Pericardial Mesothelioma: Definition, Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Prognosis

What is pericardial mesothelioma?

Pericardial mesothelioma is a serious heart condition that consists of cancer cells building in the lining of the heart. Similarly for pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma, this is a terminal disease because of the importance of the area in which it grows.

What causes pericardial mesothelioma and who is most at risk?

The main causes of pericardial mesothelioma are exposure to asbestos dust and fiber. Therefore those at risk are those who are most likely to inhale these deadly fibers such as construction workers and asbestos factories. Those associated with these people also have the opportunity to get pericardial mesothelioma because these people may have asbestos fibers attached to their clothes or hair.

What are the symptoms of pericardial mesothelioma?

The symptoms of pericardial mesothelioma change from patient to patient. Common symptoms include persistent coughing, coughing up blood, shortness of breath, chest pain and palpitations. Other symptoms that may be experienced by the patient are nausea, weight loss, vomiting and loss of appetite.

What treatments are available for pericardial mesothelioma?

There are a variety of different treatments for pericardial mesothelioma even though no one has a high success rate. Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, dual therapy and surgery are available treatment methods. Chemotherapy includes using drugs to kill cancer cells and radiation therapy using radiation doses to kill cancer cells even though this is difficult in cases of pericardial mesothelioma due to surrounding vital organs such as the heart and lungs. Double therapy is a treatment that combines radiation therapy with chemotherapy. Surgery comes in two forms; aggressive surgery and palliative procedures. Aggressive surgery is a very difficult procedure and consists of removing large pieces of cancer cells in an effort to gain long-term control of cancer. Palliative procedures only try to reduce symptoms for patients.

How much asbestos exposure is needed for the possibility of pericardial mesothelioma?

This depends on how strong and resistant the person is to the disease and on the concentration of asbestos in the surrounding environment. It is possible to get pericardial mesothelioma within a few months of exposure to asbestos even though on average it takes several years for asbestos fiber to build enough to cause cancer.

What is the prognosis for pericardial mesothelioma?

It really depends on how early and how aggressively the cancer is treated. If pericardial mesothelioma is treated when it has fully developed and matured then the probability of patient survival is very small. The prognosis can be only a few months.

Are there promising studies about drugs for pericardial mesothelioma?

Research on healing pericardial mesothelioma and all other forms of mesothelioma is being carried out in various research laboratories throughout the United States. Many pharmaceutical companies also work hard to research new drugs for chemotherapy. So far, research has been largely unsuccessful.

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