What is Malignant Mesothelioma
Malignant Mesothelioma is a type of cancer, which is characterized by growth of malignant tumors in the lining membranes of several large parts and cavities of the body. The cavities are referred as serous cavities, where the cavities of heart, abdomen and lungs are affected by malignant tumors. The lining membranes surrounding the serous cavities are referred as serous membranes. Both these serous cavities and serous membranes help is proper functioning of respective organs which includes breathing, heart beats, etc. The serous membranes are made up of special type of cells referred as mesothelial cells, which forms mesothelium. Mesothelium is a type of tissue and also a primary layer of the serous membranes. Malignant tumors that are developed in these mesothelium tissues are called as malignant mesothelioma. These mesothelium tissues are found in lungs, heart and abdomen of the body. These parts are exposed with development of malignant tumors due to direct exposure to asbestos.
Types of Malignant Mesothelioma
Malignant mesothelioma can be classified into three types, which is categorised based on the organs affected.
• malignant pericardial mesothelioma, affecting the linings of the heart,
• malignant peritoneal mesothelioma, affecting the linings of the abdomen
• malignant pleural mesothelioma, affecting the lungs.
Among the three types of malignant mesothelioma, pleural malignant mesothelioma is quite common and pericardial malignant mesothelioma is quite rare.
In addition to these three basic classifications of malignant mesothelioma, there are several other subtypes of malignant mesothelioma.
Diffuse Malignant Mesothelioma
Diffuse malignant mesothelioma is the most common type of malignant mesothelioma, which affects the three quarters of patients affected by malignant mesothelioma. This type of cancer is also caused due to asbestos exposure, which is the primary cause of all types of mesothelioma cancer. Diffuse malignant mesothelioma can take different forms such as diffuse pleural malignant mesothelioma and diffuse peritoneal malignant mesothelioma. The most common symptoms of this type of cancer is fatigue, sleepless nights, unexplained loss of weight, etc combined with breathlessness and chest pain.
Sarcomatoid malignant mesothelioma
It is one of the least forms of malignant mesothelioma, which accounts only for maximum of 10% of the patients affected with malignant mesothelioma. Sarcomatoid malignant mesothelioma refers to the development of tumors in the irregular oval shaped sarcomatoid cells.
Desmoplastic Malignant Mesothelioma
Desmoplastic Malignant Mesothelioma is a unique type of cancer which can be categorised under both sarcomatoid malignant mesothelioma as well as diffuse malignant mesothelioma. Less than 3% of people develop malignant mesothelioma is affected by this type of cancer. This form of cancer affects the lungs of the patients.
Epithelial Malignant Mesothelioma
Epithelial Malignant Mesothelioma is also referred as Epithelioid Malignant Mesothelioma. It is also yet another common form of this type of cancer. Malignant tumors are developed in the epithelial cells. This type of malignant tumors is often confused with adenocarcinoma. Further, cancer cells found in mesothelium is also commonly confused with epithelial cancer. By viewing under powerful microscope, the affected epithelial cells can be distinguished easily from other similar types of mesothelioma cancer.
Biphasic Malignant Mesothelioma
People developing biphasic malignant mesothelioma are found to get increased in the recent years. It is a combination of epithelial malignant mesothelioma and sarcomatoid malignant mesothelioma, which means this malignant tumors are developed in both epithelial and sarcomatoid cells. However, it is different from other two types of cancer. Since two different types of cells are affected, this condition can be easily diagnosed and is not confused with other types of malignant mesothelioma cancer.
All these types of malignant mesothelioma are treated with same type of treatment, which include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy and immunotherapy.