What is mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that begins to grow in the pleural membrane. Your chest contains two thin layers of cells – an outer layer that lines the inside of your rib cage and an inner layer that covers your lungs. These layers are called the pleura or pleural membrane. Each layer is about as thin as the skin of a balloon.
The space between the two layers is called the pleural space and it normally contains a small amount of fluid. This fluid lubricates the two surfaces and lets your lungs and chest wall move and expand as you breathe in and out.
Types of mesothelioma:
Epithelioid mesothelioma is the most common type. This type of mesothelioma grows more slowly than others, so it might respond better to treatments.
Sarcomatoid mesothelioma is less common. It tends to progress more quickly and has a poorer outcome from treatment.
Biphasic mesothelioma is also uncommon. It’s more aggressive than epithelioid mesothelioma but grows more slowly than sarcomatoid mesothelioma.
Desmoplastic malignant mesothelioma
Desmoplastic mesothelioma is categorized as a sarcomatoid cancer, which is typified by a poor prognosis. In this case, the life expectancy following diagnosis is usually less than one year. In one seven-year study (1982-1989) that evaluated 255 cases of mesothelioma, researchers identified 17 cases of desmoplastic mesothelioma. Of those, 11 were sarcomatoid and six were biphasic. The mean survival from the onset of symptoms to death was 5.8 months for the sarcomatoid variant and 6.8 months for the biphasic variant.
Pleural mesothelioma ct scan:
People who is at risk?
The main cause of mesothelioma is breathing in asbestos dust. Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibre that was widely used in construction and other industries until the late 1990s. It was used to insulate and fireproof buildings and was commonly used in ceiling tiles, pipe insulation, boilers and spray coatings used on ceilings and walls.
The use of products containing asbestos was banned in the UK in 1999. But it’s still found today in many buildings, including homes, schools and hospitals. There are now strict guidelines about removing asbestos safely.
Mesothelioma takes a long time to develop. It’s normal for people to get the first symptoms 30 to 40 years after they were first exposed to asbestos. So people who have symptoms now might have been exposed many years ago.
People who worked in industries which used asbestos are at higher risk of developing mesothelioma. They include:
1.carpenters and joiners
2.plumbers, heating and ventilation engineers
3.electricians, electrical fitters
5.metal plate workers, shipwrights, riveters
6.labourers in other construction trades
7.sheet metal workers
9.energy plant operatives
10.painters and decorators
12.vehicle body builders and repairers
13.metalworking production and maintenance fitters
15.railway engineering workers
16.people who have worked on DIY projects, particularly Artexing ceilings or working with guttering or insulation materials
You can also develop mesothelioma if you lived with someone who worked with asbestos. They may have carried asbestos fibres home on their clothing, where family members could breathe them in. Some people who develop mesothelioma can’t remember coming into contact with asbestos and might not have been aware they were exposed to it.
Older people have a higher risk of mesothelioma than younger people. This is partly because it takes so many years for mesothelioma to develop, but also because they are more likely to have come into contact with asbestos before the dangers were known.
Mesothelioma is much less common in women, probably because they are less likely to have worked directly with asbestos.
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