Types of Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that starts in the lining of the major organs. It is linked with exposure to asbestos. Most people develop mesothelioma in the lining of their lungs (pleural mesothelioma) or abdomen (peritoneal mesothelioma). There is no cure for any of the types of mesothelioma, but early diagnosis and treatment may help you live longer.

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What Are the Types of Mesothelioma?

Cancer cells
Cancer cells

There are four types of mesothelioma based on where the cancer started. In this rare and aggressive form of cancer, tumors grow in the linings of major organs (mesothelium).

Mesothelioma can occur in the linings of the:

  • Lungs (pleural mesothelioma)
  • Abdomen (peritoneal mesothelioma)
  • Heart (pericardial mesothelioma)
  • Testes (testicular mesothelioma)

Call Sokolove Law right now at (800) 647-3434 if you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease.

Even though it can start in different areas of the body, all mesothelioma types share commonalities. For one thing, all types of mesothelioma have the same cause: asbestos exposure.

Mesothelioma & Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos is a durable, fibrous mineral once used in many construction and vehicle products. For decades, many manufacturers of asbestos-containing products knew about the serious health risks of asbestos exposure.

However, the greedy corporations recklessly hid the truth and continued to use asbestos, putting profits ahead of innocent lives. Mesothelioma lawsuits are usually brought against these companies.

As one of the nation’s most recognized national mesothelioma law firms, Sokolove Law can fight on your behalf to hold these companies responsible.

“Don’t suffer because someone else was careless. We have gotten over $5 Billion from the companies that put profits ahead of people.”
– Attorney Jim Sokolove (Retired)

A mesothelioma legal claim may allow you to recover the financial compensation rightfully owed to you. This money can help pay for costs associated with your medical care and provide financial security for your family.

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Sokolove Law has over 45 years of experience handling mesothelioma legal claims. We have successfully filed thousands of claims and won billions for our clients. To learn how we can help you, call (800) 647-3434 to speak with our team.

Mesothelioma Types

Mesothelioma can develop in different parts of the body — often with only minor symptoms. If you are concerned that you could have been harmed by asbestos exposure, you should contact your doctor and bring up your exposure history.

If you or your loved one have already received a mesothelioma diagnosis, contact Sokolove Law now. You may qualify for compensation that can help pay for treatment and provide for your family.

Pleural Mesothelioma

Pleural mesothelioma is the most common of the mesothelioma types. It accounts for 75% of all mesothelioma cases.

Pleural mesothelioma develops in the lining of the lungs (also known as the pleura). The pleura helps reduce friction as the lungs work. There are two layers in the pleura with fluid in between them.

When asbestos fibers get lodged in the pleura, they can cause severe damage and scarring. This makes it harder for the pleura to do its job over time. The pleura may become thick, and the fluid may build up and leak into the lungs.

To treat pleural mesothelioma, doctors will first determine if the disease has spread. If the disease is contained to just the pleura, they may be able to remove the diseased portions.

In some cases, they may also remove parts of organs, like a lung, as a precaution.

Pleural Mesothelioma Symptoms

Despite the severity of the damage, symptoms of malignant pleural mesothelioma start mild and vague and can easily be mistaken for many other illnesses.

Depending on how advanced the cancer is, symptoms of pleural mesothelioma can include:

  • Chest pain
  • Coughing (with blood as the disease worsens)
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath

Patients with pleural mesothelioma may also experience pain in their shoulders, ribs, and upper back.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Peritoneal mesothelioma is another of the more common types of mesothelioma. This type makes up around 10-15% of all mesothelioma cases.

Peritoneal mesothelioma starts in the lining of the abdomen (the peritoneum). The peritoneum is a protective layer of tissue that covers the lining of major organs, including the stomach, large intestine, and small intestine.

Malignant peritoneal mesothelioma responds better to treatments compared to other mesothelioma types.

Most often, mesothelioma surgeons will perform cytoreductive surgery with heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy (CRS/HIPEC). This procedure removes cancerous tumors from the abdominal cavity and then bathes the surgery site in heated cancer-killing drugs.

However, cytoreduction with HIPEC may not be an option if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. In these cases, less aggressive mesothelioma treatment methods will likely be used to manage painful symptoms.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma Symptoms

Like symptoms for other mesothelioma types, these start mild and worsen over time.

Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma often include:

  • Abdominal pain and swelling
  • High fever
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pain
  • Seizures
  • Weight loss and loss of appetite

If you're experiencing these symptoms, be sure to mention them and your potential asbestos exposure history to your doctor. A biopsy is usually required to diagnose peritoneal mesothelioma and other types of asbestos cancers.

Pericardial Mesothelioma

Pericardial mesothelioma is one of the rarest mesothelioma types. About 350 cases have been reported in total. Pericardial mesothelioma develops in the lining of the heart (the pericardium).

If caught early, pericardial mesothelioma can be treated with a pericardiectomy. This removes the diseased part of the pericardium, where most of the cancer is.

However, if the cancer has spread, this will not be an option because it could put the patient’s life at risk.

Pericardial Mesothelioma Symptoms

Because this type of mesothelioma is so rare, scientists are still determining its exact causes and symptoms. Known symptoms are inflammation and fluid buildup in the pericardium from cancerous tumors.

Other symptoms of pericardial mesothelioma may include:

  • Chest pain
  • Fever
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Persistent cough

Pericardial mesothelioma has a poor life expectancy. Most patients require palliative care, as they are diagnosed with the disease after it has already spread.

Testicular Mesothelioma

Testicular mesothelioma develops in the lining of the testes, known as the tunica vaginalis. Over time, cancerous masses may develop on the testicles themselves.

Testicular mesothelioma is the rarest type. There were 289 cases of testicular mesothelioma reported from the early 1940s to 2018.

In nearly all cases, the cancer starts in one testicle before spreading. To treat testicular mesothelioma, doctors will typically remove the affected testicle. Chemotherapy may also be used if the cancer has spread, despite its limited effects.

Testicular mesothelioma has decent survival odds if it is caught early on. Recent data suggests that the median survival rate for patients is two years. In rare cases, some patients may live longer than five years after their first diagnosis.

Testicular Mesothelioma Symptoms

Much like pericardial mesothelioma, little is known about how this type develops or the entirety of its symptoms.

Reported symptoms of testicular mesothelioma include:

  • Fluid buildup in the scrotum
  • Swelling of the testicles
  • Thickening of tunica vaginalis

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Mesothelioma Cell Types

The cell type of mesothelioma also plays a role in how the cancer grows and spreads. When doctors analyze sample cells of the cancer under a microscope, they try to determine the type of cells present.

Mesothelioma patients may have one of the following three cell types:

1. Epithelioid Mesothelioma

The most common cell type of mesothelioma is epithelioid, which accounts for up to 70% of all cases. It is also the most treatable cell type of malignant mesothelioma cases.

Because the epithelial cell structure is well-defined, the cells tend to clump together as they grow. The result is a slower spread of cancer, which makes diseased cells easier to identify and remove.

As the most common cell type, more doctors have encountered epithelioid mesothelioma, and there is a more diverse range of cancer treatment options available. These factors tend to improve a patient’s life expectancy compared to other cell types of mesothelioma.

2. Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma

The least common cell type of mesothelioma is sarcomatoid, which accounts for 7-15% of all cases. It is also the least treatable mesothelioma cell type.

The cell structure of sarcomatoid mesothelioma is long and narrow, but it is not well defined. The “spindle-shaped” cells often grow without a discernable pattern and spread through soft tissue.

Due to the way it grows and spreads, sarcomatoid mesothelioma is harder to recognize and remove. The rarity of the cell type also poses problems in diagnosis because doctors have less experience identifying the disease.

3. Biphasic Mesothelioma

Mixed or biphasic mesothelioma includes both epithelioid and sarcomatoid cells and accounts for 10-20% of all cases.

To be classified as biphasic, at least 10% of each cell type must be present. For example, if 91% of cells identified were epithelioid, only 9% would be sarcomatoid. In this case, the cell type would simply be categorized as epithelioid.

The higher the percentage of epithelioid cells, the better the outlook for biphasic mesothelioma patients. This is because epithelioid mesothelioma is easier to detect, treat, and remove than sarcomatoid.

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The Outlook of a Mesothelioma Diagnosis

Sadly, there is no cure for any of the mesothelioma types. Treatments available for each type can extend a patient’s life expectancy. However, the effectiveness of a treatment depends on the particulars of each mesothelioma case.

The first thing to do is consult your doctor without delay if you are experiencing any worrisome symptoms.

Make sure to discuss your history of asbestos exposure. This can help healthcare professionals narrow down the cause of your symptoms and reduce the chances of a misdiagnosis.

Following a diagnosis, you may wish to consider talking with an experienced mesothelioma lawyer. For many people, receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis is a shock, which can mean they are unprepared to handle the financial impact.

$400,000

Average Yearly Cost of Mesothelioma Treatment

What happened to you is not fair — and it is not your fault. You should not be financially responsible for the costs of treatment.

Thankfully, billions of dollars in asbestos trust funds have been set aside for mesothelioma patients. This is because it has been well-established that many mesothelioma cases could have been prevented.

Mesothelioma compensation can help you protect your family’s financial security. Settlements for these cases award between $1 Million and $1.4 Million on average.

To get started, call (800) 647-3434 or fill out our contact form now for a free case review. The legal aid you need is waiting for you.

Mesothelioma Types FAQs

What is mesothelioma?

Malignant mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer that starts in the lining (mesothelium) surrounding the body’s organs. It is considered rare, affecting about 3,000 Americans per year.

The only known cause of mesothelioma is asbestos exposure. However, since symptoms usually don’t appear until 20-50 years after exposure.

As a result, many mesothelioma patients may not know how or where they were exposed. Often, it is on the job or during U.S. military service.

Don't know how you were exposed to asbestos? We can use our databases of evidence and decades of experience to figure that out for you. Call (800) 647-3434 now to get started — for free.

How does asbestos cause different types of mesothelioma?

Asbestos is a durable, fibrous mineral once commonly used in many construction and vehicle products. It was also widely used across all branches of the U.S. Military.

When asbestos-containing materials and products are disturbed, microscopic fibers enter the nearby air, putting people who inhale or swallow them at risk. Once inside the body, asbestos fibers can get lodged into tissues.

The fibers cannot naturally be broken down by the body, and over time they may cause damage at a cellular level. This damage can eventually lead to one of the types of mesothelioma.

Symptoms of all mesothelioma types usually don’t appear until 20-50 years after asbestos exposure.

Are there different types of mesothelioma?

Yes. Mesothelioma tumors grow in the linings of major organs (mesothelium), and which type depends on where the cancer started.

To diagnose mesothelioma, doctors will scan the affected area for signs of cancer and then take a biopsy (tissue sample) to look for cancer cells.

How many types of mesothelioma are there?

There are four different types of malignant mesothelioma. The mesothelioma types are determined by where in the body the cancer started.

What are the different types of mesothelioma?

There are four different types of mesothelioma based on where the cancer originates in the body:

  • Pleural mesothelioma (in the lining of the lungs or pleura)
  • Peritoneal mesothelioma (in the lining of the abdomen or peritoneum)
  • Pericardial mesothelioma (in the lining of the heart or pericardium)
  • Testicular mesothelioma (in the lining of the testes or tunica vaginalis)

If you've been diagnosed with any type of mesothelioma, asbestos lung cancer, or another asbestos-related diseases, contact Sokolove Law today.

You may be eligible for compensation that can help pay for treatment and provide for your family.

What is a rare form of mesothelioma?

Pericardial mesothelioma, which affects the lining of the heart, is one of the rare forms of mesothelioma, with about 350 total cases.

The rarest form is testicular mesothelioma, with nearly 290 reported cases.

What are the 4 stages of mesothelioma?

Categorizing cancer into four stages is a way to describe how much cancer is in the body. The lower numbers indicate it has not spread as much as the higher numbers.

The four stages vary between mesothelioma types but are generally:

  • Stage 1: Early tumor growth
  • Stage 2: Spreading has occurred to nearby lymph nodes
  • Stage 3: Cancer cells may have made it to organs and more distant parts of the body
  • Stage 4: Tumors may have formed in parts of the body other than the original location

Is stage 4 mesothelioma curable?

No. At stage 4, mesothelioma could have already spread to distant organs, like bones or the liver, according to the American Cancer Society.

Sadly, because the spreading is so extensive, there are few treatment options. However, mesothelioma treatment breakthroughs are happening across the country.

Talk to your doctor about your treatment options, including clinical trials with experimental drugs.

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  2. Malignant mesothelioma. American Cancer Society. (n.d.). Retrieved December 1, 2023, from https://www.cancer.org/cancer/malignant-mesothelioma.html
  3. Mesothelioma: Types, causes, symptoms & treatment. Cleveland Clinic. (n.d.). Retrieved November 30, 2023, from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/22432-mesothelioma
  4. Rao, N., & Wei, S. (2022, February 28). Mesothelioma. CytoJournal. Retrieved November 30, 2023, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9063505/
  5. Types of malignant mesothelioma. Patient Care at NYU Langone Health. (n.d.). Retrieved November 30, 2023, from https://nyulangone.org/conditions/malignant-mesothelioma/types
  6. Types of malignant mesothelioma. Patient Care at NYU Langone Health. (n.d.). Retrieved November 30, 2023, from https://nyulangone.org/conditions/malignant-mesothelioma/types