Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that usually affects the lining of the lungs, heart, and abdominal cavity. It mostly affects people who have been exposed to asbestos for years. Epithelioid mesothelioma is the most common type, accounting for 50-70% of all mesothelioma cases.
Key Facts About Epithelioid Mesothelioma
- More than half of all mesothelioma cases are epithelioid.
- Epithelioid mesothelioma has several subtypes.
- People with epithelioid mesothelioma have a median survival of 18 months.
- Epithelial cells grow relatively slowly compared to other cells, meaning that they are easier to treat with surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.
What Is Epithelioid Mesothelioma?
Epithelial cells are the building blocks of our body, forming the lining of your digestive tract, lungs, and skin. They are the primary defense against infection and inflammation in your body. Epithelial cells divide to make new cells when they need to grow and to replace old cells that have died. They line the airway known as the bronchus, which is why they are susceptible to asbestos exposure.
Mesotheliomas are rare cancers that affect the lining of organs in the body. They occur when asbestos fibers are inhaled into the lungs or stomach lining. This causes cells called mesothelial cells to proliferate uncontrollably and damage nearby tissue, which results in tumors called pleural or peritoneal mesotheliomas.
The most common type found in people who have been exposed to asbestos is epithelioid mesothelioma.
What Do Epithelial Cells Look Like?
Epithelial cells may differ in shape and arrangement. They can be arranged in a single layer or multiple layers depending on where they are located in the body.
The cells will usually be one of three basic cell shapes – squamous, cuboidal, or columnar. A squamous epithelial cell appears flat under a microscope. A cuboidal epithelial cell looks similar in shape to a square. A columnar epithelial cell looks like a column or a tall rectangle.
The epithelial cells that line the lungs are a simple epithelium. This means they are only one layer of cells thick. They are squamous, meaning that they appear flat under a microscope.
Epithelioid Mesothelioma Subtypes
Under the umbrella of epithelioid mesothelioma, there are several different subtypes that the cells can be categorized into. The different subtypes of mesothelioma have different growth rates and respond differently to treatments.
Well-Differentiated Papillary Mesothelioma
Well-differentiated papillary mesothelioma (WDPM) is an uncommon mesothelial tumor that occurs in the peritoneum of women over a wide age range. It is most often diagnosed in the age group of 40-70 years old.
Adenomatoid mesothelioma is often misdiagnosed as an adenomatoid tumor. These benign tumors typically cause no symptoms, whereas adenomatoid mesothelioma is a subtype of mesothelioma, meaning that it is malignant.
Small Cell Mesothelioma
Small cell mesothelioma is a rare subtype of epithelioid mesothelioma that was only discovered in 1992. There have been so few cases identified of small cell mesothelioma that research is severely limited.
Some scientists suggest that it is so rare because doctors may miss it in cases where this cell type only makes up part of the tumor, along with other kinds of mesothelioma cells.
What Causes Epithelioid Mesothelioma?
Epithelioid mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos fibers that are inhaled into the body. This can happen during work, home renovation projects, or even during normal everyday activities such as attending school in an older building that contains asbestos. The long-term effects of mesothelioma are usually fatal, and there is no known cure for it.
Asbestos is a mineral that was once common in many building materials. The fibers in asbestos are a known carcinogen, which causes cancer tumors after 20-50 years. When asbestos is inhaled or swallowed, the fibers can get stuck in the body and cause long-term irritation. This irritation can cause the bronchus’s epithelial cells to become inflamed and scarred, eventually mutating into cancerous cells.
Symptoms of Epithelial Mesothelioma
Epithelioid mesothelioma is a rare type of mesothelioma that is often misdiagnosed. It is a rare form of cancer that develops from the lungs, abdomen, or heart lining. These three types are pleural, peritoneal, and pericardial.
- Pleural epithelioid mesothelioma is a form of the disease that affects the lung tissue, and it usually presents with symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, and cough.
- Peritoneal epithelioid mesothelioma affects the abdominal organs and has symptoms such as abdominal swelling, abdominal pain, and bleeding.
- Pericardial epithelioid mesothelioma affects the heart tissue and has symptoms such as chest pain or shortness of breath.
Other symptoms may include:
- heart murmur
- irregular bowel movements
- low appetite
- lumps under the skin on the chest
- nausea or vomiting
- night sweats
- unexpected weight loss
Many of these symptoms are quite generalized, meaning that they could be caused by a lot of different conditions. This sometimes makes it difficult to diagnose epithelioid mesothelioma.
What is the Prognosis for Epithelial Mesothelioma?
Unfortunately, despite being the most treatable form of mesothelioma, the outlook for people with epithelioid mesothelioma is still poor. People with epithelioid mesothelioma have a median survival of 18 months. This is longer than for mesothelioma with other cell types, as epithelioid mesothelioma has the best prognosis out of all the mesothelioma types.
However, a person’s prognosis depends on several factors, such as their health, age, and at what stage the mesothelioma is diagnosed. It also depends on if their epithelioid mesothelioma is made up of a cell of a subtype of mesothelioma.
For example, one small-scale study on small-cell mesothelioma patients found that the median survival was 8.2 months. In contrast, well-differentiated papillary mesothelioma (WDPM) is typically benign and can often be removed entirely.
It has also been suggested that female patients with mesothelioma have a better life expectancy as compared to male patients.
If you have been diagnosed with epithelioid mesothelioma, the best people to advise you on your prognosis are your doctor or medical team. They’ll know more about your individual circumstances.
What are the Treatment Options for Epithelioid Mesothelioma?
If you are diagnosed with epithelioid mesothelioma, the treatment will vary depending on the stage of your disease. However, it is important to know that multiple treatment options are available for this type of cancer.
The most common treatments for this epithelioid mesothelioma include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and immunotherapy.
Treatment often involves a combination of surgery and other treatments. Compared to single-line treatments, research shows that combining these treatments can significantly improve outcomes in epithelioid mesothelioma patients.
Surgery for mesothelioma involves removing as much affected tissue as possible, along with nearby lymph nodes and other impacted parts of the body, where possible.
Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to treat cancer and other diseases. Chemotherapy has been used for many years to treat many cancers, including mesothelioma. Chemotherapy aims to kill cancer cells or stop them from growing.
Radiation therapy is a treatment for mesothelioma that uses high-energy x-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancerous cells and shrink tumors. Radiation therapy can help to relieve symptoms such as pain and breathing difficulties caused by mesothelioma.
Immunotherapy is a new treatment option for mesothelioma patients. It uses our own white blood cells to fight against cancer cells in the body. The idea behind immunotherapy is that our immune system will recognize and attack cancer cells as if they were foreign invaders like bacteria or viruses.
Read on to learn the answers to a number of frequently asked questions regarding epithelioid mesothelioma.
What are epithelial cells?
Epithelial cells are a type of cell that lines the body’s surfaces. They cover our organs, skin, and cavities outside and inside. Epithelial cells are the first line of defense in the body. They are found all over the body, protecting us from germs and other harmful substances.
How do epithelial cells turn into mesothelioma?
This is a complex question, but it can be broken down into a few different steps. First, the cells that make up the epithelial layer of the lungs are exposed to asbestos fibers. The fibers are small enough to enter the cells and cause damage to their DNA. This damage leads to mutations in these cells and, eventually, cancerous cells.
Is epithelioid mesothelioma curable?
Epithelioid mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that is not curable. It usually affects the lining of the lungs and chest. However, some treatments can help to manage symptoms and reduce their impact on a person’s quality of life.
What are the Next Steps for People Diagnosed with Epithelioid Mesothelioma?
Epithelioid mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that can affect many parts of the body but typically affects the lungs and chest cavity. This type of mesothelioma has a comparatively high survival rate, but it still needs to be treated properly to have a good chance of recovery.
The next steps for people diagnosed with epithelioid mesothelioma are to seek medical care and treatment. They should also work closely with their doctors to understand their diagnosis and treatment options.