In the world of cancer, things can get very complex. This is true for mesothelioma – cancer in the mesothelium, the thick layer of tissue, around particular organs.
There are four types of mesotheliomas based on tumor location:
- The lining of the lungs (pleural)
- Abdomen (peritoneal)
- Heart (pericardial)
Along with the different locations of the body where mesotheliomas can occur, not all mesotheliomas are the same, in terms of cell type and location.
The three most common cell types for mesothelioma are epithelioid, sarcomatoid, and biphasic. Of those three, epithelioid is by far the most common, accounting for about 70% of mesothelioma diagnoses, while sarcomatoid accounts for only 10%. That leaves biphasic with just around 20%.
The shape of the cancers’ cells distinguishes these subtypes from one another. Epithelioid cells are boxy or oval shapes, sarcomatoid cells are oval or spindle-like, and biphasic have both epithelioid and sarcomatoid shapes.
The most significant impact the subtypes have on litigation is how the patient responds to potential treatment and how quickly the attorney on the file needs to make things happen.
Traditionally, epithelioid mesothelioma had the best prognosis of around 1.5 to 3 years to live, while a diagnosis with sarcomatoid was likely a death sentence within 10 months.
Bisphasic is more like sacomatoid, with about 9-12 months to live. For the prosecuting attorney to understand this and be able to identify immediately the subtype is crucial. By not understanding the nuanced information related to subtypes and how to determine this information, plaintiffs can die much faster than expected.
Our firm was contacted in December 2021 by a potential client. After the lawyer spoke with the client and reviewed medical records, it became clear that this was not an epithelioid mesothelioma and time was truly of the essence. Within a month, the case was filed in the proper jurisdiction. A few months later, after diligent work to expedite the deposition by the attorneys working on the file, the client sat for a deposition.
Just weeks after that deposition, the client died. From first contact to death was around four months. Had he not sat for his deposition, his case would have been far, far weaker.
The attorneys at Beasley Allen recognized the urgency because of their experience and understanding of the issues, which allowed them to protect their client’s rights. This is the skilled and informed approach taken by all Beasley Allen asbestos attorneys.