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Pericardial Mesothelioma: In The Rarest Form

pericardial mesothelioma,rare forms of cancer, diagnosis of mesothelioma

Cancer that is generally known to be caused by exposure to asbestos is mesothelioma, and pericardial mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer. Typically, mesothelioma, categorized as either pleural or peritoneal, is developed and diagnosed in the lining of the lungs or abdomen. Pleural mesothelioma is the most diagnosed type of rare cancer that is exclusively caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibers. Over time, most patients who had a recorded diagnosis of mesothelioma contracted the pleural type, which is the most prevalent form in the United States.

In comparison, the peritoneal type of mesothelioma develops in the lining of the abdomen and is second to the number of recorded cases here in the United States. The peritoneal type of mesothelioma alone is scarce. It has only recently proved to have been solely caused by the ingestion of asbestos in liquid form, being solely from contaminated water consumption. Limited cases have been brought forward and have only recently been highlighted and recorded as a result of the patient’s exposure to ingested asbestos through drinking water.

Both pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma cases are diagnosed throughout the nation each year. There is a lot of attention focused on pleural mesothelioma because of the high rate of diagnosis and ability to contract this type of mesothelioma cancer more easily due to the exposure to airborne asbestos fiber particles. In turn, ingesting asbestos particles through water might require more exposure to asbestos, not only over a more extended period but also requiring more asbestos particles to be present within the liquid or water for the development of peritoneal mesothelioma to occur.

These elements of consistent time to asbestos exposure, the volume of asbestos an individual is susceptible to at that time, and the form of ingestion, whether swallowed or inhaled, can determine the risk or terms in which mesothelioma cancer develops. Although there is another type of mesothelioma that is none so openly discussed or ever brought up as a type or form associated at all with this rare cancer. The third type of rare mesothelioma that can be classified and diagnosed is pericardial mesothelioma, which is developed in the lining of the heart.

Pericardial Mesothelioma Is Extremely Rare

Pericardial mesothelioma is extremely rare and is almost always never diagnosed until an individual is either hospitalized or operated on due to unknown heart complications. In fact, this type of mesothelioma is so rare that less than 1 percent of the cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed as being pericardial mesothelioma or pericardium related.

Medical professionals mainly attribute the causes of pericardial mesothelioma to possible exposure to asbestos fibers that become lodged in the pericardium. The pericardium is the conical sac of fibrous tissue that surrounds the heart and the root of its blood vessels. Over time, these fibers or particles cause inflammation, which leads to harmful irritation that produces scar tissue. In rare cases, this scar tissue could eventually develop into cancerous tumors, which can lead to serious cardiac complications. Even though more atypical types of mesothelioma, such as pleural or peritoneal, are exclusively caused by asbestos exposure, the pericardial form is not always caused solely by asbestos. Studies show that individuals with certain genetics, systematic inflammation, and radiation treatment were predisposed to pericardial mesothelioma, just as if they had been exposed to asbestos.


The harsh reality of pericardial mesothelioma not only comes as a surprise, but it can appear quickly in the form of symptoms that can mirror heart disease or cardiac illness. Chest pain, extreme shortness of breath or fatigue, heart murmurs, severe weight loss, and heartbeat arrhythmia are formidable signs or symptoms of pericardial mesothelioma. These symptoms are typical cardiac issues and it can be hard or almost impossible to determine whether a patient is suffering from heart problems or onset pericardial mesothelioma.

In addition, fluid can build up around the heart due to pericardial effusion that is brought about by complications of pericardial mesothelioma, which makes the ability to breathe along with consistent chest pain contractions very painful. Because of the severity and aggressive symptoms displayed, this not only makes the type of mesothelioma cancer rare but seemingly impossible to diagnose without exposing these harsh symptoms.

Can Pericardial Mesothelioma Be Diagnosed

Unlike the pleural or peritoneal forms of mesothelioma, pericardial mesothelioma cancer can be almost impossible to diagnose through symptomatic descriptions of typical medical examinations. Medical professionals have been known to identify the pericardial form by combining efforts from taking blood samples, biopsies, and imaging scans to locate or diagnose this type of mesothelioma. If a patient or individual does survive the harsh symptoms and is stabilized, there are some specific tests designed to diagnose pericardial mesothelioma.

A couple of tests are designed specifically for diagnosing patients with pericardial mesothelioma, which are pericardiocentesis and echocardiogram tests. Pericardiocentesis is a biopsy test performed with a needle, in which a doctor injects it into the pericardium area around the heart. The needle draws the fluid or sample from that area, which is then tested for signs of pericardial mesothelioma cancer.

The other form of testing is known as an echocardiogram. Echocardiogram functions by utilizing sound waves that form their vibration then project a visual image of the heart area for medical professionals to examine. When these images are observed and recorded, the physician or practitioner can then determine whether there is pericardial mesothelioma present.

Treatment Options

The hard part of dealing with pericardial mesothelioma is the reality that the majority of individuals who are diagnosed already live with an advanced stage of this rare cancer. Although there are several tests explicitly designed for diagnosing this type of mesothelioma, the chances of utilizing these tests can almost be too late due to the aggressive and alarming symptoms that characterize pericardial mesothelioma cancer. Even if a patient or an individual is diagnosed with pericardial mesothelioma cancer, there are some treatment options available.

These options can vary depending on the advancement of the patient’s pericardial mesothelioma diagnosis. Curative treatments are available if there is a higher chance of singling out the developed area or tumor as long as cancer has not rapidly advanced beyond a medically curable condition. In turn, there are palliative treatments readily available to counter any confirmed case of pericardial mesothelioma, which has is deemed to be in a more advanced stage.

A curative treatment option is a pericardiectomy surgery that involves the removal of some of the heart lining or pericardium. Sometimes after the surgery, there is a course or round of chemotherapy done after the surgery most commonly observed with the drug cisplatin. Even when a portion of the heart lining is removed, doctors will still follow up with chemotherapy to make sure there is no further attachment of cancer that has developed apart from the immediately removed area.

For treating more advanced stages of pericardial mesothelioma, the palliative treatments will more than likely be used. There are several types of chemotherapy regimens that can be utilized to slow the growth of tumors; in addition to performing a pericardial tap, in which, a needle, linked to a catheter, is injected into the built-up fluid around the heart. As a result,  the liquid or fluid is drained to relieve pressure from inherent pericardial effusion, which can cause acute chest pain and difficulty breathing. A pericardial tap combined with chemotherapy can help ease the tension away from the heart and assist a diagnosed patient with managing pain relief.

Do Not Ignore Any Signs Or Symptoms

No one should ignore any signs of chest pain or cardiac illness, no matter what they believe are causing their symptoms. Asbestos exposure can cause onset mesothelioma, either pleural, peritoneal and in the rarest case pericardial. Unfortunately, if you or a loved one might be suffering from the symptoms of mesothelioma, please consult a medical professional and experienced mesothelioma attorney.

There is never a time to neglect your health, whether the risk is tremendous or chance is small when it comes down to dealing with mesothelioma.

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