Pericardial Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer that affects the lining around the heart (the pericardium). This form of cancer is extremely rare, impacting less than 1% of all mesothelioma cases. Like all other forms of malignant mesothelioma, experts believe that asbestos is the cause of pericardial mesothelioma. Asbestos is a carcinogenic fire-retardant material that was commonly used in industrial, construction, and military contexts until the late 1980s.
Scientists believe that the microscopic asbestos fibers penetrate the lungs first, and then these tiny fibers travel through the lymphatic system to other vital organs, including the heart. In some instances, pleural mesothelioma may attach to the chest wall, and then spread to the lining of the heart. The symptoms of this condition only become apparent in its later stages, which makes this a particularly difficult form of mesothelioma to cure. Symptoms are often caused by a buildup of fluid around the heart, which thickens the layers of the membrane.
Difficulty breathing (dyspnea), irregular heartbeats or palpitations (arrhythmia), cough, chest pain, general fatigue, and night sweats are just some of the symptoms caused by pericardial mesothelioma. Unfortunately, these symptoms are shared with other medical conditions, which can make pericardial mesothelioma even more difficult to properly diagnose.