Rabu, 21 Januari 2009


Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer in which malignant cells are found in the sac lining the chest (the pleura) or abdomen (the peritoneum). Most people with malignant mesothelioma have worked on jobs where they breathed asbestos, a fiber that was used in insulation materials.

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that affects the membrane that covers and protects various internal organs of the body (mesothelium). The mesothelium is composed of two layers of specialized cells known as mesothelial cells. One layer directly surrounds an organ; the other forms a protective sac around the organ. The most common form of mesothelioma affects the membrane or sac that lines the lungs (pleura). Other common sites include the membrane lining the stomach (peritoneum) and the membrane lining the heart (pericardium).

The term "cancer" refers to a group of diseases characterized by abnormal, uncontrolled cellular growth (e.g., mesothelial cells) that invades surrounding tissues and may spread (metastasize) to distant bodily tissues or organs via the bloodstream, the lymphatic system, or other means. Different forms of cancer, including mesothelioma, may be classified based upon the cell type involved, the specific nature of the malignancy, the tissues or organs affected, and the disease's clinical course. Symptoms of mesothelioma vary depending upon the location, type and stage of the cancer. Approximately 70 to 80 percent of cases of mesothelioma result from exposure to asbestos. Symptoms of mesothelioma may not appear until up to 50 years after initial exposure to asbestos. However, after symptoms began apparent, mesothelioma may rapidly progress to cause life-threatening complications.

Symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain, or pain or swelling in the abdomen.

Treatment, which includes surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, is based on whether the cancer has spread (metastasized) and the stage of the cancer.

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