What is Pericardial Mesothelioma?

What is Pericardial Mesothelioma?

   Pericardial mesothelioma is the rarest type of mesothelioma cancer . The pericardium is a fluid-filled sac made out of thin tissue, covering the heart and providing it with crucial lubrication. Pericardial mesothelioma is, in effect, cancerous growths on the pericardium. 

The Prevalence of Pericardial Mesothelioma 

It's estimated that about 5% to perhaps 10% of people who develop mesothelioma have the pericardial-mesothelioma subtype. The accurate incidence is difficult to estimate because pericardial mesothelioma is easily mistaken for another disease, such as cardiovascular disease. The signs and symptoms are similar in both cases. In addition, when a patient is finally diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer, it is often a different type of mesothelioma cancer that is recognized first — such as secondary lung cancer. 

However, pericardial mesothelioma is always traced to asbestos exposure, whereas cardiovascular disease is not. 
How Pericardial Mesothelioma Develops 

When the microscopic-sized fibers of which asbestos is composed are in the air, they can be inhaled by individuals in the area. Oftentimes, people are completely unaware that they have breathed in a toxic amount of asbestos. The fibers lodge themselves in the lungs and other organs.

It is unclear how asbestos fibers get to the pericardium, because there is no clear path that fibers can travel to the pericardium. One theory is that the fibers push their way through the lining of the lungs; another theory is that the fibers are carried through the blood stream to the pericardium. 

In any case, the fibers become lodged in and around the pericardium, beginning the cancer process. 
Symptoms of Pericardial Mesothelioma 

Symptoms that are most prevalent with patients who suffer from pericardial mesothelioma include: 
* irregular heart beat 
* chest palpitations 
* chest pain 
* cough 
* shortness of breath 

If you are experiencing these symptoms and have not yet consulted a physician, see a doctor soon. 
What Can Be Done for Pericardial Mesothelioma? 

There are a few ways to help treat pericardial mesothelioma, but there is as yet no cure for this cancer. Chemotherapy, radiation, a combination of these, and surgery can be used to treat the cancer and alleviate the discomfort that a patient with pericardial mesothelioma may be experiencing. The success rate of the treatment depends in part on the stage of the mesothelioma cancer and the patient's general health.