Mesothelioma is a family of closely related cancers caused by asbestos exposure. Most mesothelioma victims were exposed to asbestos through their work, often in construction, manufacturing, oil and gas extraction, and military service.
Although there is no known cure for mesothelioma, compensation is available to mesothelioma victims that can help offset the costs of treatments to extend lifespan and improve quality of life. The Cincinnati asbestos exposure attorneys at Young, Reverman & Mazzei are dedicated to helping mesothelioma patients and their families from Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky pursue the financial security they need to cope with treatment and other expenses associated with the disease.
Please call us today at 800-721-1678 or contact us online for a free, no-obligation consultation. We have offices throughout the greater Cincinnati area, including in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, and Florence, Kentucky. Our lawyers are also available to meet with you and your family at your home or hospital room.
What are the Different Types of Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is the result of the body absorbing—usually through inhalation—carcinogenic asbestos fibers. These fibers take root in the mesothelium, a layer of tissue that protects several of the body’s most important organs, including the lungs and heart. There are four main types of mesothelioma, and the individual forms are named for the specific mesothelium within the body where the cancer exists:
- Pleural mesothelioma
- Peritoneal mesothelioma
- Pericardial mesothelioma
- Testicular mesothelioma
Following is a detailed look at each of the primary mesothelioma types.
The most common form of mesothelioma is pleural mesothelioma, which makes up more than 80 percent of all diagnosed cases.
Pleural mesothelioma develops in the pleura, the mesothelium that surrounds the lungs. When asbestos particles become lodged in this tissue, they cause progressive inflammation and scarring and contribute to genetic changes in the cells of the pleura that cause them to become cancerous.
Over time, tumors form and fluid accumulates between the layers of the pleura, which increases pressure on the lungs and can result in chest pain and impaired respiration. Pleural mesothelioma patients often experience sheet-like formations of tumors across the pleura surfaces and, as the tumors grow more advanced, they may invade other tissues in the lungs, diaphragm, pericardium, and chest wall. Pleural mesothelioma can also spread to lymph nodes and distant sites on occasion.
The peritoneum, a thin membrane that lines the abdominal cavity, helps lubricate the internal organs, allowing them to contract and expand. Peritoneal mesothelioma causes the peritoneum to thicken and, as the disease progresses, it causes a buildup of fluids. This buildup begins to place pressure on the internal organs and can produce significant abdominal pain.
Peritoneal mesothelioma, like other types of mesothelioma, is directly linked to asbestos exposure. It generally has a latency period of about 20 to 50 years, which means symptoms may not show up for decades after exposure occurs. Peritoneal mesothelioma is often misdiagnosed as minor abdominal issues or a hernia in its initial stages due to the symptoms that it shares with those conditions. There are approximately 500 cases of peritoneal mesothelioma diagnosed annually in the United States, accounting for just over 10 percent of all mesothelioma cases.
The pericardium is a dual-layered membrane that surrounds the heart and protects it from infections. Pericardial mesothelioma forms in the pericardium, where tumors may slowly form over a period of decades.
Pericardial mesothelioma is an extremely rare form of mesothelioma and comprises only about 1 to 2 percent of all mesothelioma cases. Pericardial mesothelioma is more common in men by a margin of 2-to-1, and it tends to have an especially long latency period. In some cases, it may take 50 years or longer for symptoms of pericardial mesothelioma—including chest pain and arrhythmia—to become evident.
Testicular mesothelioma develops in the mesothelium-lined pouch that encloses the testes. It appears as firm, white-yellow nodules on the surface of the tunica vaginalis, which can eventually encase the scrotum and cause the membrane to thicken.
Testicular mesothelioma is the rarest form of the disease and accounts for less than 1 percent of all diagnosed cases. When diagnosed early, patients with testicular mesothelioma typically have a slightly better prognosis than other types of mesothelioma. The general life expectancy for these cases is 20 months or longer with treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. According to a 2019 study on testicular mesothelioma, nearly 49 percent of patients survive five years after diagnosis, and 33 percent survive 10 years or more.
While there is currently no cure for any form of mesothelioma, there are treatments that can extend a patient’s lifespan and improve his or her quality of life. Mesothelioma therapy usually involves a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation treatment. Additional treatments are also available to help relieve symptoms and improve the quality of life for many mesothelioma patients, and treatments are most effective when the disease is caught early.
Earlier stages of mesothelioma treatment focus on surgical options, such as a peritonectomy to remove abdominal tumors. Since all types of mesothelioma have a long latency period (usually 20 to 50 years), mesothelioma symptoms are often not evident until the disease has progressed to an advanced stage. In mesothelioma’s advanced stages, more invasive surgeries may be recommended. These surgeries are generally combined with chemotherapy to control the spread of the cancer. There are currently a number of trials and experimental drugs also being developed and tested in the United States.
Experienced Legal Help for Mesothelioma Victims
The knowledgeable asbestos exposure attorneys at Young, Reverman & Mazzei understand the physical, emotional and financial challenges associated with mesothelioma. Financial help is available to help mesothelioma patients and their families cover medical costs and other expenses associated with mesothelioma treatment. Our lawyers are passionate about helping asbestos exposure victims get the compensation they need and the care they deserve.
If you or a loved one was diagnosed with mesothelioma, please call us today at 800-721-1678 to schedule your free consultation. You can also contact us online to tell us your story now. Our experienced and dedicated team of attorneys represent clients throughout the greater Cincinnati area, including eastern Indiana and northern Kentucky. For a complete list of our offices and directions, please visit our locations page.