Currently, all types of mesothelioma cancers comprise of one percent of the total cancer diagnoses, though the medical community expects that number to increase rapidly over the next couple of decades. With prolonged and persistent asbestos or erionite exposure, the particles can become attached to the mesothelium or lining of the internal organs and incubate over decades. However, there are rare mesothelioma cancer diagnoses where asbestos exposure was not present in an individual’s history.
There are three types of mesothelioma cancer, and the type depends on the nature of the asbestos exposure and what mesothelium is affected. If asbestos particles are inhaled and become lodged in the mesothelium of the lungs, an individual may eventually develop pleural mesothelioma. With this form of mesothelioma cancer, the lungs are affected, and if the cancer metastasizes, other adjacent organs may become cancerous.
The second most common form of mesothelioma cancer affects the lining of the abdominal cavity, known as peritoneal mesothelioma. In this case, asbestos particles are inhaled or unintentionally ingested and become attached to the mesothelium of the abdomen. Pericardial mesothelioma is the rarest form of mesothelioma cancer, where the mesothelium or sac encasing the heart is affected.
Since the abdomen and adjacent organs are affected with peritoneal mesothelioma, nausea and vomiting caused by nausea is a common, often primary complaint, along with increased abdominal pain. In most cases of pleural mesothelioma and pericardial mesothelioma, nausea and vomiting are not as common, but can be present as a secondary symptom.
If an individual begins to have regular, consistent bouts of nausea, it is critical to immediately figure out the source. Nausea is a common symptom of many gastrointestinal conditions including food poisoning or a stomach infection. For individuals presenting nausea along with other symptoms of mesothelioma cancer, a medical examination is necessary to rule out other possible conditions.
In either pleural or peritoneal mesothelioma, nausea may be an acute or chronic condition. Acute nausea has a quick onset and may not be persistent or regular. Acute nausea may progress into a chronic symptom, where nausea is unrelenting and continuous. With some individuals, nausea may cause vomiting and difficulty eating. Some individuals may even experience loss of appetite because of chronic nausea. Management of nausea and other related symptoms of mesothelioma are critical to the overall health, vitality and prognosis of an individual.
As with all symptoms of mesothelioma, individuals may experience several symptoms concurrently or new symptoms may arise. Further, most of the symptoms associated with mesothelioma cancers are interconnected; nausea may cause weight loss or dysphagia may heighten nausea symptoms. Risks of nausea include dehydration, loss of appetite and weight loss. Any side effect of nausea should also be treated to not exacerbate the condition.
One of the most common symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma is nausea and may be caused by the new, additional pressure placed on the stomach and abdomen by carcinogenetic cells in the mesothelium.
With all malignant mesothelioma cancers, in some individuals, nausea may be caused by chest, abdominal or heart pain. Severe pain may cause some individuals to become nauseous and often can cause vomiting.
For individuals experiencing nausea, it is important to monitor the totality of the symptoms and duration. Nausea may progress from acute and intermittent to chronic and constant. Any pain associated with bouts of nausea should also be noted, for it may signal other more serious, underlying conditions, like mesothelioma.
Nausea is a common and important symptom of peritoneal mesothelioma, and progression of the nausea may indicate metastasized cells invading other organs. Cases of all types of mesothelioma cancer may peak in the next several decades because of the long latency period that characterizes the disease. Fortunately, the medical community continues to make important progress in the diagnosis and treatment of mesothelioma cancer.
The prognosis for malignant mesothelioma continues to improve, along with all of the other advancements stemming from the on-going research.
If nausea becomes persistent, painful and interrupts daily life, seek medical attention. Other, more common ailments may be the cause of the nausea, though it is sometimes a symptom of a much more serious disease.
American Cancer Society. Malignant Mesothelioma Overview. Accessed on November 8, 2010.
National Cancer Institute. Mesothelioma: Questions and Answers. Accessed on November 8, 2010.
Alastair J. Moore, Robert J. Parker and John Wiggins. Department of Respiratory Medicine, Wexham Park Hospital, United Kingdom. Malignant Mesothelioma. December 19, 2008 Accessed on November 9, 2010.
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Accessed on November 8, 2010.