Though there is no cure for mesothelioma, treatment options help patients who have been diagnosed with this condition to live a higher quality of life. Unfortunately, since the heart is such an intricate vital organ, there are fewer treatment options to combat the symptoms and progression of pericardial mesothelioma compared to the other three types.
Nearly every case of mesothelioma can be traced back to exposure to the natural mineral asbestos. Asbestos was a popular building material that was used throughout the 20th century. Though most manufacturers of construction materials phased out products that contained asbestos in the 1980s, the mineral still found its way into homes, office buildings and boats through the 90s.
Some populations that were placed at a particularly high risk of developing mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure include construction workers and military personnel who spent periods of time on boats.
Pericardial mesothelioma is associated with numerous symptoms and secondary conditions, including pressure on the heart.
Pressure on the Heart as a Symptom of Pericardial Mesothelioma
When the tiny asbestos particles are inhaled, they travel through the systems, normally the lungs and digestive tract, to a final resting place in the protective lining. Deeply embedded, they cannot be expelled. With pericardial mesothelioma, the tissues that comprise the pericardium become thick and inflamed.
The cells are particularly irritated, and the body attempts to fight back against the intrusion. Fluid rapidly builds, as do the tumors that are characterized as mesothelioma. Tumors can develop on the heart itself, as well as other organs, as the condition persists.
This chain reaction causes chest pain, shortness of breath, unexplained weight loss, irregular cardiac rhythms, pressure on the heart and, in most advanced cases, heart failure. This is a very serious condition. While a long term prognosis is not normally positive, a higher quality of life can be achieved when patients are diagnosed early.
Since this mesothelioma cancer can closely resemble other cardiac issues, it is important that patients bring their concerns to their doctor as soon as possible.