Types of Mesothelioma
Information from Our Knowledgeable New York Mesothelioma Lawyer
The term mesothelioma applies to various types of this deadly cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos. Asbestos is a heat-resistant compound that has been used for over a century in a variety of fields including roofing, insulation, HVAC, ships, and more. While the government has warned us that asbestos fibers could be harmful to those that inhale them for decades, many companies did not take steps to properly protect their workers and their families. Because of this, there may be significant compensation for those diagnosed with mesothelioma.
The Williams Law Firm, P.C. understands the far-reaching impacts of mesothelioma on victims and their family members. Mr. Williams is an aggressive and knowledgeable advocate for asbestos exposure victims, and he has extensive success in helping mesothelioma victims and their families across the United States recover the financial security they need for medical care and peace of mind.
Interested in learning more about your legal options during this difficult time? Contact our offices at (855) 971-0343 today.
Common Types of Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is a preventable but fatal form of cancer that develops in the protective membrane known as the mesothelium, a layer of tissue that covers most internal organs. Mesothelioma is the result of asbestos exposure, and the individual types of mesothelioma are named for specific mesothelium in which the cancer exists.
Learn more about these types of Mesothelioma below, including:
- Pleural Mesothelioma
- Peritoneal Mesothelioma
- Pericardial Mesothelioma
- Testicular Mesothelioma
- The Dangers of Mesothelioma
- Mesothelioma Treatment
Pleural mesothelioma is the most common type of mesothelioma. Pleural mesothelioma develops in the pleura-- two layers of the protective tissue known as mesothelium that surround the lungs-- and is caused by asbestos exposure. The particles from asbestos fibers are difficult for the body to filter and, with progressive exposure these asbestos particulates accumulate in the pleura, they often lead to inflammation and scarring.
Over time, the asbestos particles contribute to genetic changes in the cellular makeup of the pleura, causing the cells to become cancerous. As mesothelioma tumors form, fluid begins to build up between the layers of pleura, which puts pressure on the lungs and results in chest pain and impaired breathing. Learn more about symptoms here.
Pleural mesothelioma accounts for approximately three-quarters of all mesothelioma cases. Although mesothelioma tumors tend to spread throughout the body, they most often originate in the pleura.
Your peritoneum is the thin membrane that lines your abdominal cavity and helps lubricate internal organs, allowing them to contract and expand within their normal function. Peritoneal mesothelioma is one of the rarest types of mesothelioma, a deadly form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure.
Peritoneal mesothelioma initially causes a gradual thickening of the peritoneum. As the disease progresses, a buildup of fluids and/or mesothelioma tumors develop, placing pressure on the internal organs and producing significant abdominal pain.
Like all types of mesothelioma, peritoneal mesothelioma is a direct result of asbestos exposure and generally has a latency period of about 20 to 50 years. Perhaps due to the latency period, peritoneal mesothelioma is often mistaken in its early stages for minor abdominal issues or a hernia. If you have been exposed to asbestos at any point in your life, it is important to be aware of this condition and to talk to your doctor immediately if you begin to develop symptoms of this disease.
Accounting for only about one percent of all mesothelioma diagnoses, pericardial mesothelioma is the rarest form of this cancer caused by asbestos exposure.
Your pericardium in the dual-layered membrane that surrounds your heart. It is responsible for lubricating the heart as well as preventing excessive dilation, protecting against infection and limiting heart movement. Linked to asbestos exposure, pericardial mesothelioma affects twice as many men as women and is often not diagnosed unit the disease is in an advanced stage.
While these symptoms are common with various other physical disorders and diseases, if you have been exposed to asbestos at any time in your life it is important to talk to your doctor if these symptoms occur. It can take decades, sometimes upward of 50 years, for pericardial mesothelioma to exhibit symptoms. Although there is no cure for pericardial mesothelioma, it is possible to extend life expectancy and improve quality of life with early detection and treatment.
Testicular mesothelioma is the rarest form of mesothelioma. The rarity of this disease does not, however, make testicular mesothelioma any less deadly or life altering than all other types of mesothelioma. If you have been diagnosed with testicular mesothelioma, a New York asbestos-exposure attorney from our firm can help.
Just as pleural mesothelioma may be misdiagnosed as another form of lung cancer, testicular mesothelioma is often confused with other medical conditions. This makes getting an exact count on the number of individuals who have previously and are currently suffering from it all the more difficult. However, when properly diagnosed, patients with testicular mesothelioma typically have a slightly better prognosis than those with pleural or peritoneal mesothelioma—20 months or longer with proper treatment such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.
Symptoms of testicular mesothelioma may include:
- Pain and swelling in the testicles
- Fluid buildup in the scrotum
- An abnormal lump inside of the testicular sac
These symptoms may be similar to several other illnesses and diseases, making it important that proper diagnostic tools are used. When talking to your healthcare provider, it is important to remember that asbestos exposure is the only known cause of mesothelioma. Men who have been exposed to the substance through work or other means should inform their doctors right away should any of the symptoms of this disease become present. Properly diagnosing mesothelioma is essential for life-extending treatments.
The Dangers of Mesothelioma
All types of mesothelioma have a long latency period, which means mesothelioma symptoms are often not evident for upward of 25 or more years until the disease has progressed to an advanced stage. Complicating mesothelioma diagnosis and treatment is the fact that many preliminary symptoms are shared by other medical conditions. Because of this, it can often go undiagnosed for years, even decades, leaving the sufferer worse off by the time they get treatment.
Mesothelioma treatment is most effective when the disease is caught early on. Stage 1 mesothelioma may initially focus on surgical options such as a peritonectomy to remove abdominal malignancies. For more advanced stages, cytoreductive surgery, in which multiple surgeries are used to remove parts of the abdomen and gall bladder, may also be used.
Both of these procedures must be combined with chemotherapy to control the spread of the cancer as well as improve life expectancy and quality of life. Unfortunately, mesothelioma is often not diagnosed until the cancer is in an advanced stage, rendering curative treatments ineffective.
There are many trials and experimental drugs that are currently being tested to see if they have any effect on mesothelioma cancer cells, but thus far, nothing has come to be considered better than chemotherapy and radiation. Learn more about mesothelioma treatment here.
If you or a family member suffers from mesothelioma, use our online form to request a free case evaluation with us today.