mesothelioma

types, symptoms and treatment

Mesothelioma Types

Pleural mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that develops in the pleura, the sheet-like membrane that covers the inside surface of the ribcage and lungs. Normally, the pleura produces a small amount of lubricant for the lungs as they move consistently during respiration. Of the different types of mesothelioma, pleural mesothelioma is the most common.

Symptoms

  • Chest pain under the rib cage
  • Painful coughing
  • Prolonged coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Unusual lumps of tissue under the skin on your chest
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Pneumothorax (collapsed lung)
  • Blood in sputum (phlegm)
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Prolonged hoarseness
  • Nausea
  • Low oxygen levels

Diagnosis

Mesothelioma specialists use a variety of tests, instruments and procedures to diagnose patients. These procedures may include a(n):

  • Physical examination
  • Health history review to determine asbestos exposure
  • SOMAmer and MESOMARK blood test
  • X-ray
  • CT scan
  • MRI scan
  • PET scan
  • Fine-needle aspiration (FNA) of the lung
  • Thoracoscopy
  • Thoracotomy
  • Open biopsy

Treatment

Treatment options for pleural mesothelioma often involve a multimodal approach. Surgery may be an option in some cases; however, it is not a guarantee. Treatment options may include:

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • Radiation Therapy
  • Targeted Therapy
  • Tumor Treating Fields
  • Clinical Trials

Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Peritoneal mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that develops in the lining (mesothelium) of the abdomen (peritoneum), covering the surface of the omentum and visceral organs. When asbestos fibers become lodged in the lungs and trachea, they can make their way into the abdomen. As the cancer develops in the abdominal lining, the abdomen may fill with liquid. This often leads to abdominal swelling. Of the different types of mesothelioma, peritoneal mesothelioma is the second most common.

Symptoms

  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Lumps of tissue in the abdomen
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue

Diagnosis

Mesothelioma specialists use a variety of tests, instruments and procedures to diagnose patients. These procedures may include a(n):

  • Physical examination
  • Health history review to determine asbestos exposure
  • SOMAmer and MESOMARK blood test
  • X-ray
  • CT scan
  • MRI scan
  • PET scan
  • Fine-needle aspiration (FNA) of the lung
  • Peritoneoscopy
  • Laparotomy
  • Open biopsy

Treatment

Treatment options for peritoneal mesothelioma often involve a multimodal approach. Surgery may be an option in some cases; however, it is not a guarantee. Treatment options may include:

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • Radiation Therapy
  • Targeted Therapy
  • Tumor Treating Fields
  • Clinical Trials

Pericardial Mesothelioma

Pericardial mesothelioma is an extremely rare form of cancer that develops in the lining (mesothelium) of the heart (pericardium). Of the different types of mesothelioma, pericardial mesothelioma is rather uncommon.

Symptoms

  • Chest pain
  • Coughing
  • Heart murmurs
  • Arrhythmia
  • Fluid build-up
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Night sweats

Diagnosis

Mesothelioma specialists use a variety of tests, instruments and procedures to diagnose patients. These procedures may include a(n):

  • Physical examination
  • Health history review to determine asbestos exposure
  • SOMAmer and MESOMARK blood test
  • X-ray
  • CT scan
  • MRI scan
  • PET scan
  • Echocardiogram
  • Pericardioscopy
  • Pericardiocentesis

Treatment

Treatment options for pericardial mesothelioma may involve a multimodal approach. Surgery may be an option in some cases; however, it is not a guarantee. Treatment options may include:

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Clinical Trials

TESTICULAR MESOTHELIOMA

Testicular mesothelioma, also known as mesothelioma of the tunica vaginalis testis, is an extremely rare cancer that develops in the lining of the testes. Of the four types of mesothelioma, testicular mesothelioma is the most uncommon. Patients may experience painful scrotal masses and a build-up of fluid in the scrotum (hydrocele). Due to the rarity of this type of mesothelioma and the lack of symptoms it presents, patients are often diagnosed during or after surgery. Doctors will likely perform a biopsy to confirm a diagnosis. Research is still developing to explain the link between asbestos and tunica vaginalis tumors.

Treatment

Treatment options for testicular mesothelioma may involve a multimodal approach. Surgery may be an option in some cases; however, it is not a guarantee. Treatment options may include:

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • Radiation

Epithelioid Mesothelioma

Epithelioid mesothelioma is the most common mesothelioma cell type. Of the three mesothelioma cell types, patients who are diagnosed with epithelioid mesothelioma may experience more favorable prognoses. Epitheliod cells tend to respond more favorably to treatment, which can help prolong a patient’s life.  Epithelioid cells often clump together and remain in groups. As a result, they are less likely to mobilize and spread like sarcomatoid cells. The epithelium is one of four basic tissue types, along with connective tissue, muscle tissue and nervous tissue. The first layers of the mesothelium are composed of epithelioid cells, which are elongated and ovular.

Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma

Sarcomatoid mesothelioma is the least common cell type. Of the three cell types, patients who are diagnosed with sarcomatoid mesothelioma often face a less favorable prognosis. Sarcomatoid tumors are comprised of large, spindle-shaped cells that form fibrous bundles within the mesothelium. These fibrous cells develop in the pleural membrane that lines the lungs and chest cavity. Sarcomatoid mesothelioma is aggressive, develops quickly and spreads rapidly to other areas of the body. It is resistant to treatment and considered the most deadly.

Biphasic Mesothelioma

Biphasic mesothelioma indicates a presence of both sarcomatoid and epithelioid cells. Patients who are diagnosed with biphasic mesothelioma may face an uncertain prognosis. Depending on the ratio of epithelioid and sarcomatoid cells, prognoses may change. Biphasic tumors are more common in pleural rather than peritoneal mesothelioma patients. Epithelioid and sarcomatoid cells can coexist or exist separately in a tumor. Treatment can be difficult and less aggressive due to the presence of sarcomatoid cells.

miscellaneous

Metastatic mesothelioma has spread beyond the primary tumor in the lining of the lungs, heart, abdomen or testes, and is now affecting other parts of the body. Metastatic mesothelioma is often associated with stages three and four of the disease.