Pleural mesothelioma is a cancer of the mesothelial tissue, that is to say, the membrane lining the serous cavities of the human body. The mesothelium is without vascularization (it does not contain blood vessels) and produces a liquid that is similar to mucus. It coats the lungs, stomach, heart, testes, as well as other organs.
Mesothelioma is caused mainly by prolonged exposure to asbestos fibers. Any subsequent Mesothelioma Treatment depends on each person.
Asbestos causes inflammation of the mesothelial cells, and the evolution of this process causes:
- Irreversible scarring and the consequence is the formation of interstitial fibrosis
- Asbestos fibers enter the cell and hinder the functions of cellular structures that are essential for normal cell division
- The production of free radicals that damage each cell’s DNA
- The production of oncoproteins that nullify the mechanisms of blocking cell proliferation
The consequence of each results in the development of cancer.
People exposed directly to asbestos fibers are among the higher risk groups for pleural mesothelioma. Once inhaled, thin asbestos fibers attach strongly to the lungs. The hair or clothing of a person directly exposed to asbestos may endanger other people they come in close contact with.
It has been observed that the development of pleural mesothelioma and the manifestation of its negative effects take place about 30 to 40 years after the initial exposure to asbestos.
Types of pleural mesothelioma
Depending on the affected mesothelioma region, a person can have one of four types of mesothelioma. Pleural mesothelioma disturbs the membrane that surrounds the lungs (pleura, especially the inner layer or visceral pleura). This type of mesothelioma is the most common and it accounts for more than 80% of cases.
Peritoneal mesothelioma affects the membrane of the stomach. It is not very common and it accounts for 10 to 20% of mesothelioma cases. Next, there is pericardial mesothelioma. This affects the membrane around the heart and represents a rare type of mesothelioma (1 to 5% of cases). Very few people suffer from this type of cancer.
Lastly, testicular mesothelioma develops in the membrane that protects the testicles (testicular albuginea). This is a very rare type.