mesothelioma cancer, referred to as pleural mesothelioma, impacts the lining of the lungs. Approximately 2,000-3,000 cases of mesothelioma cancer are diagnosed each year. 

Malignant mesothelioma cancer impacts the membranes of certain large cavities in the body. These cavities, called serous cavities, shield a number of organs in the body, including the lungs and heart. The membranes surrounding these cavities protect vital organs from friction and abrasions that that result typical daily movement, such as breathing. The serous membranes derive from mesothelial cells, which form to create the mesothelium—tissue layer of the serous membranes. 

Malignant Mesothelioma may be classified in the following forms:

Pericardial Mesothelioma Cancer: Takes place in the pericardium (lining of tissue surrounding the heart).

Peritoneal Mesothelioma Cancer: Occurs in the peritoneum (membrane surrounding the abdomen). An infrequent form of this cancer may also affect the male testicles (the lining surrounding the scrotum is an extension of the peritoneum). 

Pleural Mesothelioma Caner: As stated above, this form of mesothelioma is the most common type of mesothelioma cancer. Pleural mesothelioma cancer disrupts the lining of the lung cavity. 

All types of mesothelioma cancer derive from an acute tumor. Mesothelioma cancer rapidly spreads to surrounding organs and tissue. The majority of mesothelioma cases are associated with exposure to asbestos fibers. That being said, not everyone who is in habitual contact with asbestos fibers will be infected with malignant mesothelioma cancer. Although malignant mesothelioma cancer is uncommon, it is extremely lethal. When detected, mesothelioma cancer is primarily found in its advanced stages, so prognosis for mesothelioma sufferers is far worse when compared to patients with other types of cancer that are typically detected earlier. The average survival time attached to a mesothelioma diagnosis is only 1 to 2 years. This timeframe; however, varies based on the type of mesothelioma cancer and the general health of the patient. 

Mesothelioma cancer is extremely difficult to accurately diagnose because the symptoms are slow-developing.  Mesothelioma cancer patients will not observe symptoms for 10-15 years following infection. Moreover, complications associated with diagnosis stem from the cellular makeup of malignant mesothelioma cancer—the disease is nearly impossible to differentiate from more basic cancers. That being said, numerous examinations and diagnostic tools are being studied and implemented to achieve a faster and more accurate mesothelioma diagnosis. One of the most common procedures associated with mesothelioma is a Laparoscopy. 

What is Laparoscopic Surgery?

Laparoscopy surgery is a modern surgery where a medical profession will perform an operation on a patient’s abdomen through small incisions as oppose to large ones which is needed in a laparotomy. These smaller incisions (referred to as keyhole incisions) make use of images displayed on large, high-resolution TV monitors to magnify the surgical movements and elements. Laparoscopy surgery includes operations within the pelvic or abdominal activities. This type of surgery belongs to the broader field of endoscopy. Patients who undergo Laparoscopy surgery will experience a number of benefits that they would not have received through a traditional open procedure. These advantages include: reduced pain from the smaller incisions, as well as, reduced hemorrhaging and a shorter recovery time. Also, a Laparoscopy surgery is typically faster than most similar surgeries; patients are typically discharged from the hospital the day of the surgery. Common disadvantages associated with a Laparoscopy surgery are: the surgeon has limited range of motion because of the small incisions; medical professional also has poor depth perception; and lastly, the surgeon must employ tools to interact with the patient’s tissue rather than manipulating the matter directly with his/her hands. 

The primary element of Laparoscopy surgery is the use of a laparoscope. There are two basic types of this instrument: a rod lens system, which is invariably connected to a video camera; and a digital laparoscope, which is a charge-coupled instrument that is placed at the end of a traditional laparoscope, effectively eliminating the need for a rod lens system. 

Mesothelioma Diagnosis: Laparoscopy

A Laparoscopy surgery is a minimally-invasive operation that is performed through small abdominal incisions. The surgery, as stated before, is performed with a laparoscope, which is a thin flexible tube that houses a camera and fiber optic light. Two incisions are made for a Laparoscopy surgery; one incision is for the insertion of the laparoscope and the other is used to inflate the abdomen with carbon dioxide. The inflation of the abdomen allows the patient’s abdominal wall to detach itself from the organs, allowing the surgeon increased space to maneuver. 

The purpose of Laparoscopy surgery is to view structures within the abdomen in a minimally-invasive manner. A Laparoscopy surgery has numerous advantages for patients, including fewer complications and a decrease in pain and recovery time. The operation is typically used to stage and accurately identify peritoneal mesothelioma cancer; however, a Laparoscopy surgery is also employed to remove tissue for other types of cancerous tumors. 

Peritoneal mesothelioma cancer is one of the most common forms of mesothelioma. Under this structure, the cancer affects the peritoneum (lining of the abdomen). If a medical professional suspects a patient to have peritoneal mesothelioma, her or she may request v surgery to see if any internal signs of the cancer are present in the abdomen. Moreover, the doctor may request a Laparoscopy to take a biopsy of the area. There is significant evidence to suggest that Laparoscopy surgery is more efficient than CT scans or MRI’s with regards to identifying the spread of mesothelioma cancer in the stomach. 

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