Sarcomatoid mesothelioma is a specific type of mesothelioma that affects the lining of the lungs. Like with all types of mesothelioma, this is caused by asbestos exposure. The cells of this type are very distinctive and easy to identify due to their long spindle shape.
The Aggression of Sarcomatoid Cells
This is a rare type of cancer with cancerous cells that are produced due to inflammation caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibers. These cells then mutate and form into sarcomatoid mesothelioma.
This cancer is located in the pleural membrane, which is the lining of the lungs. This incredibly aggressive form of cancer has a prognosis of only 6 months after diagnosis. It can be treated with chemotherapy, radiation and immunotherapy, but is usually too far advanced for surgery. In some cases, surgery may be possible.
Diagnosing Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma has many symptoms that are similar to other, less serious medical problems and illnesses. This fact makes it difficult to properly diagnose mesothelioma in general and it is often misdiagnosed as a myriad of other health conditions.
Sarcomatoid mesothelioma can now be more accurately detected with a new approach from a 2018 study. This study was 100% accurate in distinguishing sarcomatoid cells from other cancerous cells.
A doctor will not jump straight into this test. First, your doctor will use traditional methods such as imaging scans. These could be MRIs, CT and PET scans. The scans are used to identify tumors in the body.
If a tumor is found, your doctor will order a biopsy. A biopsy is when they take a small sample of the potentially cancerous cells to test if they are indeed cancerous.
There are several typical misdiagnoses, particularly of other types of related cancer. These other types of cancer include pleural liposarcoma, fibrous pleurisy or pleuritis, sarcoma or fibrosarcoma, malignant fibrous histiocytoma, renal cell carcinoma, or a solitary fibrous tumor.
Symptoms of Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma
There are many troubling symptoms of sarcomatoid mesothelioma that make it clear how this disease could be mistaken for other illnesses.
Some of these symptoms include but are not limited to shortness of breath, prolonged hoarseness, persistent cough, coughing up blood, low blood oxygen levels, anemia, weight loss and weakness, feeling of abdominal fullness, lack of appetite, and extreme tiredness.
Many of these symptoms could indicate other issues, so it is incredibly important to let your doctor know if you have a history of asbestos exposure or if you have ever lived with anyone who has prolonged asbestos exposure.
This will help your doctor rule out other illnesses and make sure they fully test you.