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Epithelioid Mesothelioma

Epithelioid mesothelioma is the most common type of mesothelioma. It accounts for about 50% to 70% of mesothelioma diagnoses. Patients diagnosed with epithelioid mesothelioma tend to have better life expectancies than with other cell types. They may be eligible for more aggressive treatment options, as well as access to the latest clinical trials. Learn more about epithelioid mesothelioma, as well as your legal rights, with help from an experienced mesothelioma attorney in New York.


Epithelioid Mesothelioma Resources


What Is Epithelioid Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer related almost exclusively to asbestos exposure. Asbestos is a carcinogenic mineral that naturally occurs in the earth, often in close proximity to talc. Epithelioid mesothelioma, also called epithelial mesothelioma, is the most common out of the three mesothelioma cell types: epithelioid, sarcomatoid, and biphasic. It is characterized by square, cubed, flat, or columnar mesothelioma cells clumped in groups. The nucleus of each cell is clearly visible.

Epithelioid Mesothelioma Prognosis

Epithelioid mesothelioma has the most positive prognosis out of all types of malignant mesothelioma. Since the cancer cells are not mobile and stick together in groups, they are less likely to spread (metastasize). Metastasizing is the main reason for poor prognosis with a mesothelioma diagnosis. Once the cancer has spread through other organs and parts of the body, it is more difficult to treat. Epithelioid mesothelioma is the least aggressive form of mesothelioma.

The average patient with epithelioid mesothelioma has a prognosis of about two years from the date of diagnosis. Studies have shown prognoses ranging from an average of 19 months to 55 months. In general, this type of mesothelioma allows patients to live about six months longer than other cell types. A patient’s exact prognosis will depend on many factors unique to him or her, including age, health, sex, and the phase of the cancer.

What Are the Symptoms of Epithelioid Mesothelioma?

All forms of mesothelioma can be difficult to diagnose. Many patients do not recall being exposed to asbestos, as it may have happened 10 to 70 years or more prior to experiencing symptoms. Furthermore, the symptoms of epithelioid mesothelioma can mimic other illnesses or conditions. Epithelioid mesothelioma symptoms can vary according to the individual patient, type of mesothelioma and the stage of the cancer on the date of diagnosis.

  • Respiratory problems
  • Trouble breathing or swallowing
  • Chest or lower back pain
  • Abdominal pain or fullness
  • Persistent cough or coughing up blood
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Low iron or blood oxygen levels
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Lack of appetite and weight loss
  • Swelling in the arms or face
  • Fluid buildup in the chest
  • Constipation

Detecting the signs of epithelioid mesothelioma early can be imperative for treatment and prognosis. Unfortunately, due to the slow spread of epithelioid mesothelioma, many patients do not notice symptoms until the later stages of this disease. This can make treatment more difficult.

How Is Epithelioid Mesothelioma Diagnosed?

A patient presenting symptoms of epithelioid mesothelioma should go to a doctor and describe what he or she is feeling. The doctor will make a list of possible diagnoses and eliminate options using medical tests, such as CT scans, x-rays, MRIs and blood tests. Once the doctor confirms a mesothelioma diagnosis, he or she will use a biopsy to determine the cell type.

The doctor will use a microscope to look for the defining characteristics of different types of mesothelioma cells. The doctor may also use immunohistochemistry to search for markers that differentiate epithelioid mesothelioma from other cell types, such as calretinin and cytokeratin 5-6. Finally, the doctor will diagnose the subtype, if applicable, and the stage of the epithelioid mesothelioma based on how much it has metastasized.

Subtypes of Epithelioid Mesothelioma

A subtype is a variant of epithelioid mesothelioma. This type of cancer has eight possible subtypes. The four most common are tubulopapillary, acinar, adenomatoid and solid mesothelial cell. The four least common are clear cell, small cell, deciduoid and adenoid cystic. The subtype is important to determine, as it can change a patient’s prognosis and treatment options. Some subtypes do not respond to certain treatments, for example, making it necessary to use other routes instead.

Epithelioid Mesothelioma Treatment

Although there is currently no cure for epithelioid mesothelioma, treatments may be available to improve a patient’s quality of life and life expectancy. Like other types of cancer, the two types of treatments most relied upon are surgery to remove cancer cells and radiation therapy to destroy what cells remain.

  • A doctor may recommend a pleurectomy or the removal of some of the tissue that lines the lungs. Another possibility is an extrapleural pneumonectomy – the removal of an entire lung.
  • Chemotherapy and other radiation therapies can help reduce the growth and spread of epithelioid mesothelioma cancer cells, slowing the progression of the cancer and improving life expectancy. Immunotherapy treatments have also shown promise in mesothelioma clinical trials.
  • Palliative treatments. Mesothelioma treatment often focuses on palliative care, or care to improve a patient’s comfort and quality of life. These treatments may include thoracentesis, or the draining of excess fluids from around the lungs to ease breathing.

The best treatment plan for a patient will depend on his or her unique characteristics and mesothelioma cancer type. A patient may or may not be eligible for innovative clinical trials for the treatment of mesothelioma, depending on the case.

Epithelioid Mesothelioma FAQ

Q: What should I know about epithelioid mesothelioma?

A: Epithelioid mesothelioma is the most commonly diagnosed type of mesothelioma. It is also the most treatable cell type, with the best patient prognosis. A patient with epithelioid mesothelioma can have a life expectancy of 2 to 4.5 years or longer. Treatment options include surgery and chemotherapy.

Q: What causes epithelioid mesothelioma? Can I prevent it?

A: The main cause of epithelioid mesothelioma, and all types of mesothelioma, is exposure to asbestos. Exposure may occur in the workplace, from a product containing asbestos or from another source, such as an old building being torn down. You may be able to prevent epithelioid mesothelioma by avoiding known sources of asbestos.

Q: Can I file a lawsuit for epithelioid mesothelioma?

A: Mesothelioma lawsuits aim to hold the person or party responsible for a victim’s exposure to asbestos accountable for related losses. A successful lawsuit could result in payment for your medical bills, funeral and burial expenses, lost wages, and other losses. If you or a loved one has epithelioid mesothelioma, discuss this disease and your legal options with an attorney today.

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