How Does Mesothelioma Spread?

The majority of patients who die of mesothelioma, treated, or untreated, will die of comlications of the growth of the disease in the cavity (abdomen or chest) it originated in and not from disease that has spread to other parts of the body.

 

The fluid or liquid that is found in the chest will eventually be replaced by a solid growing tumour. This can lead to breathing difficluties, pnuemonia, or decreased heart function with arrhythmias (funny heartbeats). This increase in solid mass can also lead to severe pain in the chest wall, requiring narcotic medications.

Loss of weight due to poor appetite can also occur. The disease may spread to other parts of the body, but this usually occurs late in the course of the disease. The most frequently involved organs are the liver, the adrenal gland, the kidney, and the opposite lung that is affected.

 What is my prognosis?

This depends on several factors – your age, whether you are male or female (as women tend to do better than men), the size of the tumour when diagnosed and the type, i.e. patients who are diagnosed with the epithelial type of mesothelioma as opposed to the 2 other types tend to have a better advantage.

Also ther are certain blood values that tend to indicate who will have a worse prognosis. For example- if the platelet cell count ( cells that are responsible for making blood clot) is elevated, the hemoglobin (cells that carry oxygen) is low, and the white blood cells (cells that fight infection) are high, these can indicate a poorer prognosis.

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