Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that is associated with the exposure to asbestos. It is known as the most aggressive and the most difficult to treat type of cancer. The reason is this that it is diagnosed very late and sometimes the patient does not have an idea of the period in which he was exposed to asbestos and this disease started to grow in his body. It usually starts in the mesothelium cells that are the protective coverings of different parts of the body (especially the parts of abdomen).
Some forms of mesothelioma are malignant and some are non-malignant. In medical terminology, only the malignant mesothelioma is considered as mesothelioma. We will here discuss the main types of mesothelioma cells as they look under the microscope. There are four main types of the cancerous cells.
- Epothelioid:it is the most common kind of mesothelioma. 50 to 70 % cases belong to this kind of cancerous cells. In this kind of cancer, the chance of being cured is comparatively high.
- Sarcomatoid (fibrous): this is the rare kind of mesothelioma that occurs in 7 to 20% patients and it affects the secondary tissues of the body of the patients. The survival rate is low in this category.
- Mixed (biphasic): in this kind of mesothelioma, both above mentioned kinds of mesothelioma occur simultaneously. It covers 20 to 35% of mesothelioma patients.
- Desmoplastic:this is the rarest kind of mesothelioma cells and the survival rate in it is low.
As this type of cancer grows in different parts of the body, so they have different names. Some important types of mesothelioma are as following:
- Pleura mesothelioma: almost 75% of mesothelioma patients have this type of cancer. It affects pleura of the body. As the asbestos fibers inhaled by the air are stored in pleura and cause scarring and inflammation, cancer develops. The latency period is quite long as it covers 30 to 50 years.
- Peritoneum mesothelioma: this is the second most common type of mesothelioma. 10 to 20 % of mesothelioma patients belong to this type. It develops in peritoneum. Its latency period is shorter than the latency period in pleura mesothelioma. Even then it takes 20 to 30 years to be developed
- Pericardium mesothelioma: this type of cancer occurs in the lining of heart. Only 10 % of this type of cases is found in all over the world. It is also associated with the exposure to asbestos.
- Mesothelioma of the tunica vaginalis testis: it is the rarest type of cancer that grows in the lining of the tunica vaginal testis. The total number of such patients is less than hundred but it is said that the main cause of mesothelioma is the exposure to asbestos.
- Mesothelioma of the tunica serosa uteri: it is a type of mesothelioma that grows in tunica serosa uteri. It is also a rare type of cancer.
Though there are some more types of mesothelioma but they are very rare and we even do not have enough information about them.