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Mesothelioma Metastasis

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The term "metastatic cancer" refers to any form of cancer that has spread from its original location to other parts of the body. Cancer can spread through the lymph nodes or through the blood stream. Doctors have even found that some cancers are predictable as far as the organs to which they will metastasize. In some instances, this predictability can guide doctors and help keep an eye on certain parts of the body that are susceptible to tumors.
Mesothelioma Progression Because mesothelioma is not generally diagnosed until its later stages (usually Stage III or IV), metastatic disease is common at the time of diagnosis. Mesothelioma metastasis, however, can also occur as the disease continues to progress. Unlike many other cancers, mesothelioma progression does not generally impact the bones or brain, but normally affects the organs around the lungs on the side of the body in which the original tumor was found. This is known in the medical field as a "local spread."
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Mesothelioma Staging

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For many decades, doctors have been addressing the seriousness of particular cancers in terms of stages. Throughout the years, various staging systems have been developed to assist cancer doctors in determining diagnosis and the best form of treatment for the individual patient.
There are three popular mesothelioma staging systems used to examine the extent of pleural mesothelioma. Since other forms of mesothelioma are even less common than the occurrence of pleural mesothelioma, there currently are no formal staging systems for other forms of this aggressive cancer (although they can be applied if desired). Each of the three different staging systems measure various factors of malignant mesothelioma, including the extent of the tumor (primary mass), the metastasis (spreading), and the involvement of the lymph nodes.
The knowledge of what particular stage a patient is in after they are diagnosed with mesothelioma greatly affects what treatment options are recommended by doctors. We offe…

Malignant Mesothelioma Types

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In biological terms, malignant mesothelioma is divided into three types: epithelial, sarcomatoid and biphasic. These classifications pertain to the shape and structure of the cancer cells. Diagram of Malignant Mesothelioma Types. Between 50 to 70 percent of malignant mesothelioma cases are epithelial, approximately 20 to 35 percent are biphasic, and 7 to 20 percent are sarcomatoid. Epithelial cells are marked by their well-defined and uniform shape and can closely resemble cells of another form of cancer known as adenocarcinoma. Sarcomatoid cells display an elongated spindle shape, which tend to be irregular rather than uniform in shape, and the cells often overlap one another. Cells of the biphasic variety contain both epithelial and sarcomatoid cells, which form in groups of like cells rather than displaying a uniform mixture. Diagnosing what type of malignant mesothelioma a patient has can be challenging. One contributing factor is that it can be difficult to differentiate mesoth…

Malignant Mesothelioma Treatment

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Regardless of the type of malignant mesothelioma a patient has, treatment options are available for all mesothelioma patients, though a patient’s response to different treatments will vary. The stage , or level of maturity of the cancer, as well as the patient’s general health are greatly considered when a doctor creates a treatment plan. 
Common curative treatments, or treatments designed to remove cancer cells and cure the disease, for mesothelioma patients include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Chemotherapy and radiation treatments aim to kill cancerous cells and stop rapid cell division and growth. Though harmful cells are targeted, the treatments can also affect healthy cells. Patients may experience side effects such as nausea throughout treatment. Palliative treatments, designed to increase a patient’s comfort and ease pain, may also be recommended. Patients may also wish to explore experimental treatments offered in the studies testing up-and-coming drugs or procedures ca…

Malignant Mesothelioma Symptoms

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Patients with malignant mesothelioma generally do not display any symptoms until 20 to 50 years after exposure to asbestos occurs. This is due to the long latency period (the amount of time it takes for a patient to demonstrate symptoms after initial exposure to a disease-causing agent) associated with mesothelioma. The symptoms of mesothelioma are very general and often resemble less serious conditions, which can make diagnosis difficult. 
Symptoms vary depending on the type of mesothelioma a patient has, but the most common symptoms expressed by pleural mesothelioma patients include shortness of breath, chest pain and persistent cough. Peritoneal mesothelioma patients may display symptoms such as abdominal swelling, changes in bowel movement and development of lumps under the skin on the abdomen. Patients with pericardial mesothelioma may experience heart palpitations, chest pain, difficulty breathing and fever or night sweats. Testicular mesothelioma patients may notice testicular l…

Mesothelioma Types

Mesothelioma is caused by long-term, repeated exposure to asbestos fibers. The disease is generally found in four different forms: pleural, peritoneal, pericardial, and testicular. In each case, the cancer develops in mesothelial cells, which form the membranous linings that surround and protect organs. The different names for each type of mesothelioma refer to the point of origin of the cancer. 
Mesothelial membranes are made up of two different layers, called the parietal and visceral layers. Parietal layers are outer layers, and these typically cover large areas such as the chest cavity (in the case of pleural and pericardial membranes) and the abdominal cavity (as in the case of peritoneal membranes). Visceral layers are those that cover organs such as the lungs and heart. Mesothelioma develops in these membranes when asbestos fibers become trapped in the spaces between mesothelial cells. 
Mesothelioma is a particularly aggressive type of asbestos cancer, and is highly resistant …

Mesothelioma Treatment

After diagnosis, patients and their loved ones are often anxious to do everything possible to fight mesothelioma. This may involve several different treatment options. The most common treatments mesothelioma patients utilize include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.  Though a cure for mesothelioma does not currently exist, many patients undergo several treatments for relief from symptoms to improve the quality of life. Patients may also experience relief through experimental options and treatments available through clinical trials and alternative therapies
Asbestos.com offers additional information about mesothelioma treatment options, top doctors and cancer centers nationwide through a complimentary informational packet. Click here to receive your copy and learn more about symptoms, causes and support resources for mesothelioma patients.