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Mesothelioma- causes, side effects and treatments at

Thursday, May 10, 2018 by

Mesothelioma refers to a rare form of cancer that often develops in the cells that line the sacs of the chest or the abdomen.

Pleural mesothelioma is the most common form of this cancer and its side effects often manifest in the patient’s chest area. Meanwhile, peritoneal mesothelioma is rarer, with the side effects affecting the organs in the abdomen.

The rarest form of mesothelioma is pericardial mesothelioma and it affects the sac around the heart.

Patients with malignant mesothelioma often have jobs where they are exposed to asbestos. Other patients are exposed to asbestos in their homes.

Mesothelioma has two major cell types: Epithelial and sarcomatoid. In some cases, both cell types may be present. While the sarcomatoid type is rarer and occurs in only at least 15 percent of cases, it is linked to poorer prognosis.

Mesothelioma can, very rarely, develop from benign (or non-malignant) cells. This benign mesothelioma can be surgically treated.

Known symptoms and risk factors for mesothelioma

It usually takes about 30 years before signs of mesothelioma manifest in patients who have been exposed to asbestos.

Individuals are often diagnosed after the disease has already advanced and the outcome depends on how early the malignancy is detected. The signs and side effects of mesothelioma can vary depending on where the cancer is located in the body.

The symptoms of pleural mesothelioma usually include:

  • Detectable lumps under the skin in the chest area
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Discomfort in the side of the chest
  • Exhaustion
  • Fever
  • Lower back pain
  • Pain below the ribcage
  • Painful coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Unexpected/unexplained weight loss

The symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma can include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Lumps in the abdomen
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Swelling in the abdomen
  • Unexplained weight loss

The side effects of pericardial mesothelioma usually include:

  • Chest pain
  • Edema/fluid retention (usually occurs in the legs)
  • Extreme fatigue even after light exertion
  • Heart palpitations
  • Low blood pressure
  • Shortness of breath

Risk factors for mesothelioma may include:

  • Age – The risk of developing mesothelioma increases with age. While the disease can occur in children, it is rare in people younger than 45. Around two to three people with mesothelioma of the chest are 65 or older.
  • Asbestos – Exposure to asbestos is the main risk factor for pleural mesothelioma. The majority of pleural mesothelioma cases have been linked to high levels of asbestos exposure in the workplace.
  • Gender – Mesothelioma is more common in men than in women, probably due to the fact that men are more commonly employed in jobs that involve working with asbestos.
  • Radiation –  According to some reports, individuals can develop mesotheliomas after exposure to high doses of radiation to the chest or abdomen to treat a different type of cancer.
  • SV40 virus – Based on data from some studies, infection with simian virus 40 (SV40) could increase the risk of developing mesothelioma.
  • Zeolites – Zeolites are minerals chemically related to asbestos.

Body systems harmed by mesothelioma

Malignant mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer that may spread to other body parts. Patients with pleural mesothelioma can have trouble breathing and they may experience chest pain.

Other complications caused by mesothelioma include strokes and heart and lung problems. Patients with malignant mesothelioma who do not receive immediate treatment can also die.

Food items or nutrients that may prevent mesothelioma

The following foods or nutrients can help prevent mesothelioma and improve breathing:

  • Apples – Apples contain flavonoids, vitamin C, and vitamin E that can boost lung health.
  • Chili peppers – Peppers are full of capsaicin, the spicy compound that can also boost blood flow, fights infection, and stimulate the mucus membranes.
  • Cruciferous vegetables – Cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and kale can help stop the progression of lung cancer. They can also lower the risk of developing lung cancer by 50 percent.
  • Garlic and onions – Garlic and onions are good for heart health. They can help fight infection, lower cholesterol, and reduce inflammation.
  • Ginger – Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties and it can eliminate pollutants from the lungs.
  • Pomegranates – Pomegranate juice can slow the growth of lung tumors.
  • Turmeric – Turmeric contains curcumin, a compound that can trigger the self-destruction of cancer cells.

Treatments, management plans for mesothelioma

Patients with malignant mesothelioma have three options when it comes to treatment. Two or three of the options are usually combined during the course of treatment:

  1. Chemotherapy – Involves the use of drugs to fight the cancer.
  2. Radiation therapy – This involves the use of high-dose X-rays or other high-energy rays to eliminate cancer cells.
  3. Surgery – This involves the removal of the cancer.

Where to learn more


Mesothelioma refers to a rare form of cancer that often develops in the cells that line the sacs of the chest or the abdomen. The rarest form of mesothelioma is pericardial mesothelioma.

The side effects of pleural mesothelioma usually include exhaustion, fever, and lower back pain.

Apples, chili peppers, cruciferous vegetables, garlic and onions, ginger, pomegranates, and turmeric can help prevent mesothelioma.

Patients with malignant mesothelioma have three options for treatment: Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery.

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