The abdominal cancer known as peritoneal mesothelioma affects the peritoneum (the area of the mesothelium that surrounds the abdominal cavity). The peritoneum has two layers, the "parietal" or outer layer, and the "visceral" or inner layer. Either layer or both may be affected by peritoneal mesothelioma.
On average, less than 500 new cases or peritoneal mesothelioma are diagnosed in the United States each year — very few of which are given before the disease has reached its advanced stages. Symptoms associated with this rare type of asbestos-related cancer include:
- Abdominal pain
- Swelling of the abdominal cavity
- Loss of appetite/rapid weight loss
- Intestinal obstruction/impaired bowel function
- Anemia, general weakness or extreme fatigue
Pericardial mesothelioma develops in the pericardium, a fluid filled lining that surrounds and protects the heart. It is one of the rarest forms of mesothelioma and is generally seen only in patients who have had an extended amount of exposure to asbestos.
Pericardial mesothelioma is strongly associated with long-term asbestos exposure. In these cases, asbestos fibers become embedded in the pericardium. Once there, their naturally jagged shape causes inflammation to occur. Over time, scar tissue builds up from the inflammation and malignant cancer cells may begin to develop — eventually leading to a diagnosis of pericardial mesothelioma.
Associated symptoms of this disease include:
- Chest pain
- Persistent coughing
- Heart palpitations or irregular heartbeat
- Shortness of breath, difficulty breathing normally
- Fever/night sweats
Testicular mesothelioma is the rarest type of asbestosis-related cancer, with less than 100 reported cases total. Unfortunately, the rareness of this disease has made it difficult for medical researchers to identify a definitive set of symptoms for diagnostic purposes. In fact, the only recognized sign of the disease is the appearance of testicular lumps. Treatment of testicular mesothelioma is usually removal of testicles, or in some cases, only a portion.
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