Malignant mesothelioma is a type of cancer that originates in the mesothelium, a thin wall of cells that surround the body's organs and internal structures. Pericardial mesothelioma originates in the lining of the heart. Other locales of the disease are malignant pleural mesothelioma, which occurs in the lining of the lungs and malignant peritoneal mesothelioma, which occurs in the abdomen wall. Pericardial mesothelioma is the rarest of these malignancies accounting for only an estimated 10 percent of all mesothelioma incidences annually.
What Causes Pericardial Mesothelioma?
Pericardial mesothelioma is an asbestos cancer, meaning its only known cause is asbestos exposure. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral with toxic properties that was used in industrial capacities. While the precise route by which microscopic asbestos fibers reach the pericardial lining is not known, mesothelioma doctors surmise that inhaled asbestos fibers are absorbed into the bloodstream and become entangled in the heart's lining as the blood processes through the heart. Malignant mesothelioma occurring in other parts of the body, such as in the pleura or peritoneum, can also metastasize to the pericardial lining.
How is Pericardial Mesothelioma Treated?
Prognoses are poor in cases of pericardial mesothelioma, just as nearly every mesothelioma prognosis is. However, several treatment options exist to help patients manage the disease and maintain comfort. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are the most likely mesothelioma treatment options for patients of this disease. Mesothelioma surgery is typically not an option because of the location of the disease and the risk of grave damage to the tumor area.
How is Pericardial Mesothelioma Diagnosed?
Physicians will often suspect pericardial mesothelioma diagnosis if the patient has trouble breathing, shortness of breath, or chest pain. A comprehensive diagnostic and biopsy process will be undergone through use of multiple body imaging scans.