Mesothelioma of the Pericardium or Pericardial Mesothelioma is a disease that affects the lining of the heart (pericardium). There is a common error that mesothelioma is a type of primary lung cancer; it is not. Mesothelioma is a cancer of the serous skin. These membranes comprise a series of organs along the middle part of the body, including the heart. The most common type of mesothelioma is pleural mesothelioma, which affects the serous membranes of the lung.
The least common form of cancer mesothelioma is pericardial mesothelioma. Pericardial Mesothelioma can be spread into the lungs and if this is the case, secondary lung cancer is considered. Mesothelioma cancer is sometimes called asbestos lung. Technically, this is wrong, since it is not from the lungs. Asbestosis is a type of asbestos pulmonary disease that originates in the lungs and is often confused with mesothelioma.
Cancer of pericardium (mesothelioma)
Cancer of Pericardium (Mesothelioma) is found in less than 10 percent of mesothelioma patients. While pleural mesothelioma is fairly well understood (inhalation, asbestos fibers are absorbed into the lining of the lungs and lead to cancer tumors), pericardial mesothelioma is not. Pleural mesothelioma, because the inhaled asbestos fibers are very durable and can not be eliminated in the body-specific processes. Over time, these fibers cause a chronic inflammation that eventually leads to the growth of cancer tumors or, in some cases, asbestosis. But researchers and doctors are not sure how the asbestos fibers are inserted into the serous lining of the heart or heart bags. One theory states that asbestos fibers are divided into small pieces transported into the lungs and into the bloodstream. Therefore, advocates of this theory, the fibers are pumped through the heart, accommodated in the lining of the heart, and cause chronic inflammation that leads to cancer growth (as is the case with pleural mesothelioma).
Because pericardial mesothelioma is so rare, there is hardly any specific research on this type of mesothelioma. Approximately 2000 new cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed every year and less than 200 are pericardial mesothelioma.
The symptoms of pericardial mesothelioma
As in the lungs, the rapid growth of cancer tumors can cause tissue expansion and fluid accumulation. The fluid can interfere with the function of the heart, causing chest pain and irregular heart beat. Patients are usually diagnosed only when they complain of pain in the chest or other heart symptoms already after a limited effort. Shortness of breath and cough are less common symptoms of pericardial mesothelioma cancer. Unlike the lungs, it is less common than other types of cancer heart metastases.
The patients of pericardial mesothelioma can have three types of cancer mesothelioma cells: the epithelioid mesothelioma, sarcomatoid mesothelioma and two-phase mesothelioma. The type of cancer cells can affect the prognosis of mesothelioma. It is believed that patients with two-phase mesothelioma cancer cells have a shorter life expectancy.