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Malignant mesothelioma is a rare cancer that occurs in the thin layer of tissue that covers the majority of your internal organs (mesothelium).
Doctors divide mesothelioma into different types based on what part of the mesothelium is affected, including : -
Other forms of mesotheliomaSigns and symptoms of pericardial mesothelioma and mesothelioma of the tunica vaginalis are unclear. These forms are so rare that not much information is available. Pericardial mesothelioma signs and symptoms may include difficulty breathing or chest pains. Mesothelioma of the tunica vaginalis may be first detected as a mass on a testicle. When to see a doctor See your doctor if you have signs and symptoms that may indicate mesothelioma. Signs and symptoms of mesothelioma aren't specific to this disease and, due to the rarity of mesothelioma, are more likely to be related to other conditions. If any persistent signs and symptoms seem unusual or bothersome to you, ask your doctor to evaluate them.
Staging Once mesothelioma is diagnosed, your doctor orders other tests to determine the extent, or stage, of the cancer.
Chemotherapy Chemotherapy uses chemicals to kill cancer cells. Systemic chemotherapy travels throughout the body and may shrink or slow the growth of a pleural mesothelioma that can't be removed using surgery. Chemotherapy may also be used before surgery (neoadjuvant chemotherapy) to make an operation easier or after surgery (adjuvant chemotherapy) to reduce the chance that cancer will return. Chemotherapy drugs may also be heated and administered directly into the abdominal cavity (intraperitoneal chemotherapy), in the case of peritoneal mesothelioma, or into the chest cavity (intrapleural chemotherapy), in the case of pleural mesothelioma. Using this strategy, chemotherapy drugs can reach the mesothelioma directly without injuring healthy cells in other parts of the body. This allows doctors to administer higher doses of chemotherapy drugs. Intraperitoneal chemotherapy may also be used to reduce the signs and symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma that can't be removed through surgery.
Radiation therapy Radiation therapy focuses high-energy beams to a specific spot or spots on your body. Radiation may reduce signs and symptoms in people with pleural mesothelioma. Doctors aim radiation at the entire chest to obtain the best result. However, many sensitive organs are in the chest, such as the heart, lungs, esophagus and spinal cord, so doctors must use low doses of radiation to spare these organs. Radiation therapy is sometimes used after biopsy or surgery to prevent mesothelioma from spreading to the surgical incision. Radiation therapy is used occasionally in people with peritoneal mesothelioma to reduce signs and symptoms caused by the cancer. Combination therapy Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy may be combined. This aggressive therapy can be grueling and may not be appropriate for everyone. Younger, healthier people and those with earlier stage mesothelioma may be more able to endure this treatment. Combination therapy has shown the most promise in treating mesothelioma. However, most people will eventually experience a recurrence of this cancer despite aggressive treatment. Combination therapy has been used in both pleural mesothelioma and peritoneal mesothelioma.
Treatment for other types of mesotheliomaPericardial mesothelioma and mesothelioma of the tunica vaginalis are very rare and can be very aggressive. Early-stage cancer may be removed through surgery. Doctors have yet to determine the best way to treat later stage cancers, though. Your doctor may recommend other treatments to improve your quality of life.