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Mesothelioma - definition,causes, types,symptoms,diagnosis,treatment , prognosis and lawsuit.

Before we know, What is Mesothelioma? Let us understand ,What is Mesothelium?

Mesothelium :

Mesothelium is simple squamous epithelium that forms the lining of pleura (lining of lungs) , peritoneum (lining of abdomen), pericardium (lining of heart).

Function of Mesothelium : 
  • Protects the internal organs.
  • Provides a slippery surface and allows free movement of the organs thus aiding in the function of organs.
  • Now , we will go through Mesothelioma. 
Mesothelioma :

''Oma'' means ''Tumour or abnormal growth''.
Mesothelioma is a malignant cancer which affects the mesothelium layer of lungs, abdomen, pericardium or testes.

person holding round clear container

Incidence :

  • Mesothelioma is very rare cancer .
  • It usually affects men than women.
  • It has long latency period from 10 to 50 years and hence seen more in old age group.
  • Geographic incidence of mesothelioma is high in places where asbestos mining is located. 
  • Although few countries have banned asbestos , developing countries are using asbestos. Efforts should be made to use other safer substitutes .

The first case in India was reported recently in 2015. Due to its rarity and long latency period, misdiagnosis of the case may be possible. Care should be taken by people working in construction, electrical, shipyard and also proper disposal of asbestos mineral is necessary.

Mesothelioma Causes :

Idiopathic ( unknown). 

Our DNA has set of information which instructs the cell in cell division and growth. Any mismatch in this information may lead to abnormal production, division, growth of the cell making the cell cancerous. 

Risk factors :

Asbestos exposure:

It is occupation hazard wherein people working in certain occupations like Construction workers ,Electric related workers,
Fire fighters , Shipyard workers 
are exposed to asbestos fibres.

Family members of people exposed to asbestos:

People exposed to asbestos carry these fibres  on their clothing and this when inhaled by family members puts them in risk.

Note on asbestos :

Asbestos is a mineral which is made up of microscopic fibres which is used in construction. This fibres enters the lungs when inhalation gets lodged and causes problems on long run.

Pathophysiology :

Asbestos exposure
Asbestos gets lodged in lining of lungs or other mesothelial tissues
          Damage to the mesothelium cells
Resulting in inflammation of mesothelium cells
Tumours begin to form.

Types of Mesothelioma :

Pleural Mesothelioma :

It is the most common mesothelioma which affects the pleura(lining of lungs).

selective focus photography of anatomy lungs

Symptoms :

Weight loss
Shortness of breath

Pericardial Mesothelioma :

This is extremely rare type of Mesothelioma affecting pericardium(lining of heart).

heart illustration

Symptoms :

Irregular heartbeat
chest pain
difficulty in breathing

Peritoneal Mesothelioma :

This affects the peritoneum(lining of abdomen) which is about 10 to 20 % of cases. Prognosis is better compared to other types of mesothelioma.


Abdominal pain
Irregular bowel movements
Poor appetite.

Stages of Mesothelioma :

Stage 1 :

Tumor growth is localised . There is no metastasis of tumor. Can be asymptomatic or with mild symptoms. Surgery is considered depending upon the health condition and Multi treatment approach is considered involving radiation, chemotherapy and surgery.

Stage 2 :

Tumor is spreading to adjacent tissues  with or without involving the lymph nodes but no distant metastasis. Surgery is still considered depending on other factors.

Stage 3 :

Tumor is spread to several tissues and lymph nodes. Treatment is palliative to reduce symptoms . Surgery is not a treatment option in this stage.

Stage 4 :

Tumor has metastasised extensively in the area developed and to the other organs. Palliative care is given to reduce the pain and improve quality of life .

Prognosis :

Prognosis of Mesothelioma depends on the stage of the tumor with poor prognosis in stage 3 and 4.
Life Expectancy varies from 1 year to 2 year as per the stage of tumor and treatments.

Diagnosis  :

  • Physical Examination
  • Occupational history 
  • Family history
  • Blood studies and blood markers
  • CT scan (Computed tomography)
  • MRI ( Magnetic Resonance Imaging)
  • PET scan(Positron Emission tomography)
  • Biopsy determines the type of mesothelioma whether malignant or benign.
person lying on ct-scan machine

Treatment :

Treatment is similar to other types of cancer.  Treatment aims at prolonging the life and palliative care at improving the quality of life by reducing the symptoms of pain , discomfort and side effects of Radiation and chemotherapy.

Radiation therapy:

Radiation therapy is done at all the stages which reduces pain from growing tumor and halt the growth of cancerous cells.


Chemotherapy kills the cancerous cells.


Surgery is considered at early stages of mesothelioma and depending on health condition. Surgery along with chemotherapy is effective and improves the level of prognosis.

Asbestos Ban :

Asbestos is banned in 60 countries across the globe.
While Supreme court of India has banned the use of asbestos on 21  2011, India is still leading importer of asbestos from other countries in form of roofing sheets,insulation and brake linings. It is better to use other safe alternatives instead.

Mesothelioma Lawsuit :

The companies which produced , used or distributed asbestos containing materials were aware of the consequences of asbestos on human health. Termed as an occupational hazard , people who have worked in such factories with mesothelioma can file a lawsuit wherein you will be eligible for compensation.

Thank you,

Divya Lokesh.


  1. Well, very informative post. This is very rare but must be known condition. Cause in India most diseases or conditions are not known thus people don't consider normal symptoms as a warning.


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