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Mesothelioma is a malignant tumor of the membranes surrounding the lungs, heart, and abdominal organs. It is among the rare tumors, although it has been so frequent in our country in recent years.

Mesothelioma is an aggressive type of tumor.

Mesothelioma, originating from the membrane surrounding the lung, is a type of cancer that either cannot be diagnosed or is misdiagnosed.

However, today, approximately 3,000 people in the United States and 500 people in our country are diagnosed annually. Unfortunately, Mesothelioma is diagnosed late, and its treatment is typically challenging.

As we have said, cancer of the membranes covering the lungs, heart, and abdominal organs is called Mesothelioma.

Our lungs have two layered membranes called the pleura, and between these pleura, there is a small amount of fluid.

Mesothelial cells are responsible for the production of these fluids. Tissues similar to the structure of the pleural membrane of the lung are also present in the other parts of the body.

These membranes are called the peritoneum around the abdomen and the pericardium around the heart. Malignant Mesothelioma is the name of cancer that originates from these membranes.

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What Are the Symptoms of Mesothelioma?

Among the symptoms of lung cancer and mesothelioma, the most common complaint in the patient is shortness of breath and chest pain.

Mesothelioma is a disease that usually occurs with the accumulation of fluid in the chest cavity. The most common complaints in the patient are pain and progressive shortness of breath.

In addition, symptoms such as cough, bleeding from the mouth, weight loss, loss of appetite, fatigue, and weakness are common.

When Mesothelioma occurs, pain is localized in the chest, back, and side areas due to edema. In the first phase of the pain, there is a stinging pain during breathing, but this pain becomes more and more continuous over time.

Cough and shortness of breath are symptoms that sometimes accompany the pain. The most important step is to see a specialist as soon as these symptoms appear.

Mesothelioma is resistant to treatment. Therefore, early diagnosis is important.

If there is metastasis, symptoms of Mesothelioma may include edema in the face and neck, difficulty swallowing, bleeding from the mouth, severe coughing, weakness, fatigue, and weight loss.

Who suffers from Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a malignant tumor commonly seen in people exposed to asbestos. Asbestos is a fibrous mineral that adheres to the lungs after respiration and causes lung cancer (Mesothelioma).

Some occupational groups are at risk. Some of the occupational groups at risk of exposure to the asbestos environment are;

  • People working in the manufacture or maintenance of automobile brake pads,
  • People who produce or use thermal insulation materials,
  • Farmery workers,
  • People working in or living in the construction of houses using "white soil."

Unfortunately, the symptoms and diagnosis of Mesothelioma in people who have been exposed to asbestos can occur after many years, even in a period of 20 to 50 years.

As a result of research worldwide, medical institutions have definitively and scientifically accepted that Mesothelioma is of pleural origin and is caused by asbestos exposure.

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How Is Mesothelioma Diagnosed?

First of all, shoulder drop is also evaluated by physical examination.

If one of the shoulders is lower than the other and breathing sounds decrease, the physician may suspect pleural cancer.

Necessary analyzes and visualizations are made.

Since chest X-ray and tomography do not clarify the situation in the diagnosis of lung disease, we perform the biopsy diagnosis method by taking a sample from the lung fluid.

Lung membrane biopsy is the most effective method for diagnosis. The diagnosis is usually made in advanced stages because the disease has fewer symptoms than typical lung cancer.

At this stage, evaluations such as PET-CT, ultrasonography, MR are also necessary for the treatment process of the disease to investigate the spread of cancer in the body.

There are three types of biopsy to make a definitive diagnosis of mesothelioma.

  • Open pleural biopsy
  • Closed pleural biopsy
  • Thoracoscopic examination

The best method is a thoracoscopic examination.

How Is Mesothelioma Treated?

There are three types of mesothelioma epithelial, sarcomatous, and mixed. Surgical intervention is generally applied in patients who do not have a standard treatment method.

Especially in cases of epithelial mesothelioma type that require surgical intervention, the success rate is high.

Post-diagnosis staging is also critical in mesothelioma. We can divide this into four stages;

Stage 1: The tumor is limited only to the pleura.

Stage 2: The tumor has spread to the chest wall, heart, esophagus, and mediastinum.

Stage 3: The tumor has invaded the diaphragm and has spread to the peritoneum, and the lymph nodes are involved.

Stage 4: The tumor has spread to other organs.

For example, early stage patients have a 1 or 2 chance of surgical treatment. Considering the classification, the lucky patient group in surgery is epithelial type.

There are open or closed surgical methods depending on the course and condition of the disease, and it is very important to start the treatment with an early diagnosis.

After surgical intervention, the patient receives sarcomatoid and mixed chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

The success rate in these methods is 40%. In some patients, the disease may recur, and it is the most critical situation to be protected from everything that involves risk, both in the treatment of the disease and afterwards.

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