Mesothelioma is a cancerous tumor that involves the Mesothelial
cells of a certain organ. A sac that covers most of the body's internal
organs, the Mesothelium protects the heart, lungs, and abdominal organs. The
most common type of Mesothelioma is pleural Mesothelioma, a condition that affects
the membranes around the lungs.
Almost all cases of Mesothelioma are found in people
who have worked on jobs where they inhaled asbestos
What is the mesothelium?
The mesothelium is a membrane that covers and protects most of the internal
organs of the body. It is composed of two layers. The first layer immediately
surrounds the organ; the second forms a sac around it. Depending on the location
in the body, the mesothelium can be further divided into three main areas.
Peritoneum - this covers most of the organs in the abdominal cavity.
Pleura - surrounds the lungs and the walls of the chest cavity.
Pericardium - covers and protects the heart
The mesothelium produces fluid between the first and second layers, lubricating
and cushioning moving organs (a beating heart, or breathing lungs) and allowing
them to glide with ease against other bodily structures, such as the ribcage
How common is this?
Mesothelioma is a relatively rare cancer, though diagnosis rates have been on
the rise for the past 20 years - 2,000 new cases are diagnosed in the United
States each year. Though this disease can appear at any age, the risk of Mesothelioma
increases with age, and occurs more frequently in men than in women.
The Types of Mesothelioma
The pleura are thin membranes that provide an airtight
seal for the lungs, allowing respiration. They also
provide lubrication that prevents the lungs from rubbing
against the chest walls.
This is a rare cancer of the mesothelium. Malignant, (or cancerous) cells are
found in the sac lining the chest cavity (pleura) or abdomen (peritoneum). The
majority of malignant Mesothelioma cases are found in people who have worked
on jobsites where they where exposed to asbestos.
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