Glossary Mesothelioma

Asbestos – fibrous, naturally occurring silicate mineral that is highly resistant to heat and fiber, it can even be woven into fabrics. The mineral has some incredibly unique physical properties.

Asbestosis – disease of the lungs caused by exposure to asbestos, characterized by the development of fibrous tissues in the lungs, the death of parts of the lungs responsible for gaseous exchange. It increases the risk of developing lung cancer.

Adjuvant therapy – and additional therapy given along with mainline treatment to improve the outcomes, like giving chemotherapy after the surgical treatment of mesothelioma

Fine-Needle Aspiration – a procedure that involves inserting the fine needle near the tumor and extracting the surrounding fluid for diagnostic purposes.

Histology – a study of cells, in mesothelioma histological examination, would help to confirm the diagnosis.

Oncologist – a doctor who specializes in the treatment of cancer.

Brachytherapy – specific kind of anticancer radiotherapy, which involves the injecting of tubes or seeds of radioactive material into the location of cancer, it thus allows giving the higher dose of radiation in a localized manner.

Debulking Surgery – as the name suggests, it is about removing the bulk of the tumor, it involves removing as much tumor and surrounding tissues as possible.

Extrapleural Pneumonectomy (EPP) – it is more invasive surgery as compared to the debulking operation as it involves the removal of most of the tumor, pleura, surrounding tissues, most of the lung, and even the diaphragm.

HIPEC (Hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy) – it is a kind of therapy that is used to treat mesothelioma of abdominal organs. It is used after the surgical removal of the treatment. This technique involves washing of peritoneal cavity with a high dose of chemotherapeutic medications under higher temperature. It allows the use of higher doses, as the medicines are not injected into the bloodstream, further, heating improves the effectiveness of therapy.

Immunotherapy – a kind of therapy that trains the immune system to act against the diseases. The vaccine is an example of immunotherapy. Researchers are experimenting with various methods to teach the immune system to fight against the mesothelioma and other kinds of cancers.

Multimodal Mesothelioma Treatment – using more than one method to treat disease, like combining radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and surgery.

Monoclonal antibodies – a particular kind of drugs that are under development, they help the immune system in identifying the cancer cells by binding the cancer cells and thus acting as markers.

Mesothelium – the membrane that covers and protects most of the internal organs. It is composed of two layers: one layer immediately surrounds the organ; the other forms a sac around it.

Mesothelioma – a form of cancer that develops from the mesothelium, it often affects the mesothelium of lungs, but may also occur in the abdominal cavity.

Epithelioid cells – a type of mesothelioma, it is the most prevalent form and is characterized by a better prognosis.

Sarcomatoid cells – less common type of mesothelioma, but with much poorer prognosis, as this type of mesothelioma does not respond well to the currently available therapy.

Biphasic cells – a kind of mesothelioma in which both the epithelioid and sarcomatoid cells are present.

Dyspnea – or shortness of breath (SOB) is perceived difficulty breathing or pain on breathing.

Thoracoscopy – a type of biopsy using a telescope-like instrument called a thoracoscope connected to a video camera is inserted through a small incision into the chest

Peritoneum – mesothelial lining inside the abdomen, it covers most of the organs located inside the stomach.

Bronchoscopy – a flexible, lighted tube is inserted down the trachea, and into the bronchi to check for masses in the airway. Through this method tissues that are abnormal will be removed for testing.

Staging – the term used to describe the extent of cancer and whether it has spread from the original site to other parts of the body.

Peritoneum – the smooth transparent membrane that lines the abdominal cavity. When cancer cells are present in this area, one is suffering from peritoneal mesothelioma.

Pleura – the delicate serous membranous lining designed to keep the lungs together and to prevent friction while breathing. It covers the lungs and lines the chest wall. When cancer cells are present in this area, one is suffering from pleural mesothelioma.

Pneumonectomy – surgical removal of a lung. It is a kind of aggressive surgery whereas much cancer cells are removed by removing the entire affected area.

Latency Period – the period from initial exposure to a substance to the onset of the disease.

Thoracentesis – the puncturing of the chest wall to obtain fluid for diagnostic study, drain pleural effusions, or to re-expand a collapsed lung.

Metastases(s) – Metastasis – the spread of disease from the original site in the body to remote locations.

Staging – cancer specialist would stage cancer according to its severity, stage 1 cancer is that which has not spread to other locations and thus easier to treat, while the stage 4 indicates the most widespread cancer and thus extremely difficult to treat in most cases.

T-cells – white blood cells that are part of our immune system, they help to mark or identify the cancer cells, they may also kill them directly, or they may release a particular substance to attract other defensive cells. Researchers are learning to train the T-cells to fight against the cancers.

Sarcomatoid mesothelioma- it is a form of mesothelioma characterized by spindle-shaped cells, it is one of the most aggressive types of cancers with a poorer prognosis.

Mesothelioma cancer bracelets- they help to raise awareness regarding the mesothelioma, and they also help to show support for those living with mesothelioma by spreading the message of “refusing defeat.”

Mesothelioma brain cancer- though mesothelioma would never arise in the brain, however, mesothelioma may spread to the brain. It is this characteristic of cancer what makes it so dangerous.

Mesothelioma breast cancer – rare kind of cancer, in most cases it would be caused due to metastasis of cancer.

Mesothelioma bladder cancer- mesothelioma of the pleural or abdominal cavity may migrate to the bladder. Further, there is evidence that those with a family history of bladder cancer are at higher risk of mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma cancer color – various color ribbons are used to raise awareness of different forms of cancers. Thus a pearl colored ribbon is used to indicate mesothelioma or lung cancer.

Mesothelioma cancer charity- research in mesothelioma is not only funded by governments, but there are also tens of charities supporting mesothelioma patients.

Mesothelioma cancer council- an organization to support those living with cancer, most countries have such council.

Mesothelioma kidney cancer- mesothelioma may cause metastasis to the kidney. There is also research indicating that asbestos increases the risk of other kinds of cancers of the kidney.

Mesothelioma cancer scholarship- It is financial support provided to students who have been indirectly affected by the mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma cancer testis antigens- researchers are studying various antigens presented by mesothelioma to better the immunotherapy, one such antigen identified on mesothelioma testis antigen. In future, this antigen or tumor marker may be the target of immunotherapy.