Peritoneal mesothelioma involves the peritoneum, which lines the inside of the abdomen and many of the abdominal organs. About 25% of mesothelioma diagnoses are peritoneal mesotheliomas.
How is peritoneal mesothelioma diagnosed?
Diagnosing peritoneal mesothelioma can be challenging because symptoms often mimic other diseases. Most diagnostic tests are done to rule out other forms of cancer. Diagnosis is confirmed through a biopsy.
Peritoneal mesothelioma staging
This type of cancer does not have an official staging system. Patients with this type of mesothelioma should consult their doctor to determine an individual course for determining how far the cancer has progressed and what treatment options are available. Some treatment options are as follows:
Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma
- Abdominal pain
- Swelling or fluid in the abdomen
- Unexplained weight loss
- Nausea and vomiting
Peritoneal mesothelioma treatment
- Surgery, called cytoreduction, is often performed, to remove as many cancer cells as possible.
- Chemotherapy may be prescribed to kill any cells that linger after surgery.
- Targeted radiation therapy may be used to shrink tumors.
What is the prognosis for peritoneal mesothelioma?
As with other cancers and types of mesothelioma, peritoneal mesothelioma prognosis depends on many factors, including the the disease progression at time of diagnosis, treatment options available as a result of that progression, overall patient health and other considerations.
Pericardial mesothelioma, develops in the lining around the heart, called the pericardium, and is extremely rare. About 1% of mesothelioma types are pericardial mesotheliomas.
How is pericardial mesothelioma diagnosed?
Pericardial mesothelioma is difficult to diagnose because it is extremely rare. Echocadiogram and CT scans can help doctors identify if a patient may have pericardial mesothelioma. If mesothelioma is suspected, based on symptoms and risk factors, a biopsy may be performed to confirm the diagnosis.
Pericardial mesothelioma staging
Like peritoneal mesothelioma, this type of mesothelioma does not have an official staging system. The patient and their doctor must come up with a unique course of treatment based on how advanced the cancer is, the patient’s health and other individual factors. Some potential treatments are outlined below.
Symptoms of pericardial mesothelioma
- Palpitations or irregular heartbeat
- Chest pain
- Heart murmurs
- Difficulty breathing, even at rest
- Orthopnea, or difficulty breathing when lying down
- Fever or night sweats
What is the treatment for pericardial mesothelioma?
- Doctors may perform a pericardiectomy – surgery to remove some or all of the pericardium. Tumors may also be surgically removed from the heart if patients are considered eligible.
- A pericardiocentesis can also be performed to remove fluid and relieve pressure from around the heart.
- Chemotherapy may be an option for some patients to kill any mesothelioma cancer cells that linger after surgery.
- Radiation is rarely used with pericardial mesothelioma patients because of the tumor’s proximity to the heart.
Can pericardial mesothelioma be cured?
As with other cancers and types of mesothelioma, pericardial mesothelioma prognosis depends on many factors, including the disease progression at the time of diagnosis, treatment options, overall patient health and other considerations.
Tunica Vaginalis Mesothelioma
Tunica vaginalis mesothelioma, also referred to as testicular mesothelioma, affects the sac surrounding the testicles. It is also extremely rare.
How is tunica vaginalis mesothelioma diagnosed?
Because this type of mesothelioma is so rare, it is often misdiagnosed for more common conditions, such as a hernia. Patients presenting with symptoms related to testicular mesothelioma are often given an ultrasound, which can identify whether a tumor is present. If a tumor is suspected, other imaging scans may be performed to determine staging. Blood samples may also be collected to look for markers specific to cancer and mesothelioma. A definitive diagnosis is made through a biopsy.
Tunica vaginalis mesothelioma staging
Staging of tunica vaginalis mesothelioma is often determined by whether the mesothelioma cells are localized to one side of the testis, as well as the size of the tumor, whether it has spread to nearby lymph nodes, and whether it has metastasized to distant organs.
Symptoms of tunica vaginalis mesothelioma
- Hydrocele (buildup of fluid in the scrotum)
- Abnormal lump inside the scrotum
- Pain and swelling of the testes
Tunica vaginalis mesothelioma treatment
- Surgery called a radical inguinal orchiectomy may be performed in cases of localized testicular mesothelioma. This involves removing the affected testicle and entire spermatic cord. A lymphadenectomy may be performed if the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes.
- Chemotherapy may be prescribed to kill any mesothelioma cancer cells that linger after surgery.
- Targeted radiation therapy may be used to shrink tumors.
What is the prognosis for tunica vaginalis mesothelioma?
As with other cancers and types of mesothelioma, tunica vaginalis mesothelioma prognosis depends on many factors, including the the disease progression at time of diagnosis, treatment options, overall patient health and other considerations.
Asbestos exposure has also been linked to asbestosis, a noncancerous, chronic lung ailment caused by the scarring of lung tissue due to asbestos exposure. This scarring can make it difficult for the lungs to expand and contract, making it hard to breathe. Like mesothelioma, there is no cure for asbestosis; the condition can only be managed to help ease symptoms.
- Asbestosis is an incurable disease, so treatments typically involve treating symptoms. Prescription inhalers may help loosen congestion in the lungs. Supplemental oxygen may also be ordered.
- Lung transplants may be an option for some patients.
Imaging scans like X-rays, CT, MRI or PET scans may be performed to look for signs of scarring.
Symptoms of Asbestosis
- Shortness of breath
- Persistent dry cough
- Chest pain
- Extreme fatigue
- Finger clubbing (enlarged fingertips)
All types of mesothelioma can be caused by asbestos exposure. Those most exposed to this toxic mineral include miners, factory workers, insulation manufacturers and installers, railroad and automotive works, shipbuilders, plumbers, and construction workers.
Family members of people who work in environments where asbestos is present can also be at risk for secondary asbestos exposure because asbestos fibers can adhere to workers’ clothes and be carried home. Just washing the clothes of someone who works around asbestos can cause secondary asbestos exposure and increase the risk of developing mesothelioma.
Non-occupational asbestos exposure is also becoming more common in mesothelioma diagnoses. These cases may be very difficult to diagnose because the patient would not quickly associate their mesothelioma symptoms with asbestos exposure – because they might not even realize they had been exposed. Many people could have been exposed to microscopic asbestos fibers without knowing — home insulation, automotive parts, even talcum powder can become contaminated with the carcinogenic fibers.
For example, someone who renovated an older home, where asbestos was commonly used for decades as an insulation material, may have unknowingly broken or crushed asbestos, releasing the microscopic fibers that can cause mesothelioma.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma and want to pursue legal action, Charlie Stern, Beasley Allen’s mesothelioma lawyer, can help you navigate a complex mesothelioma lawsuit to help ensure adequate compensation for you and your loved ones. For more information, contact us today and get your free case evaluation by our legal team.