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Papillary Mesothelioma

Papillary mesothelioma (also called well-differentiated papillary mesothelioma or WDPM) is a type of cancer most commonly found in the lining of the abdomen, called the peritoneum. Although some patients diagnosed with papillary mesothelioma were exposed to asbestos, the two are not definitively linked. Some patients with papillary mesothelioma do not have particles of asbestos detected in their tissue samples. The precise cause of papillary mesothelioma remains a mystery. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with papillary mesothelioma, you may be entitled to significant compensation. Contact a skilled New York mesothelioma attorney at The Williams Law Firm, P.C. to schedule a free consultation to learn your legal options.

Papillary Mesothelioma Resources

What Is Papillary Mesothelioma?

Papillary mesothelioma is a disease that can cause tumors in the peritoneum, the pleura (lining of the lungs) and the tunica vaginalis (lining of the testicles). It is a rare subtype of epithelioid mesothelioma, which is caused by asbestos – a dangerous mineral that is a known carcinogen.

Papillary mesothelioma may come from a patient inhaling or ingesting asbestos; however, it may have other causes, as well, and has been linked to risk factors such as pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis and surgeries.

Not many cases of papillary mesothelioma are diagnosed each year; however, the number of cases has been increasing. Although papillary mesothelioma can occur in both men and women, young women of reproductive age are the most commonly diagnosed.

Most cases of well-differentiated papillary mesothelioma are benign (noncancerous), which come with more positive prognoses. It is possible for benign papillary mesothelioma to turn into malignant tumors, however.

Papillary Mesothelioma Prognosis

The prognosis for a patient with papillary mesothelioma is generally positive, although each patient is unique. Some survive 20 years or more from the date of diagnosis. The median survival rate with papillary mesothelioma of the pleura is 6 years and 2 months, while it increases to 12 years for papillary mesothelioma of the peritoneum.

Although some studies find that just 5% to 10% of patients with malignant papillary mesothelioma survive for five years or longer, many patients have survived for decades. One study looked at the outcomes of patients with malignant papillary mesothelioma and found that, when treated with surgery and hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy, 79.7% of test subjects reported five years progression-free.

The outlook for survival is generally good for most patients with well-differentiated papillary mesothelioma – especially when compared to the prognoses for patients with other types of mesothelioma. Despite overall positive outcomes, however, patients should be aware that the rarity of this disease makes it impossible to calculate an average prognosis. Each patient’s outcome will be different based on the type and severity of the disease, as well as the patient’s individual response to treatments.

What Are the Symptoms of Papillary Mesothelioma?

Papillary mesothelioma is asymptomatic in nature, meaning most patients who are diagnosed with papillary mesothelioma do not exhibit any symptoms. It is often unintentionally found during tests or surgeries for other health conditions. However, some patients do notice certain symptoms connected to this disease, often related to an excessive buildup of fluid in the pleura or abdomen over time.

  • Acute abdominal pain
  • Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
  • Lasting (chronic) pelvic pain
  • Swelling in the lower extremities
  • Scrotal swelling
  • Testicular lumps

The primary characteristics of papillary mesothelioma can make it difficult to diagnose, as these characteristics often do not cause noticeable symptoms. Its traits include low-grade cancer cells that resemble healthy cells, cancer that does not metastasize (spread throughout the body), cells with finger-like projections, cells that do not divide, and tumors that range in size from less than one to more than three centimeters. Papillary mesothelioma tumors are less than one centimeter in more than 50% of cases.

How Is Papillary Mesothelioma Diagnosed?

Diagnosing papillary mesothelioma can be difficult, as many patients do not notice any symptoms of this disease, or their symptoms are not severe enough to cause concern. If someone does visit a physician for symptoms in line with papillary mesothelioma, a doctor will begin the checkup with a physical examination to search for potential signs, such as swelling.

Then, the doctor will use imaging technology, such as x-rays, MRIs or PET scans to look for abnormal tissues or growths that may be tumors. These scans can identify the presence, size, location and progression of any tumors.

If the doctor discovers anything unusual during the imaging scans and tests, he or she will take a biopsy, or tissue sample, to send in for testing. A pathologist will examine the sample under a microscope to confirm the papillary mesothelioma diagnosis as well as determine whether it is benign or malignant.

Papillary Mesothelioma Misdiagnosis

Papillary mesothelioma is a commonly misdiagnosed disease due to its rare nature and lack of symptoms. Even with a tissue biopsy, it can be possible to misdiagnose papillary mesothelioma as a different health condition. A doctor may fail to diagnose a patient with papillary mesothelioma completely, or mistakenly give the wrong diagnosis.

Common misdiagnoses for papillary mesothelioma include another type of papillary cancer, an adenomatoid tumor, reactive mesothelial hyperplasia and tuberculous peritonitis. A papillary mesothelioma misdiagnosis can get in the way of a patient’s treatment and recovery. A doctor will not be able to suggest the correct treatment plan, such as surgery or chemotherapy, until he or she comes to the correct diagnosis.

Papillary Mesothelioma Treatment

If a patient’s papillary mesothelioma is benign, surgery to remove the tumor is often all that is necessary for treatment. The patient will not need to follow up with chemotherapy since the tumor was not cancerous and did not spread throughout the body. Malignant mesothelioma, however, requires additional treatments to destroy any remaining cancer cells.

In scientific tests and studies, patients with malignant papillary mesothelioma appear to respond best to a combination of both surgery and chemotherapy. This combination is generally effective at removing the cancerous tumors, controlling the spread of cancer cells and reducing the chances of recurrence in patients with papillary mesothelioma.

However, some papillary mesothelioma specialists believe chemotherapy and other radiation treatments should only be used when necessary, as they could damage healthy tissues. Your medical professional will work closely with you to create a personalized treatment plan for your unique condition and needs.

Can You File a Lawsuit for Papillary Mesothelioma?

If you can establish a direct connection between your papillary mesothelioma diagnosis and exposure to asbestos, you may have grounds to file a lawsuit against the party responsible for the exposure. You may be able to hold an old employer accountable, for example, for forcing you to work with or near asbestos without the proper protective gear. For more information, consult with a mesothelioma lawyer near you as soon as possible.