Mesothelioma is cancer that starts in the layers of tissue that cover each lung. More rarely it starts in the layer of tissue in the abdomen that surrounds the digestive system organs. Whether it is in your chest (pleural mesothelioma) or your abdomen (peritoneal mesothelioma) in its early stages mesothelioma does not have any symptoms. Symptoms of mesothelioma develop, when caused by the cancer growing and pressing on a nerve or another body organ. About 60800 people had mesothelioma and 32,000 died from the disease, in 2015.
Pleural mesothelioma and peritoneal mesothelioma are the two main types of mesothelioma. In the sheets of tissue that cover the lungs Pleural mesothelioma starts. In the tissue lining the inside of the stomach (abdomen), grows peritoneal mesothelioma.Peritoneal mesothelioma is less common than pleural mesothelioma. Cancer stages tell the physician where it is, how big it is and whether it has spread. The tests and scans you have when diagnosing your cancer give some information about the stage.
The doctor decide the treatment you need by knowing the stage. The staging for mesothelioma in the abdomen (peritoneal mesothelioma) is different to staging used for mesothelioma in the chest (pleural mesothelioma). Mesothelioma symptoms or signs may not appear until 20 to 50 years (or more) after exposure to asbestos.
At stage one, the pleura around the lung on one side of your chest contains mesothelioma cells. At stage two, Mesothelioma cells are in the inner layer of the pleura (visceral pleura), but only on one side of the chest. During stage three, Mesothelioma has spread to both layers of the pleura on one side of the body, and has enlarged to form a tumor mass on the pleural tissue around the lungs, or has started to spread into the diaphragm muscle or the lung tissue. Mesothelioma has spread to the breast area but is still possibly removable by surgery, or it has spread to the lymph nodes on the same side of the chest, this the fourth stage.
Mesothelioma cannot be removed by surgery because it has spread to different parts of the chest wall, or has grown through the diaphragm into the peritoneum, or to the pleura on the other side of the body, or to the chest organs, or through to the inner layer of the pericardium, this the 5th stage.
Survival depends on many various factors. You can get a lot of practical and emotional support for yourself and your family when you have mesothelioma.
In most cases mesothelioma can be prevented by avoiding exposure to asbestos. Before the use of asbestos commercially the disease was rare.