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Pericardial mesothelioma is the rarest form of the three main forms of mesothelioma, affecting the protective layer covering the heart. Exposure to asbestos is the main cause of this condition. It is not clearly understood how these tiny fibers make their way to the pericardium.
Pericardial mesothelioma has non-specific symptoms that can indicate other heart conditions with less serious complications. Patients may experience persistent cough, heart murmurs, extreme fatigue, irregular heartbeat, night sweats, shortness of breath, chest pain, and heart attack.
If a patient is diagnosed with pericardial mesothelioma, the doctor will recommend surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy. Surgery removes the pericardial tissue affected by cancer, or other organs where tumors are located. Mesothelioma doctors often use a combination of treatments that remove the fluid around the heart and alleviate pain. The available treatment options depend on how far the cancer has progressed. If the cancer is detected in early stages, doctors will remove cancerous tissue. However, this rare form of cancer is often diagnosed in advanced stages. A limited number of patients are eligible for surgery.
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