Malignant mesothelioma is considered a rare disease. Compared to the number of people that get diagnosed with diabetes, for example, it is a very rare disease. However, to the roughly 3,000 people who are diagnosed in the United States with malignant mesothelioma and told they only have a short time to live, the fact that it is rare is of little comfort. In fact, the opposite is generally true. With malignant mesothelioma being so rare, it is considered an orphan disease, which essentially means there is little profit in working towards a cure. If more people got malignant mesothelioma each year, and the drug companies smelled profit, we might be a lot closer to a real cure.
However, before we can discuss a cure, it is important to understand what malignant mesothelioma actually is. A recent news feature from Healio takes a look at this issue. As discussed in this article, malignant mesothelioma first occurs in a layer of cells known as the mesothelium. This layer of cells is present in most internal organs of the human body. We typically see the cancer occurring in the pericardial mesothelium, which is in the chest, the peritoneal mesothelium, which is in the stomach, and pleural mesothelium, which is in the lungs. However, we can also find malignant mesothelioma in the mesotheliomas of the tunica vaginalis, which form the beginning of the testicular lining. However, it should be noted that once mesothelioma forms in one of these areas, it can quickly spread to the rest of the body. Continue reading →