Malignant Versus Benign Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is one of the diseases that are related to asbestos exposure, most of the time the type of mesothelioma seen is the Malignant Mesothelioma. However rarely mesothelioma victims can develop a milder tumor called Benign Mesothelioma. Although both are tumor diseases that are caused by exposure to asbestos, there are marked differences between the two types of mesothelioma:

- Benign Mesothelioma has a short latency period in contrast to the malignant type which typically has a very long latency period. The symptoms of the malignant variant show up about 20 -50 years after exposure to asbestos while the symptoms of the benign type show up few years after exposure.-

- Tumors cells of the malignant type can invade nearby tissues and organs causing serious damage while tumor cells of the benign type do not invade nearby tissue and cells.

- Tumor cells from the malignant mesothelioma can spread {metastases}via blood stream or lymphatic to distant locations in the body to cause various serious complications while tumor cells of the benign type do not spread to distant locations, they remain localized to their primary site. -

- Although both forms of mesothelioma share the symptoms of cough, chest pain and difficulty in breathing , the malignant type also presents with other symptoms like fever, weight loss, night sweats, anemia amongst others.-

- Imaging tests like chest x-ray, MRI scan and CT scans are used to diagnose both the malignant and benign form of the disease.

- Benign Mesothelioma is treated by surgery alone while malignant mesothelioma is treated by different modes of treatment including surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy.-

- The benign form mesothelioma responds very well to treatment with about 90% of treated cases resolving completely with nil re occurrence of symptoms unlike the malignant form which has a very poor rate of recovery with only about 9 - 10 % of cases surviving up to 5 years even after receiving the best treatment.

Bello Kamorudeen.


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