Years ago, asbestos, a natural mineral, was popular in the construction industry and other industrial fields and used as an insulator. Its fibers were useful because they were found to be resistant to heat and corrosion. Those working in shipyards, power stations, manufacturing facilities, and other industrial environments were exposed to the product on a daily basis.
However, it was later discovered that asbestos fibers, or “dust,” was collecting in the lungs and other parts of the body and wreaking havoc in various forms. Workers in many different fields began experiencing a wide range of symptoms and ultimately a cancer diagnosis.
Sadly, many have and continue to be diagnosed with a deadly cancer, commonly known as mesothelioma. There are, however, different types of mesothelioma cancers that can manifest.
Pleural mesothelioma is a type of cancer that targets the membrane, known as the pleural, that lines the lungs. Asbestos dust specs are breathed in and get trapped inside the lungs of the human body.
Symptoms of this type of mesothelioma often do not manifest until decades after a worker was routinely exposed to the asbestos. It is not uncommon for a 70 year-old man to have been away from his previous workplace for 20 years, yet still develop symptoms like shortness of breath, chest pain and pressure, and chronic coughing and later a dire diagnosis.
Peritoneal mesothelioma is a type of cancer that effects the peritoneum, or membrane that supports the abdomen. Adnominal pain and weight loss are common symptoms and, much like pleural mesothelioma, may not appear until many years after exposure.
Peritoneal mesothelioma, sadly, is a more aggressive form of mesothelioma. However, treatment options are available to mitigate the spread of the cancer.
Pericardial mesothelioma is another type of mesothelioma that affects the heart. The membrane that lines the heart is known as the pericardium. With pericardial mesothelioma, cancer tumors often form and compromise heart function.
Although pericardial mesothelioma is one of the more uncommon types of mesothelioma, it still effects a subset of those exposed to asbestos. In some cases, doctors have difficulty diagnosing the condition. Symptoms like irregular heartbeats, heart murmurs, chest pain are all signs of a potential myocardial infarction or heart attack, not typically cancer. MRI and biopsies are usually performed to confirm the official pericardial mesothelioma diagnosis.