Types of Mesothelioma | Facts and Resources

Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos or asbestos related materials. Like most other forms of cancer, it is separated into two groups, malignant and benign. Rarely is mesothelioma benign, so frequently any mention of the condition refers to its malignant state, known as a tumor. A malignant tumor will grow and expand, and can spread cancerous cells into other parts of the body. Topics included on this page: Types of Mesothelioma Pleural Mesothelioma Peritoneal Mesothelioma Benign Mesothelioma Cancer Cell Types

There are three main types of malignant mesotheliomas cells: epithelioid, sarcomatoid, and mixed/biphasic.


Epithelioid is the most common kind; 50-70% cases reported are of this type, which also has the best possibility of survival. This type affects the covering surrounding the internal organs and internal surfaces in the body. Sarcomatoid is much more serious, and it affects the secondary tissues such as bone, muscles, cartilage, and/or fat. This cell is much rarer, occurring 7-20% of the time. Mixed/biphasic refers to both types of cancers at once, and make up the rest of the 20-35% of the occurrences.

Aside from the types of cancerous cells, there are three main types of mesothelioma, and each affects a different area of the body.  The three types of this deadly cancer are:

Pleural mesothelioma is found around the pleural cavity around the lungs, and is responsible for 75% of all mesothelioma diagnosed. The second most common form is called peritoneal mesothelioma and affects the tissues in the abdomen, namely the stomach and intestines, and it accounts for approximately 10-20% of all reported cases. The rarest form is called pericardial mesothelioma, which affects the sac and lining surrounding the heart.

Regardless of the area it affects, mesothelioma is fatal. Survival rates are usually 1-5 years after diagnosis, but medical technology is rapidly improving not only the length but also of the quality of life for those victims of asbestos exposure who contracted mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma is truly one of the most devastating diseases imaginable.  Thousands of people across the country must come to grips with the fact the asbestos industry put their own profits ahead of the safety of their employees and the public at large.  Let our dedicated and experienced mesothelioma attorneys help you get the financial compensation you may deserve.  Contact us today.

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Pleural Mesothelioma - Mesothelioma of Pleura

Pleural mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects the pleural sac that surrounds the lungs, and is caused by exposure to asbestos. Pleural mesothelioma is the most common form of mesothelioma with estimated 75% of all mesothelioma cases being of this form.

Description of the Pleura:

The pleura is a sac which contains the lungs and also a thin membrane called the mesothelium which secretes a fluid that enables the lungs to expand and contract during breathing. Inhaling asbestos causes a build-up of fibers inside the lungs, and due to the microscopic size and sharpness of the fibers it is possible for them to penetrate the walls of the lung and enter the pleural cavity. As they migrate from the lung into the pleural cavity, the sharp strands shred and mutilate the mesothelium, destroying it and potentially causing cancer.

Thickening of the Pleural Fluid and Cancerous Tumors.

Once asbestos fibers invade the pleural cavity, cancerous tumors may develop which thicken the pleural fluid and inhibit proper lung movement. Tumors can also constrict the lungs and press on the ribcage or other organs resulting in agonizing pain. Also, because the lungs are responsible for re-oxygenating blood, should the cancer advance directly into the lungs it is possible for the cancerous cells to spread into other parts of the body through the bloodstream.

Pleural mesothelioma is often confused with less serious or deadly diseases such as:
  • Pneumonia
  • Common Cold
  • Whooping cough
  • The Flu
  • Laryngitis
  • Bruised/Broken Ribs due to chest pain
  • Sometimes there are no symptoms at all
Mesothelium Mutatation and Asbestos.

Scientists and doctors are do not know why asbestos fibers cause the mesothelium to mutate into cancer, but as more asbestos cases are reported, doctors are learning more and more about this devastating condition. It is believed that even one single fiber can begin the cascade of events that cause mesothelioma.

Diagnosis of Pleural Mesothelioma.

Although there is no cure for mesothelioma, early diagnosis provides doctors the opportunity to relieve a great deal of suffering, and prolong and improve many patients’ lives.  These avenues of treatment depend on the extent of the condition and the progession of the disease.

Development of Pleural Mesothelioma:  

Because the time it takes for the asbestos particle to turn cancerous is very great - sometimes between 30 to 40 years - it can be difficult to spot. Most cases of pleural mesothelioma develop in the sac that contains the lungs.

Common treatments for Pleural Mesothelioma include:
  • Surgery: Surgeons can remove all or part of the lung to excise tumors or prevent their spread.  In some occasions fluid needs to be drained from the lungs, or in extreme cases the entire lung needs to be removed.
  • Radiation: Cancer is often treated with high doses of radiation.  This treatment uses high energy waves to kill cancerous cells, but unfortunately it also kills healthy cells and causes a number of peripheral health problems.
  • Chemotherapy: Strong anti-cancer drugs are pumped directly into the tumors or taken orally can inhibit their growth and spread, but these drugs can also cause severe health problems in other bodily systems.

Affects of Pleural Mesothelioma:

Make sure that if you or someone you love has developed pleural mesothelioma, you owe it to yourself to take action.  The asbestos industry allegedly knew of the dangers of their product, but rather than take action to prevent serious harm they hid this information from their workers and the public until the damage had been done.  Now, thousands of people hurt by this deception are coming forward to collect compensation for their pain and suffering, and you could be the next person to receive restitution for their condition.  Let us help you.  Contact us today.

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Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Peritoneal mesothelioma is a cancer that affects the thin cell membrane called the peritoneum.  This collection of cells surrounds the gastrointestinal tract and provides lubrication for the stomach and intestines to move so that they may function properly. These organs must be able to move properly in order to properly digest and process food, and a failure in the peritoneum can result in severe and debilitating consequences.  Unfortunately, the symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma can be so subtle that it can be confused with other, less dangerous diseases, and this aspect of the disease significantly contributes to its already staggering mortality rate.

Common symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma:
  • Stomach pain
  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Difficulty with bowel movements
  • Weight lost
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weakness
  • Abdominal swelling

When asbestos is ingested, minute fibers enter the stomach and penetrate the stomach lining. As more and more fibers penetrate this delicate organ, the cells on the exterior lining begin to mutate into cancerous mesothelioma cells. These cells accumulate into tumors, and eventually overwhelm the peritoneum, killing off healthy stomach cells in the process. Furthermore, these tumors prevent the peritoneum from making the protective lining that aids the stomach in movement. In less drastic instances, the tumors on the stomach lining grow and exert increasing pressure on surrounding organs causing agonizing pain.

There is no cure for any type of mesothelioma, but certain conditions can aid in treatment. Age, type of cell affected, size and stage of the tumor, and whether or not the tumor responds to treatment greatly affect what course of action doctors can take.

Common treatments for peritoneal mesothelioma:

  • Chemotherapy: Strong drugs are used to shrink the size and kill tumors, but these drugs are extremely potent and often cause significant damage to other healthy cells.  These drugs can be taken orally, or in some cases the drugs are directly introduced into the tumors if they are resistant to other treatment
  • Radiation therapy:  Radiation is one of the ways to treat peritoneal mesothelioma.  Powerful X-rays can kill diseased cells, but they also can kill healthy cells, and many people undergoing radiation treatment for peritoneal mesothelioma often suffer hair loss and other side effects.
  • Surgery:  This most drastic option often involves the removal of the tumor or cancerous tissue in the abdomen or gastrointestinal tract.  The necessity of surgery is generally based on the extent and progression of the cancer.

Vigorous treatment and early diagnosis are often the keys to long term survival. Unfortunately, mesothelioma lies dormant for years, so most victims do not experience any side effects until the cancer is extremely advanced. After the cancer has overwhelmed the stomach, it is rare for patients to survive longer than five years.

Victims of peritoneal mesothelioma

Many victims of mesothelioma take comfort in knowing that the asbestos industry will no longer injure innocent people through deception and blatant lies.  Another source of comfort many victims discover is through the law.  Thousands of people are taking action against the asbestos industry in order to recover financial restitution for their pain and suffering, and you could be next.  Let our dedicated and experienced peritoneal mesothelioma attorneys help you get the compensation you may deserve.  Contact us today.

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Pericardial Mesothelioma

Pericardial mesothelioma is the rarest type of the three main malignant forms of the disease.  The heart, as with any organ that requires constant movement to work properly, requires constant lubrication.  Lubrication comes in the form of a thin layer of mucous, and in normal systems the heart beats on as normal. 

Effects on the Pericardium

Pericardial mesothelioma affects the pericardium, the protective sac that covers the heart and provides lubrication so that it can beat properly.  Asbestos exposure is the most common culprit of this debilitating form of cancer, a type that usually comprises 5% of all mesothelioma cases.

Pericardium Mutations

Inhaled asbestos fibers can pierce and shred the pericardium and cause mutations that can result in mesothelioma.  Once the cancer begins to spread, it can cause chronic coughing, chest pain, shortness of breath, and heart palpitations.  Like the other forms of the cancer, decades pass without incident as pericardial mesothelioma slowly destroys the tissues around the heart. Unfortunately, by the time symptoms appear it is usually far too late to treat pericardial mesothelioma with conventional drugs or therapies.

Common symptoms of pericardial mesothelioma include:
  • Shortness of breath
  • Different degrees of chest pain
  • Heart palpitations
  • Irregular heart beat
  • Coughing
Treatments for pericardial mesothelioma.

There are a few marginally effective treatments for victims of pericardial mesothelioma.  Radiation treatments are usually the preferred course of action to help slow the spread of the cancer, and chemotherapy can provide help in bolstering the effects of the radiation.  Another type of treatment involves “fine needle aspiration” to draw out excess fluid that collects in the pericardium, which can help relieve some symptoms.  In rare cases, doctors perform surgery to remove the pericardium, although this is usually a treatment of last resort.  This course of action usually only slows the growth of pericardial mesothelioma, for no amount of surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation will fully eliminate the cancer.

If you or a loved one developed pericardial mesothelioma as a consequence of asbestos exposure, you deserve a voice and you may have the right to seek financial compensation for your pain and suffering.  Let a dedicated and compassionate mesothelioma lawyer help you get the restitution you deserve.  You must act quickly, for the statute of limitations in your state could end your case before it has a chance to begin. Don’t wait - contact someone who understands your fear and frustration today.

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Mesothelioma Cancer Cell Types

To understand mesothelioma is to understand cancer.  Cancer is essentially uncontrolled cellular growth.  Under normal circumstances, body cells in the hair, bone, organs, or blood grow to a certain point, die off, and are replaced by newer, healthier cells.  Unfortunately, most cancer cells are damaged to some degree, and as the body reproduces them they begin to take over for healthy cells, leading to eventual system failure.

Mesothelioma cells are divided into three main categories: epithelioid, sarcomatoid cells, and a mix of the two types called biphasic mesothelioma.

Cancers like mesothelioma can affect virtually any type of cells in the body, often radically affecting the prognosis and treatment options for patients.  The tragedy of mesothelioma is that it takes decades before most symptoms appear, and by the time the cancer is discovered it is too entrenched in the system to treat. 

 

Epithelioid Mesothelioma

The most common and relatively treatable form of the cancer is Epithelioid mesothelioma.  Under a microscope this type of the disease is seen as a papillary or tubular growth and generally affects membranes and tissues that cover organs and other internal bodily surfaces. Between 50-70% of mesothelioma cases fall into this category, and this type is most likely to respond to treatment

 

Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma

Sarcomatoid mesothelioma is the most serious form of the disease, as it rarely responds to any treatment whatsoever.  Fortunately it is also the rarest, as it only strikes 10-20% of patients with mesothelioma.  It appears as spindle-shaped pattern of cells that overlap one another, and generally arises from support tissues such as bone, cartilage, muscle, and fat. Death usually occurs within six months of diagnosis of sarcomatoid mesothelioma.

 

Biphasic Mesothelioma

Biphasic mesothelioma is not a condition unto itself, but rather it is a combination of the other two types.  It can take on both the good and bad aspects of sarcomatoid and epithelioid mesotheliomas and 20-35% of all mesothelioma cases are mixed or biphasic.

Mesothelioma is truly the deadly scourge of the 21st century.  Because it takes decades before the first symptoms appear, many health professionals believe that there will be a mesothelioma epidemic in the decades to come.  If you or someone you love was the victim of this deadly disease, you must consult one of our dedicated and experienced mesothelioma attorneys today.  You may be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering.  Don’t delay.  Call now.

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Types of Mesothelioma include epithelioid, sarcomatoid, and mixed/biphasic page updated on 9/06/2013