Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer that affects the cells that produce the membrane that lines most organs. There are three types of mesothelioma: the pleural, the peritoneal, and the pericardial:- 1. Pleural mesothelioma originates in the chest and affects the membrane that lines the heart and lungs. 2. Peritoneal mesothelioma begins in the abdominal cavity, where the liver, stomach, pancreas and intestine meet. 3. Pericardial mesothelioma is a cancer that is focused on the membrane that covers the heart and extremely infrequent.
How does asbestos enter my body?
Asbestos is a fibrous substance that can be separated into filaments and cracked to form part of a variety of products that have been used in the construction industry. Although asbestos fibers are recognized for their resistance to heat, water and many chemical reactions, when they transform they disintegrate easily. Finally, The fibers fracture into microscopic particles that are transported through the air and can be inhaled. Asbestos fibers can also be ingested, creating the stage for peritoneal mesothelioma after having passed from the intestinal tract to the abdominal cavity. Asbestos fibers act in the body differently from other inhaled substances. Generally it is the particles of 5x5 microns in diameter that are able to be deposited in the respiratory cavities of the human body. However, Asbestos fibers of 10 microns in diameter are able to reach the regions of the lung bases, where they can cause serious damage to the lung tissue. Once the fibers have reached the lungs, the tiny fibers are absorbed by special cells in the lung tissue called macrolegics that digest as many fibers as possible and transport them in the form of fibrous waste to the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system, via the lymph nodes, acts by filtering the foreign materials out of the body. In spite of this, the macroergic molecules are not able to ingest the longer asbestos fibers, allowing them to remain lodged in the lung tissue.
The deposited fibers acquire a rod-like shape that is known as the "asbestos body". It is speculated that these fibers can break and crack in small particles that migrate to the membrane that lines the pulmonary and peritoneal cavities.