There are three types of mesothelioma:
Peritoneal mesothelioma, and
Pleural Mesothelioma is the most common form of
mesothelioma that exists, and in its malignant form is the direct result of
exposure to asbestos fibers. You can get benign tumours with mesothelioma, but the malignant form is by far the most common. The breathing in of asbestos fibres is what puts those who work unprotected with asbestos at risk, and the risks can be heightened by smoking as well as exposure to this hazardous fibre.
This form of mesothelioma attacks the lungs and respiratory areas of the body. The cancer attacks the cells and the lining (known as the pleura) of the lungs and ribs. As with other forms of mesothelioma, the
symptoms can take twenty or thirty years (sometimes longer) to present themselves following exposure to asbestos, making it impossible for people to realise that they have been affected until it is too late.
Peritoneal Mesothelioma is the name given to the cancer that attacks the lining of the abdomen. This type of cancer is caused by
asbestos exposure, and it affects the lining that protects the contents of the abdomen and which also provides a lubricating fluid to enable the organs to move and work properly.
This disease is sometimes referred to as diffuse peritoneal
mesothelioma, and this is where the cancer has spread out. Accountable for around ten percent of mesothelioma cases, this type asbestos-related cancer is the second most common (after
There are a number of
symptoms for this disease. However, like all other types of mesothelioma, there is a very long latency period, and symptoms may not become evident for decades after exposure. This means that by the time symptoms have begun, it is often already too late to offer any real constructive
treatment. Further delay can be caused due to the fact that the symptoms are generally non-specific and can therefore be attributed to a number of more common ailments. Unless your
doctor is aware that you have been exposed to asbestos in the past, he or she is likely to look at other options before even contemplating mesothelioma. It is therefore important to let your doctor know of any exposure to this substance.
Pericardial mesothelioma is the rarest form of this
asbestos-related cancer. This form of cancer affects the lining that surrounds the heart, and is associated with long term exposure to asbestos fibres.
symptoms of pericardial mesothelioma, as with other types of
mesothelioma, can take decades to manifest. If a person worked with asbestos twenty or thirty years ago and shows no symptoms, that does not mean that they have the all clear. The symptoms typically take around twenty or thirty years to manifest anyway, sometimes even longer.
This means that the cancer is usually too advanced to
treat effectively by the time it is
diagnosed. It is always advisable that people who have worked with asbestos on a frequent basis in the past inform their
doctors. Although nothing can be done to speed up the onset of symptoms in order to catch the disease in time to treat, any further delay in diagnosis can be alleviated by making your doctor aware of all the facts, so that a speedy diagnosis can be made if the symptoms to manifest.