Types of Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma Basic Terms

Let's first go back to basic terms associated with mesothelioma. Basically, every cancer, starts from the tumor mass in our bodies.A tumor is caused by body tissues that grow to form an abnormal mass. There are two basic types of tumors.

  • Benign type is a non-cancerous type of tumor.
  • Malignant is a cancerous type of tumor.

Mesothelioma Cancer TypesThe terms tumor and cancer are sometimes used synonymously which can be misleading. A tumor does not necessarily mean a cancer. The term tumor simply refers to a mass. It is helpful to keep these distinctions clear when we are discussing a possible cancer diagnosis.
The term cancer refers to a new growth which will invade surrounding tissues, metastasize (spread to other organs) and may lead to the patient's death if untreated. The word cancer in Latine means crab. Like a cancer, a crab grabs onto something and will not let go.

Benign Mesothelioma is a tumor usually localized in the mesothelial layer around the lungs, heart, stomach or elsewhere in the abdomen and grows larger. However, it is not cancerous and rarely spreads to nearby tissues or other body areas. Benign mesothelioma symptoms are often similar to those of other types of mesothelioma. Treatment for benign mesothelioma tumor is usually surgery. The tumor responds very well to treatment. However, if left untreated, it can lead to a serious disease.

Malignant mesothelioma is a general term that means the mesothelioma is a cancerous type. All forms of cancer are malignant.

Based on cancerous cell types, mesothelioma is mainly classified into epithelioid, sacromatoid and mixed/biphasic.

  • Epithelioid mesothelioma type is the most common form of mesothelioma cancer cells and accounts for about 50-70 percent of all people diagnosed with mesothelioma. It has the most positive prognosis (chance of recovery) among all other types, because it may grow slower and is more likely to respond to treatment. This form of mesothelioma targets the thin membrane surrounding the body's internal organs and surfaces.
  • Sarcomatoid mesothelioma type is more aggressive and affects the body's secondary tissues - muscles, bones, fats and cartilage. It is found in about 7-20 percent of all mesothelioma cases and has a worse prognosis. It generally does not respond well to therapy.
  • Mixed / biphasic mesothelioma type accounts for approximately 25-30 percent of all diagnosed mesothelioma cases and contains both sarcomatoid and epithelioid types. This mesothelioma type has an intermediate prognosis.

Mesothelioma Classification By Body Parts

Another classification of mesothelioma cancer is based on the areas /parts of the body affected by the disease . There are four main types of mesothelioma.

Pleural mesothelioma

This type of mesothelioma cancer is the most common since it affects the pleural region of the chest cavity. Pleural Mesothelioma cancer makes up nearly 75 percent of all Mesothelioma diagnosed cases. This disease usually strikes the pleural cavity located between the thin membranes surrounding the lungs, causes pressure on it and trouble breathing as fluid builds in the chest cavity and the pleural lining thickens. That diminishes the lungs' air capacity and normal contraction and expansion functions.

Peritoneal mesothelioma

Another, second most common type of mesothelioma cancer is the peritoneal mesothelioma cancer, accounts around 20 percent of all mesothelioma cases. This disease affects the peritoneum lining of the abdominal cavity, gastrointestinal tract, bowel, liver and spleen, causing a build up of fluid in the abdominal cavity as cancerous cells spread. The lining surrounding vital organs in the abdominal area cannot function normaly and patients who suffers from peritoneal Mesothelioma cancer can experience symptoms of pain or swelling in the abdomen, anemia, breathing difficulty, blood clotting, or restriction of properly bodily functions like digestion and bowel movements.

Pericardial mesothelioma

Pericardial mesothelioma is the rarest type of the three main mesothelioma cancers and affects the pericardium, the protective sac that covers the heart and the major arteries and veins. The pericardium normaly provides constant lubrication so that the heart can function properly. Pericardial mesothelioma is more rare than pleural or peritoneal mesothelioma forms, but it is in the same time more dangerous. Often this type of mesothelioma cancer is discovered too late for treatment, and even when detected early only few treatment methods exist. Symptoms include coughing, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat and chest pains .

Testicular mesothelioma

Testicular mesothelioma cancer, has been reported in less than 100 cases. Unfortunately, this means that there are no common symptoms reported across these cases. Discovering lumps on the testicles and the swelling of the scrotum often lead to a testicular mesothelioma diagnosis.

Early detection of Mesothelioma is very important

All types of mesothelioma are hard to detect during their early stages of the disease, so the earlier that mesothelioma is detected, the more treatment options are available. Early detection can provide quicker treatment and disease management, as well as the greatest chance at a better quality of life. All types of mesothelioma cancers are very difficult to diagnose, in a large part because they mimic the normal symptoms of other more common diseases. Surgery is typically performed to remove the cancerous mass. Patients may also undergo radiation and chemotherapy to reduce or eliminate the remaining cancer mass, although in many cases the mesothelioma is deeply entrenched in the tissue and cannot be completely removed.

There are some other forms of mesothelioma, which are very rare, such as Papillary mesothelioma. Deciduoid mesothelioma, cystic mesothelioma, etc.

We will present them in the next few articles.

If you have mesothelioma cancer or another asbestos disease, and if you are considering starting a mesothelioma lawsuit then you need attorney. Before making this decision, you may want to contact several attorneys or law firms to gather some comparative information. You can find mesothelioma attorneys by state in our attorneys directory or you can read some of profiles of experienced and proven mesothelioma attorneys.


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