Types, symptoms, & Treatment

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The Truth About Mesothelioma

According to Cancer.org, an estimated 3,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with mesothelioma yearly, it’s worth knowing the types, symptoms, and treatment options. Too often, this diagnosis results from poor working conditions and lax manufacturers that act without care for their workers. Vogelzang Law wants to represent you if you’ve been exposed to asbestos at work and now suffer from mesothelioma. Our Chicago-based law firm is here to educate the public about the symptoms of mesothelioma and the courses of action for people affected. 

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Types of Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive form of cancer that affects the mesothelial cells that line the body’s internal organs. There are several types of mesothelioma, which are categorized based on the location of the cancerous cells in the body. The four main types of mesothelioma are:

Pleural Mesothelioma: This is the most common type of mesothelioma, accounting for about 75% of all cases. It affects the lining of the lungs (pleura) and can cause symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, and persistent coughing.

Pericardial Mesothelioma: This rare type of mesothelioma affects the lining of the heart (pericardium). Symptoms may include chest pain, palpitations, and difficulty breathing.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma: This type of mesothelioma affects the lining of the abdominal cavity (peritoneum). It is less common than pleural mesothelioma, accounting for about 20% of cases. Symptoms may include abdominal pain, swelling, and nausea.

Testicular Mesothelioma: This is the rarest form of mesothelioma and affects the lining of the testicles. It may cause swelling or lumps in the testicles but usually does not cause any other symptoms.

Here’s a brief overview of each type, its symptoms, and potential mesothelioma treatments:

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Pleural Mesothelioma

Of the different types of mesothelioma, pleural mesothelioma is the most common. 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. As the cancer progresses, the pleura thickens and makes breathing difficult. 

Treatment is possible and often includes surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. Pleural mesothelioma comes with these symptoms:

  • Chest pain under the ribcage
  • Painful or 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
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Pericardial Mesothelioma

Pericardial mesothelioma is quite uncommon. Those with this condition develop cancerous cells in the lining of the heart. Treatment tends to involve multiple approaches and could require a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and participation in clinical trials. Patients diagnosed with pericardial mesothelioma show the following symptoms:

Treatment is possible and often includes surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.

Pleural mesothelioma comes with these symptoms:

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

Peritoneal mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that develops in the lining (mesothelium) of the abdomen (peritoneum), covering the visceral organs. When asbestos fibers become lodged in the lungs and trachea, they can make their way into the abdomen and cause cancer to develop. This condition causes the abdomen to fill with liquid and begin to swell. Like pleural mesothelioma, treatment is possible.

Patients often require surgery, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, or radiation therapy. The symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include:

Treatment is possible and often includes surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.

  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Lumps of tissue in the abdomen
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue
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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. Because this condition is so uncommon, patients may need multiple treatments to stave off its growth. These might include radiation, surgeries, or chemotherapy. Unfortunately, testicular mesothelioma is known for its few visible symptoms. Research is still developing to explain the link between asbestos and tunica vaginalis tumors.


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
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Epithelioid Mesothelioma

Epithelial mesothelioma is a type of mesothelioma that arises from the epithelial cells, which are the cells that make up the lining of various internal organs of the body. It is the most common type of mesothelioma, accounting for about 50-70% of all cases.

Epithelial mesothelioma is typically slow-growing and tends to respond better to treatment than other types of mesothelioma. However, it can still be a serious and life-threatening condition.

Symptoms of epithelial mesothelioma can include chest pain, shortness of breath, coughing, and fatigue. Diagnosis typically involves a combination of imaging tests (such as X-rays or CT scans) and biopsies (taking a sample of tissue for examination under a microscope).

Treatment for epithelial mesothelioma may involve surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation therapy, depending on the stage and severity of the cancer.

Prognosis can vary widely depending on various factors such as the stage of the cancer, the age and overall health of the patient, and the specific characteristics of the tumor.

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Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma

Sarcomatoid mesothelioma is the least common cell type. Patients with sarcomatoid mesothelioma often face a less favorable prognosis. Sarcomatoid tumors are composed 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, grows quickly, and spreads rapidly to other areas of the body. It is resistant to treatment and considered the most deadly. If you’re experiencing any mesothelioma symptoms, it’s imperative to talk to your physician about this aggressive cancer

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Biphasic Mesothelioma

Biphasic mesothelioma indicates the presence of both sarcomatoid and epithelioid cells. Patients with this mesothelioma type may face an uncertain prognosis. Depending on the ratio of epithelioid and sarcomatoid cells theprognosis may change. Biphasic tumors are more common in pleural rather than peritoneal mesothelioma patients. But no matter where the cancer occurs, mesothelioma treatment may be more challenging with this diagnosis.

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Metastatic Mesothelioma

If cancer spreads beyond the primary tumor in the lungs, heart, abdomen, or testes, the condition is deemed metastatic. Metastatic mesothelioma can affect multiple parts of the body and is often associated with stages three and four of the diseas

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Diagnosis & Treatment


Mesothelioma specialists use a variety of tests, instruments, and procedures to diagnose patients.

These procedures may include a(n):

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

Treatment options 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
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Your Legal Options Following a Mesothelioma Diagnosis

Aside from the medical aspects of your condition, you’ll no doubt want to know what your rights to legal redress consist of, especially if it means the difference between being able to afford your medical expenses and seeing that your family has the resources to overcome future challenges. 

Regardless of what diagnosis you received, what your prognosis is, or what treatment options you pursue, you can empower yourself by working with a knowledgeable attorney to obtain financial compensation. The truth is, there are several reasons why you should consider legal action in response to a mesothelioma diagnosis.

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Holding Those Responsible Accountable

For decades, many companies were aware of the dangers associated with asbestos exposure but failed to inform or protect their employees. Pursuing a lawsuit is not just about seeking compensation—it’s about holding negligent parties accountable for their actions and ensuring that justice is served.

When victims come forward and file lawsuits, they send a powerful message to corporations about the necesity of worker safety. By holding these entities accountable, future negligence may be deterred, ensuring that other workers don’t suffer a similar fate.

For many mesothelioma patients and their families, pursuing a lawsuit offers a form of closure. It allows them to confront the entities that contributed to their suffering and find a sense of justice and resolution in a challenging journey.

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Financial Compensation for You and Your Family

Mesothelioma treatment is expensive. From surgeries to chemotherapy, radiation, and ongoing medications—the bills can quickly accumulate. A successful lawsuit can provide the necessary funds to cover these costs, ensuring that the patient receives the best care possible without the burden of financial strain.

Beyond the immediate medical costs, mesothelioma patients often worry about their family’s financial well-being, especially if they were the primary breadwinners before the diagnosis. Compensation from a lawsuit can provide families with the means to cover living expenses, pay off debts, fund children’s education, and more.

We also recognize that aside from tangible expenses, devastating illnesses like mesothelioma bring incomprehensible pain, suffering, and lost opportunities. Whether it’s missing out on family milestones, enduring the physical pain of the disease, or the emotional toll of a terminal diagnosis, a lawsuit can offer a form of reparation for these intangible damages.

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Setting a Precedent for Safety

Every successful lawsuit sets a precedent that strengthens the case for future claimants. By pursuing a lawsuit, mesothelioma patients can contribute to a legal framework that makes it easier for future victims to seek and obtain justice.

Additionally, when companies face lawsuits and are held financially responsible for their negligence, it pushes other businesses in the industry to prioritize worker safety. Over time, these collective actions can lead to safer work environments and stricter regulations that protect employees from hazardous exposures and the possibility of developing adverse conditions like mesothelioma in the future. 

While the idea of a lawsuit might seem daunting, especially when grappling with a mesothelioma diagnosis, it’s a choice that can offer numerous benefits. From personal closure to financial security and the broader impact on industry practices and research, the reasons to consider legal action are compelling. With the support of experienced legal counsel, mesothelioma patients can navigate this process, ensuring that their rights are upheld and that they’re doing their part to pave a safer, more accountable path for future generations.

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If You’re Facing a Mesothelioma Diagnosis, You’re Not Alone

No matter what type of mesothelioma diagnosis you’re facing, you have options to obtain compensation for the harm that was done to you. Vogelzang Law is dedicated to supporting victims and their families, empowering them with the essential information and representation they need. If you or a loved one faces a mesothelioma diagnosis, remember you’re not alone. Reach out, and let’s navigate this journey together, ensuring that justice is served and your well-being is prioritized. Contact our firm today for a free consultation and case evaluation with our seasoned attorneys.

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