Mesothelioma is a rare cancer which usually occurs on the outer surface of the lungs, and most who are diagnosed have been in prolonged contact with asbestos, although it can occur in those who have never been exposed .

Mesothelioma cancer occurs in the cells surrounding the organs, called the mesothelial cells and there are 3 types of cancerous mesothelial cells, Epitheliod, Sacromatoid and Biphasic, and Mesothelioma patients can have one or more of these types of cell present.

The most common of the three types are Epitheliod, and they make up around 50-70% of malignant mesothelioma cells. They are usually formed in a uniform tubular patterm, with the actually cells adopting a box or cube like shape.

Due to the fact they are similar in appearance to adenocarinoma cells , Epitheliod cells are often misdiagnosed, but if the two are viewed through a high powered microscope then the differences are more apparent.

Biphasic Mesothelioma cells are less common than epitheliod, but more common than the sacromatoid cells. They account for around twenty to forty percent of mesothelioma cells and are a combination of the two other kinds. Biphasic cells frequently occur when the other two types of cells are present in a tumour and are able to combine continuously.

The last type, sacromatoid mesothelioma cells, are least common of the three, only making up on average between ten and fifteen percent of mesothelioma cells. These cells have an irregular oval shape where the nucleus is not visible, which makes them difficult to tell apart from the more common sarcoma cells.

Whichever cells are present in the mesothelioma cancer the treatment options are very similar, with traditional methods including surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy. In recent years there has also been further research into less traditional methods, and there is a strong feeling that these will succeed where the traditional methods have failed in the past.

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