Pericardial mesothelioma is very rare. It occurs as a result of extended exposure to asbestos. This type of mesothelioma is characterized by the growth of cancer cells around the heart.
The pericardium is a fluid filled sac which surrounds the heart. It serves as protection by keeping the heart from being irritated by surrounding membranes and by preventing the heart from overexpansion during increased blood flow.
Pericardial mesothelioma is caused by asbestos fibers which become wedged inside the pericardial fluid. These stuck fibers create scar tissue which then leads to the formation of cancerous cells. As a result, the heart beat becomes irregular and the heart inflamed.
Unfortunately, as is the case with all types of mesothelioma, the disease is often diagnosed in the late stages. This leaves few options for treatment. The treatment options currently used for pericardial mesothelioma are frequently radiation therapy and chemotherapy. These types of treatments are quite effective, but with them runs a risk of damaging healthy cells while ridding the body of the unhealthy cells. Surgery is also sometimes used to remove cancer cells.