About Mesothelioma

Types of Mesothelioma - Asbestos Lifeline

Types of Mesothelioma

There are four known types of mesothelioma that refer to the region in the body where cancer develops. These include: pleural mesothelioma (cancer of the lungs), peritoneal mesothelioma (cancer of the abdomen), pericardial mesothelioma (cancer of the heart), and a rare form called testicular mesothelioma (cancer of the testes). This form of cancer specifically affects the lining of these regions.

Pleural mesothelioma is the most common form that accounts for approximately 75% of all cases that are diagnosed and about 80% of the diagnoses are made in older males, most likely due to them having a job in an industrial industry [1]. Pleural mesothelioma affects the pleura, which is the soft tissue that encases the lungs, and the majority of cases are caused by asbestos exposure. There are four stages of pleural mesothelioma and by the time the symptoms such as persistent coughing, chest pain, shortness of breath, or lumps under the skin in the chest area present themselves, the cancer has usually reached the late stage. More specific signs of the late stages of pleural mesothelioma include: coughing up blood, pain while breathing, and difficulty swallowing. At this point, the life expectancy becomes less than two years. This disease as well as the other three forms of mesothelioma can progress silently for up to 50 years and therefore, mesothelioma diagnoses are often made in older individuals.

The second most common form of mesothelioma is peritoneal mesothelioma. It develops in the peritoneum, which is membrane of the abdominal cavity. If asbestos is swallowed, it can reach the peritoneum after passing through the digestive system. This form accounts for 10 to 20% of the cases that are diagnosed and specific symptoms include: nausea and vomiting, persistent abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, abdominal swelling, or bowel obstruction. Although this type of mesothelioma is not the most common form, it spreads to different regions of the body a lot faster than the other forms and this causes treatment to be especially difficult [2].

Pericardial mesothelioma, which affects the outer membrane of the heart, called the pericardium, accounts for a little over 1% of all diagnosed cases. This form causes an abnormal accumulation of fluid between the pericardium layers and physical symptoms such as an irregular heartbeat, chest pain, night sweats, and fever [3].

The rarest form of mesothelioma is testicular mesothelioma. It develops in the lining of the testes, called the tunica vaginalis, and accounts for less than 1% of all diagnosed cases. Symptoms such as pain and swelling in the scrotum or the formation of testicular lumps may occur as a result of this form. However, it is typically diagnosed after the lumps have developed. Despite this occurrence, the prognosis for testicular mesothelioma is better than the other forms [4].

Many of the symptoms of mesothelioma are also associated with various other conditions. Therefore, in a number of cases unless an individual is aware of being exposed to asbestos and reveals this information to a doctor, mesothelioma may not be initially suspected. If a doctor does suspect the presence of mesothelioma, an x-ray or CT-scan and a biopsy of the affected tissue still needs to be performed before this condition can be accurately diagnosed.

If you are experiencing any of the signs of mesothelioma and know that you have or may have been exposed to asbestos, it is important to report this to your doctor as early as possible. Furthermore, if you would like information regarding your legal rights or possible financial compensation please contact us.


  1. Robinson B, Lake R. (2005). Advances in malignant mesothelioma. N Engl J Med, 353(15):1591-1603 Retrieved from http://www.accg.org.br/uploads/arquivos/60a8f968b51a724580704995fcfd39c7.pdf
  2. Bridda A, Padoan I, Frego M. (2007). Peritoneal mesothelioma: A review. Med Gen Med, 9(2): 32-59. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1994863/
  3. Nilsson A., & Rasmuson, T. (2009). Primary pericardial mesothelioma: Report of a patient and literature. Case Rep in Oncol, 2(2):125-132. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2918860/?tool=pmc
  4. Candura SM, et al (2008). Malignant mesothelioma of the tunica vaginalis testis in a petrochemical worker exposed to asbestos. Anticancer Res, 28(2B):1365-1368. Retrieved from http://ar.iiarjournals.org/content/28/2B/1365.full.pdf

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