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What is Mesothelioma Cancer?

Mesothelioma cancer is cancer in the mesotholeum. In order to understand how mesothelioma cancer works it's important to understand the word "mesothelium". Many of the organs of the body are covered and protected by a thin membrane called mesothelium and consist of mesothelial cells. This membrane (mesothelium) is composed of two layers of cells, one which forms a sac around the organ and the other one surrounds the organ by a layer. This membrane (mesothelium) produces a lubricating fluid that allows these organs (such as the heart and lungs) to move smoothly inside the body. The name of this membrane (mesothelium) has various of names depending on the location of the body. The pericardium is the mesothelium that protects the heart. The pleural is the membrane that surrounds the lungs and the peritoneum is mesothelial tissue that surrounds the stomach.

Mesothelioma cancer occurs when the mesothelium cells divides out of order and control, in which they can spread (metastasize) to other organs in the body. Most mesothelioma cancer occurs in the peritoneum and the pleura. Like any other cancer, it's important to treat the mesothelioma cancer at an early stage. If you are diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer and it has not spread to any other parts of the body, it's called localized (only the original organ has cancer). If the cancer has spread to other organs in the body, it is called advanced. The first step is to go to your local doctor and get a diagnosis and if concluded with mesothelioma cancer, the doctor wants to access what stage (aka staging) to determine if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. Knowing this is of utmost importance to assess what kind of treatments are necessary.

 

   
       
 

Sources of National Cancer Institute Information

Cancer Information Service
Toll-free: 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237)
TTY (for deaf and hard of hearing callers): 1-800-332-8615

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