Pericardial Mesothelioma: Quick Facts
What is pericardial mesothelioma ?
It is a cancer caused by the inhalation of asbestos dust, and is the
most rare of mesothelioma cancers. It accounts for about 5% of all
Its period of latency (time it takes for the symptoms to show) is
approximately 30-50 years. Symptoms are similar to other diseases such
as pneumonia whilst in the early stages. This makes it rather difficult
to diagnose and treat.
What are the treatment options for pericardial
There are three options available for an individual diagnosed with this
cancer; surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. A patient will first
require a doctor's evaluation to determine which treatment option is
suitable for him.
What are my chances of survival from
pericardial mesothelioma ?
It is important to stress that once you start experiencing the symptoms
of pericardial mesothelioma (shortness of breath, chest pains, coughing
up blood, and palpitations) you should immediately seek specialized
The prognosis of pericardial mesothelioma depends largely on how early
the cancer is detected. Should you be diagnosed in the later stages of
development, your chances of survival could be very slim (usually a few
Can you go through each of the treatment
Radiation - large doses of radiation
are used to kill the cancerous cells on the pericardium. The
disadvantage of using radiation to treat pericardial mesothelioma is
that the vital organs close to the heart are also being damaged.
Surgery - this can be divided into
two parts; aggressive surgery & palliative procedures. Aggressive
surgery involves the removal of the cancerous cells from the
pericardium. This procedure is only performed by an extremely skilled
surgeon as the cells are usually located in close proximity to the heart
and lungs. Any small mishap can have a fatal outcome.
Palliative procedures are used in the latest stages of pericardial
mesothelioma. They serve the sole purpose of relieving the symptoms
since the cancer is almost incurable at this stage.
Chemotherapy - drugs are used to
kill the cancerous cells. Unfortunately, the majority of drugs used to
treat pericardial mesothelioma have an extremely low success rate.
Pharmaceutical companies are conducting trials to come up with the right
combination of drugs that can produce better results for treating
You also have dual therapy which is just a combination of the three
methods. Cancerous cells are removed by means of surgery, then the
remaining cells are killed off by radiation and chemotherapy. Although
still dangerous, dual therapy has demonstrated a higher success rate
than using the three individual methods alone.
If you think you have mesothelioma, or anything seems out of the
ordinary, please seek medical help. The earlier a terrible disease
is caught, the better your chances of survival.