Types of Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is commonly associated with the lungs because the most common type, pleural mesothelioma, affects the lining around the lungs. However, there are actually four distinct mesothelioma types: pleural, peritoneal, pericardial, and testicular.
Medically Reviewed By:
Patricia Shelton, M.D.
Medically Reviewed By:Patricia Shelton, M.D.
Mesothelioma is cancer of the mesothelium, the thin, clear membrane around each internal organ. Mesothelioma is aggressive, difficult to treat, and associated with a poor prognosis. The life expectancy varies based on the type of mesothelioma with which you have been diagnosed.
The four primary mesothelioma types are defined by the initial location of mesothelioma in the body—generally the linings surrounding the lungs, stomach, heart, or testicles.
Pleural mesothelioma is cancer of the pleura, the membrane surrounding the lungs. It is the most common form of mesothelioma, accounting for 80 to 85 percent of cases, according to Lung Cancer International.
Most patients live just six months without treatment. Even with treatment, remission is rare. The median survival rate is approximately 15 to 22 months. The most common initial symptoms include chest pain, coughing, and shortness of breath.
Peritoneal mesothelioma is cancer of the peritoneum, the lining around the stomach. Peritoneal mesothelioma accounts for ten to 15 percent of mesothelioma cases. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, bowel problems, abdominal pain, and weight loss.
Without treatment, the life expectancy is only a few months. However, patients who undergo surgery and receive hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy have a significantly higher median survival time of 34 to 92 months. During this procedure, chemotherapy drugs are heated and infused into the abdominal cavity.
About 50 percent of patients are eligible for this procedure. Those who cannot have this procedure have other treatment options, such as systemic chemotherapy.
Pericardial mesothelioma is an extremely rare form of the disease, accounting for less than one percent of cases. It begins in the pericardium, the membrane surrounding the heart. Symptoms include chest pain, shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat, and leg swelling.
This form of mesothelioma has an especially poor prognosis, with an overall life expectancy of 5.6 months. Treatment options include surgery and systemic chemotherapy, which may increase survival to 13 months.
Testicular mesothelioma is also known as mesothelioma of the tunica vaginalis, which is the membrane surrounding the testicles. It is extremely rare, representing less than one percent of all cases. Symptoms include fluid buildup in the scrotum, a swollen testicle, and a mass in the scrotum.
The prognosis for this form of mesothelioma is better than the other types, with an average life expectancy of two years. Nearly half of patients live longer than five years, and a third live at least ten years. Treatment options include removal of the affected testicle, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy.
Mesothelioma Cell Types
Mesothelioma is further classified according to three cell types, any of which may occur in all four mesothelioma types. These cell types include the following:
The epithelial cell type is the least aggressive form and the most responsive to treatment. Fortunately, it is also the most common. The sarcomatoid cell type is the most aggressive type with the lowest treatment response. This type is generally considered inoperable. Biphasic mesothelioma is a combination of epithelial and sarcomatoid mesothelioma. It may be operable if it has more epithelial cells.
Have You Been Diagnosed with Mesothelioma?
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you need medical treatment as soon as possible. Because of the aggressive nature of this disease, mesothelioma treatment is urgent to increase life expectancy and manage your symptoms.
A mesothelioma diagnosis indicates that you have been exposed to asbestos in the preceding 10 to 60 years. The asbestos industry knew the product was harmful but concealed this information from the public to protect profits. As a result, you may be entitled to substantial compensation. If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact the Lanier Law Firm today for a free case evaluation.