Pericardial mesothelioma is one of the rarest forms of mesothelioma. Of the almost three thousand mesothelioma cases reported each year, pericardial mesothelioma only accounts for five percent. However, this does not take away from the devastating effect of the disease, as it is one of the most lethal forms of mesothelioma. Doctors always fear the worst once a patient has been diagnosed with pericardial mesothelioma because the prognosis is rarely positive.
It is still not clear exactly what route asbestos particles take to enter the pericardium. However, the most popular theory is that asbestos particles enter the lungs during breathing. There they further breakdown into micro particles and enter the blood stream during oxygenation of the blood. They then travel in the blood to the heart where they become lodged in the membrane surrounding the heart. Once they are wedged into these tissues, it is impossible or the body to eliminate them. Here they remain and alter the normal function of the pericardial membrane resulting in an uncontrolled growth of cells and the formation of tumors. This increase in the pericardium as the membrane thickens results if restriction in the movement of the heart.
Victims of pericardial mesothelioma rarely show any symptoms of the disease until decades after their exposure to asbestos particles. This makes the diagnosis of pericardial mesothelioma difficult as many are at a loss to from where these symptoms have appeared. Some of these symptoms include severe chest pain, irregular heartbeat, difficulty breathing, fatigue, night sweating and difficulty breathing when lying down.
Pericardial mesothelioma is one of the most dangerous forms of mesothelioma. This is because it affects the heart. Most patients with pericardial mesothelioma are not expected to live past one year after diagnosis. Doctors have not been able to improve the dismal prognosis of this form of mesothelioma due to the inability to properly track the disease during its development. As a result, very little information is available and most patients die before enough work can be completed to see what types of treatments can improve patient condition.
Pericardial mesothelioma is very evasive during its development stages. Often doctors end up treating patients for other cardiac diseases. It is only after they have exhausted many of these options that doctors diagnose pericardial mesothelioma. However, a good doctors will also investigate their patient’s work history for exposure to asbestos if they find they are not reaching anywhere with traditional heart disease treatments.
Several issues affect the prognosis for pericardial mesothelioma. As a result, prognosis on the disease is given on an individual basis. How long a pericardial victim lives depend on how soon the cancer was discovered, if the doctor see it beneficial to administer treatment, the age of the patient, medical history, their physical condition and the general support offered by family members. Many doctors will implement strict dieting and light exercise regimes that can provide some mental and physical relief for the victims.