What is Mesothelioma And Types Of Their Symptoms?

Mesothelioma is a cancer that affects the mesothelial cells that cover most of the internal organs. There are two main types of mesothelioma; pleural and peritoneal.

Rarely, mesothelioma can occur in the pericardium, the lining of the heart—pericardial mesothelioma. In rarer cases can occur in the membrane around the testicles.

It is estimated that 868 new cases will be diagnosed in Australia in 2021.

The five-year survival rate for mesothelioma is about 6.3%.

Mesothelioma Types Of Symptoms

Pleural Mesothelioma

This type of cancer begins in the membrane that covers the lungs. Although it develops in the chest and affects the lining of the lungs, it is notlung cancerand is treated differently from lung cancer.

Pleural mesothelioma is the most common type, accounting for about 90% of all cases.

Pleural Mesothelioma Symptoms

The main symptoms ofpleuralinclude:

  • irregular breathing
  • Chest pain
  • shoulder and upper arm pain
  • soft skin
  • loss of appetite and weight loss
  • energy loss
  • a persistent cough or a change in a person’s usual cough
  • excessive sweating, especially at night

The early signs of pleural mesothelioma are similar to those of other conditions and diseases. However, if you think you have been exposed toasbestos, talk to your doctor.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma

The other primary type is peritoneal mesothelioma, which accounts for about 10% of cases. It develops on the mucous membrane of the abdomen.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma Symptoms

The main symptoms of peritoneal include:

  • swollen or painful abdomen
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea and vomiting
  • fever or night sweats
  • bowel or urination problems.

Less commonly, mesothelioma begins in the membrane surrounding the heart or reproductive organs. Growths are formed, which gradually grow and spread to surrounding areas. In rare cases, a person can develop mesothelioma in more than one place.

Causes Of Mesothelioma

The only known risk factor for asbestos exposure. Mesothelioma can take years to develop after asbestos exposure (20 to 60 years).

People who may have been exposed to asbestos on the job include construction workers, plumbers, electricians, welders, miners, auto workers, and textile workers.

Sometimes mesothelioma is associated with previous radiation therapy to the chest.

Diagnosis Of Mesothelioma

Tests to diagnose mesothelioma may include:

Blood Test

Blood tests can check your overall health and the function of your blood, liver, and kidney cells.

Bone Scan

X-rays can help identify any abnormalities in the lungs, thickening of the pleura, or the presence of fluid in the space between the lungs and the chest wall. X-rays will also help reveal fluid in the abdomen.

Computed Tomography

CT (computed tomography)provides three-dimensional images of several organs simultaneously and can scan the chest lymph nodes. A CT scan may also determine if the mesothelioma has spread elsewhere.


A biopsy removes a sample of pleural or abdominal tissue for examination under a microscope. This is the main procedure used to diagnose pleural and can be done in two ways:

VATS (video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery), a minimally invasive surgery, or with a CT-guided core biopsy, performed under local anesthesia using a CT-guided needle.

Drainage Fluid From The Pleura.

This may be done to relieve symptoms of shortness of breath caused by the pleura leaking into the pleural cavity (called a pleural effusion) and, in some cases, to diagnose pleural. People with peritoneal mesothelioma may have fluid in the abdomen (called a peritoneal effusion) that causes swelling and pain.

In ultrasound, fluid is drained through a needle inserted through the chest wall into the pleural cavity or the abdomen to guide the doctor. The fluid sample is then sent to a pathologist for analysis.

Mesothelioma can be challenging to diagnose because the cells can look like other types of cancer cells. Combining fluid sample analysis results with x-ray and computed tomography data can provide an acceptable level of diagnostic certainty.

If mesothelioma is diagnosed, additional tests are usually done to see if the disease has spread to other body parts, such as a CT scan, FDG positron emission tomography (FDG-PET), meditations copy (used to examine and sample lymph nodes in the center of the chest) or ultrasound (EBUS).

After Diagnosing Mesothelioma

You may feel shocked, upset, anxious, or confused when you find out you have mesothelioma. These are normal responses. Discussing treatment options with your doctor, family, and friends may be helpful. Find all the information you need. How involved you want to be in making decisions about your treatment is up to you.

Mesothelioma Treatment

Although there is currently no cure for mesothelioma, active treatment is recommended for some people. This may include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, or a combination of these treatments. This may help some people achieve more extended periods of disease control.

The two types of mesothelioma are treated differently.


Chemotherapy drugskill cancer cells while causing minimal damage to healthy cells. The most commonly used chemotherapy drugs for pleural mesothelioma include pemetrexed with cisplatin or carboplatin. Chemotherapy for pleural mesothelioma aims to prolong life reduce tumor size, and improve quality of life.

Chemotherapy is sometimes used for peritoneal mesothelioma, either alone or before or after surgery. Chemotherapy is given directly into the abdomen of people with peritoneal.

Radiation Therapy (Radiotherapy)

Radiation therapy(also known as radiotherapy), the use of x-rays to kill or damage cancer cells, can be used at different stages of pleural and in different ways. For example, it can relieve symptoms such as pain caused by a tumor and can be given after chemotherapy or surgery to help kill any remaining cancer cells.

Radiation therapy is rarely used to treat peritoneal mesothelioma; Radiation therapy is used to relieve pain or kill any cancer cells left over from surgery or chemotherapy.


For the active treatment of pleural mesothelioma, two main types of operations are contemplated: extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP), in which the tumor and the pleura, the affected lung, the diaphragm, and part of the mucosa of the heart are removed; or pleurectomy with pulmonary decortication (PD), which removes the pleura and as many lesions as possible.

Surgeryfor peritoneal may be an option if cancer has not spread. The surgeon removes parts of the peritoneum where the mesothelioma has grown in this operation.

Trimodal Therapy

Trimodal therapy combines chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and major surgery. It is used to treat some people with mesothelioma.

Treatment Of Symptoms

When diagnosed at an advanced stage, the main goal of treatment is to control symptoms and keep them under control for as long as possible.

Treatment may include surgery to relieve shortness of breath caused by fluid buildup. VATS (video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery) involves the removal of part of the lining of the chest and lung. During the procedure, sterile talcum powder is injected into the pleural cavity, causing swelling that closes the pleural cavity and helps prevent fluid from reaccumulating.

Open surgery may also drain fluid built up in the lungs or relieve chest pain. For people for whom VATS or open surgery is contraindicated, indwelling pleural drainage can be used, which allows fluid to be drained 1 or 2 times a week, depending on how quickly it builds up again.

The treatment team will discuss with the person the appropriate treatment options to help with other symptoms such as insomnia, pain, fatigue, loss of appetite, and weight loss.

Palliative Care

In some mesothelioma cases, your health care team may talk to you aboutpalliative care. Palliative care aims to improve the quality of life by relieving cancer symptoms.

In addition to slowing the spread, palliative care can relieve pain and help control other symptoms. Treatment may include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or other drug treatments.

Treatment Group

Depending on your treatment, your health care team may be made up of several different health professionals, such as:

  • GP (General Practitioner): Monitors your overall health and works with your specialists to coordinate care.
  • Radiologist: interprets diagnostic images (including CT, MRI, and PET).
  • A pulmonologist examines symptoms, participates in diagnosis, and determines initial treatment options.
  • Interventional radiologist – uses images (CT, MRI, ultrasound) to guide needles and other instruments to drain fluid and remove tissue for diagnosis.
  • A pathologist examines cells and tissues under a microscope.
  • Thoracic (thoracic) surgeon – diagnoses and performs operations for cancer and other diseases of the lungs and chest.
  • Oncologist: prescribes and coordinates the course of chemotherapy.
  • Radiation oncologist: prescribes and coordinates radiation therapy treatment.
  • The palliative care team helps manage symptoms and maintain quality of life and offers various support services.
  • Cancer Care Nurses – Help with treatment, and provide information and support throughout treatment.
  • Other allied health workers include social workers, pharmacists, and counselors.

Mesothelioma Screening

There is currently no national mesothelioma screening program in Australia.

Mesothelioma Prevention

Reducing exposure to asbestos is the most feasible way to reduce your risk of developing mesothelioma at work or home. Australia has a code of practice for managing and controlling asbestos:www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au.

Prognosis In Mesothelioma

The doctor cannot predict the exact course of the disease since it will depend on each person’s circumstances. However, your doctor can give you a prognosis based on the type of mesothelioma, test results, how fast the tumor grows, your age, physical condition, and medical history.

The earlier the cancer is diagnosed, the better the outcome. However, mesothelioma is often interpreted as it progresses, as early symptoms can go unnoticed. Although it is more difficult to successfully treat cancer in advanced stages, it is possible to keep the disease under control for months or years. Your life can improve by relieving symptoms.

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