Pathophysiology: Mesothelioma is a cancer which affects the membrane lining of the lungs and abdomen. It is most commonly caused by exposure to asbestos. The most common anatomical site for mesothelioma is the pleura (the outer lining of the lungs and internal chest wall), but it can also arise in the peritoneum (the lining of the abdominal cavity), the pericardium (the sac that surrounds the heart), or the tunica vaginalis (a sac that surrounds the testis). Once fibers cause biological damage, the stage is set for the decades-long latency period for the development of malignant mesothelioma.
Signs & Symptoms: Mesothelioma signs may not appear until 20 to 50 years (or more) after exposure to asbestos. The most common symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma are abdominal swelling and pain due to ascites (a buildup of fluid in the abdominal cavity). Other features may include weight loss, fever, night sweats, poor appetite, vomiting, constipation, and umbilical hernia. If the cancer has spread beyond the mesothelium to other parts of the body, symptoms may include pain, trouble swallowing, or swelling of the neck or face.
Statistics: From 1989 to 1998, a total of 1647 pleural cancer related deaths were registered in Spain. Cases were registered in only 601 towns and cities. The majority of towns without cases had fewer than 3500 inhabitants. Using these data, an acceptable computation time, and conventional computers, we were able to compile and ascertain the posterior distribution of relative risk on the basis of a single spatial model that included all of Spain’s 8077 towns and cities and the 47 916 adjacencies existing between them. Convergence of the estimators was achieved before 100 000 iterations.