After you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma, your next move will likely be to consider treatment. Knowing the type of mesothelioma you have can give some insight into the prognosis and treatment you’ll receive. The different types of mesothelioma affect different parts of the body. At Frost Law Firm, PC, we’ve helped clients who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and are familiar with the various ways the cancer can develop. Let’s look into the types of mesothelioma and how our law firm can help you.
What Are the Different Types of Mesothelioma?
When analyzing the types of mesothelioma, the categories come from where the cancer grows and the type of cancer cell. This can result in the cancer residing in different areas of the body, which will influence how the cancer affects you. After exposure, it can take years for the cancer cells to start growing. When they do, however, they begin to line the outside of organs in thin layers. First, let’s look at four main types of mesothelioma.
The most common form of mesothelioma, pleural mesothelioma occurs when the cancer cells grow in the lungs’ lining—known as the pleura. While the pleura’s function is to help your lungs move as you breathe, the cancerous cells begin to inhibit this movement. When you breathe in asbestos fibers, the fibers reach the lung area and stay there.
As the tumors develop in the lining of the lungs and chest cavity, you may start to notice symptoms like coughing, shortness of breath, chest pain, and more. According to the American Cancer Society, more than three out of four mesotheliomas are pleural.
While pleural is the most common type, peritoneal mesothelioma typically makes up for the remainder of cases. This type of cancer affects the abdominal area and comes from swallowing asbestos fibers. The fibers get into the digestive system and begin to do damage. It’s also possible for inhaled fibers to travel through the body and settle in the abdominal area.
As the pleura lines the lungs, the peritoneum lines the inside of the abdomen and the organs in that area. Tumors could appear in the following organs:
There are a few common symptoms that can suggest peritoneal mesothelioma. If you notice these symptoms, it’s imperative to see a doctor as soon as possible.
This form of mesothelioma is rare and has a poor prognosis, as it affects the heart. The pericardium covers the heart as well as the space surrounding it. When tumors begin to grow there, those with this disease can experience serious symptoms.
Unfortunately, pericardial mesothelioma is difficult to diagnose. This means that during the early stages, patients may not be treating it as they don’t have a diagnosis or plan in place. When they receive the diagnosis, the pericardial mesothelioma may have progressed to the point where it has spread.
Testicular mesothelioma is the rarest and occurs when mesothelioma develops in the testes’ lining, called the tunica vaginalis. With treatment, the prognosis is comparatively better than pericardial mesothelioma, as people can live more than two years after they receive their diagnosis.
Because this type of mesothelioma is so rare, the topic doesn’t have as much research as the other forms of mesothelioma. For example, while most cases of mesothelioma are linked to asbestos exposure, it’s unclear what causes testicular mesothelioma. Injuries or issues with the testicular area in the past may play a part, but there is still little definitive research to make these conclusions.
Other Types of Mesothelioma by Cell Type
Mesothelioma can present in different types of cells. Some of these cells are more aggressive than others. The type of cell may give information on what treatment you’ll need and what you may be able to expect from the treatment. Mesothelioma has three different kinds of cells.
This type of cell is the most common. These tumors account for about 60% of mesothelioma diagnoses. Those who have epithelioid cells have the longest life expectancy, as these cells are more likely to respond to treatment. It should be noted, however, that treatment may prolong life expectancy, but there is no cure for mesothelioma.
Sarcomatoid cells typically respond poorly to treatment and metastasize quickly, which means they can spread throughout the body. When someone has cancer with sarcomatoid cells, they typically have a short life expectancy.
This kind of cell type is the second most common. The cells can be a combination of both epithelioid and sarcomatoid cells, making the cells biphasic. The ratio of the types of cells can vary from patient to patient and each case will be different. When the doctor is making a prognosis, they’ll see which cell type shows up more. So, if a patient has more epithelioid cells, it’s likely their prognosis will be longer than if there were more sarcomatoid cells.
Have You or a Loved One Been Diagnosed with Mesothelioma?
When you’ve received a mesothelioma diagnosis, you’ll likely want to know what you can do about it. As you’re looking into treatment, the matter of how you’re going to afford the care you need may arise. The lawyers at Frost Law Firm, PC are here to provide you with the help you need. Our experienced mesothelioma lawyers will fight for your rights. You don’t have to go through this alone. Give our office a call today.