Each year, 2,300 people die in the UK from this little-known form of cancer, which is most commonly caused by exposure to asbestos. Asbestos is a white, cancer-causing substance used in heating and insulating buildings, mostly in the 1960s and 1970s.
The common types of mesothelioma you need to be aware of:
This is the most common form of mesothelioma that makes up about 75% of total cases. This form of mesothelioma is caused by exposure to airborne asbestos dust. Particles of the cancer-causing substance are breathed in, which then go on to coat the lungs.
This type of mesothelioma is found mainly in the outer lining of the walls, known as the pleura, as well as the internal chest wall. It is caused by microscopic asbestos fibres penetrating the lung walls and then building up in the pleural cavity. Difficult and painful breathing is a common symptom.
This type of mesothelioma affects the peritoneum, which is the membrane surrounding the stomach, intestines and other digestive organs. It develops when asbestos fibres coat the mouth and are swallowed.
Once the fibres collect in the stomach they can penetrate into the peritoneal membrane, causing the tissue to become cancerous. If the tumours become large they can prevent the stomach from digesting food effectively. This is the second most common form of mesothelioma.
Eventually, the cells of this membrane can mutate and become cancerous. Just 5% of recorded medical cases are caused by pericardial mesotheliomas. Chest pain and heart palpitations can follow.
4.Mesothelioma of the tunica vaginalis
This is the extremely rare form of mesothelioma, with only 0.3% of cases reported to be of this kind. This type of asbestos-related cancer develops in the membrane that surrounds the testicles, a barrier that usually protects the reproductive organs from their surroundings.
Because this type of mesothelioma is so rare, with only 100 recorded cases, little is known about how the asbestos fibres reach this part of the body. The only known symptom is a swelling of the scrotum accompanied sometimes by testicular lumps.
So we know what to look for – what next?
The better news is, if this cancer is identified early, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and surgery can be used to treat the disease successfully.
You may feel you need legal assistance because you believe a third party is responsible for your exposure to asbestos. If so, you can rest assured that many Mesotheloima Claims are successfully brought against companies and individuals by specialist firms of solicitors.