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Mesothelioma-What does this mean?

Mesothelioma is a cancer of the mesothelium; the protective lining that covers and protects most internal organs of the body. The mesothelium has two layers, the visceral layer covering the organ, and a second, the parietal layer, or the outer layer which forms a sac around it.

The mesothelium has different names depending on the location in the body. The pleura is the name for the mesothelial tissue surrounding the lungs and lining the chest cavity. The peritoneum covers most of the organs in the abdominal cavity, while the pericardium lines and protects the heart. The mesothelium produces a lubricating fluid that allows organs within it to move and glide easily. The fluid allows the lungs to breathe and the heart to expand and contract without creating any type of internal friction.

 Like other forms of cancer, mesothelioma occurs when cells become abnormal and divide or grow out of control. When someone has mesothelioma, the helpful lubricating fluid described above may be over secreted. This excess fluid encases the organs with a thick layer of tumor tissue, described as a rind type of layer.

 In advanced cases of the cancer, the cells metastasize{spread}, or grow and invade other organs and spread to other areas of the body. The majority of individuals suffering from the disease have the cancer affecting the lining of the lung. Sometimes, the disease occurs in the lining of the abdominal cavity (peritoneal mesothelioma) or in the lining of the heart (pericardial mesothelioma).

 The symptoms of mesothelioma are common to a number of illnesses which means that it is difficult to diagnose. Unique types of treatment are still being investigated through clinical trials and research, but as a general rule, the cancer does not respond well to most treatments that are currently being offered.

 Mesothelioma is caused by breathing or ingesting asbestos fibers. The coarse fibers cause scarring of the mesothelial tissue which can cause asbestosis or pleural plaques. Unfortunately, the scarring can also lead to cancer known as mesothelioma. It often takes 20 to 50 years after exposure to asbestos before the symptoms develop. This period of time is referred to as a latency period. Because of the latency period, the disease commonly affects men and women that are at least 50 years of age and that worked with asbestos between 20 and 50 years ago.

 Many workers working 20 to 50 years ago did not use any type of protection in the workplace while they were exposed to the dust or fibers from asbestos. At the same time, however, many of the companies employing the workers had full knowledge that asbestos was dangerous and that exposure to asbestos would harm the health of many of the workers. Insulators, plasterers, electricians, pipe fitters, mechanics, iron workers, ship builders, ship workers, brick layers, carpenters, and other tradesmen are just a few examples of workers that were likely to work with asbestos on a day-to-day basis. Also at risk are the families of these workers, as the asbestos fibers may be brought into the home from the clothes, skin, or hair of the worker.

 Unfortunately, millions of people have been exposed to asbestos over the years. Only now are we able to see the disastrous effects of asbestos exposure in the workplace. Just as it is with other cancers, an early diagnosis is important for effective treatment of the disease. If you have been exposed to asbestos in the past especially at the place of workScience Articles, and if you stat to notice the common symptoms then you should see your physician immediately for appropriate tests and evaluation

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Bello kamorudeen is a health worker and author of mesothelioma related online articles.For more information on mesothelioma go to

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