What is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a kind of cancer that is named after the specific tissue where the cancer begins- the mesothelium. The mesothelium is a tissue that lines several internal body cavities. Pleural Mesothelioma and Peritoneal Mesothelioma are the most common types of Mesothelioma and comprise about 90% of the cases. Paricardial Mesothelioma and Testicular Mesothelioma are two less common types of Mesothelioma. In the United States, alone, over 3,000 people a year are diagnosed with Mesothelioma, which encompasses about 3% of all cancer patients. The life expectancy of Mesothelioma patients depends on how early it is diagnosed and how aggressively it is treated.

Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos fibers which become ingested and lodged in the mesothelium and result in an infection. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was mined and milled and was then used in many commercial and consumer products including construction materials such as cement, roofing shingles and insulation, and consumer and industrial applications such as hair dryers, automobile brake pads and pipe insulation.

Mesothelioma Types

Pleural Mesothelioma: originates in the lining of the lungs, called the pleura. This is the most common type of Mesothelioma and represents approximately 75% of cases reported. Pleural Mesothelioma most commonly occurs in males age 60-80 who have a history of asbestos exposure.

When pleural Mesothelioma begins, it appears as a series of small white nodules that start to grow together and thicken, forming a “rind” that encases the lung and extends into other parts of the lung and diaphragm. The tumor spreads by invading the surrounding tissue thereby inwardly compressing the lung and outwardly invading the chest wall and ribs.

Based on several factors, various treatment options may be prescribed depending on the stage of the cancer when it is diagnosed. Surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy (or combinations of all three, known as trimodal therapy) are potential options that the physician will explore.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma: occurs in the lining of the abdominal cavity, called the peritoneal membrane. Peritoneal Mesothelioma represents a low percentage of reported cases.

Symptoms include abdominal pain, abdominal mass, increased abdominal girth, distention of the abdomen, ascites (fluid in the abdomen), fever, weight loss, fatigue, anemia and digestive disturbances. Multimodality treatment of peritoneal Mesothelioma has become more common for certain patients as surgery alone and/or intraperitoneal chemotherapy alone have proven to be similarly ineffective. Cytoreductive (debulking) surgery involves the removal of all or nearly all visible tumor, and, the physician may combine the surgery with Intra-Peritoneal Hyperthermic Chemotherapy (IPHC), intraperitoneal chemotherapy and/or radiation.

Pericardial Mesothelioma: occurs in the lining of the heart, called the pericardium. This represents approximately 5% of cases reported. Pericardial Mesothelioma is a rare form of Mesothelioma and is normally caused by an extended amount of exposure to asbestos. Those who have been diagnosed with pericardial Mesothelioma have developed cancerous tissues around the lining that surrounds the heart.

Radiation is the number one method used to treat this type of rare cancer because it has proven to be most effective in many patients although chemotherapy is also used. Some doctors prefer surgery to remove the cancerous cells in an effort to make the patient more comfortable.

Fine needle aspiration is also an effective procedure used in these type of cases as it is a low risk and helps to relieve pain and discomfort of patients with the symptoms and side effects of Mesothelioma.

Testicular Mesothelioma: occurs in the membranous lining that surrounds the testicles called the “tunica vaginalis which provides protection and support for the testis. Testicular Mesothelioma is the rarest form of malignant Mesothelioma caused by asbestos exposure. To date, less than one hundred cases of this type of Mesothelioma have been reported.

In most Testicular Mesothelioma cases, noticeable symptoms have been confined to the appearance of testicular lumps and swelling of the scrotum. Testicular Mesothelioma is not usually diagnosed until these lumps appear. Testicular Mesothelioma may be secondary to a primary tumor located in the abdomen.

Treatment of Testicular Mesothelioma depends on the extent of the cancer. Typically removal of a portion of one testicle, or even an entire testicle, may be necessary. Treatment may be followed by chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

Unfortunately, not all methods mentioned above are suitable for all persons diagnosed with Mesothelioma. Different techniques and treatments should be discussed with a trusted physician experienced in the treatment of Mesothelioma.

Legal Issues

Many employers and product manufacturers widely used asbestos in various industries and negligently failed to provide adequate warnings regarding the risks of asbestos exposure. These employers also may not take adequate measures to protect the workers from products containing asbestos. As a result of such conduct, Mesothelioma victims can file a claim or lawsuit to seek money damages to compensate them for lost income, medical bills, various other damages and pain and suffering endured by those who have the disease.

Who May File a Mesothelioma Claim or Lawsuit?

Anyone diagnosed with mesothelioma can file a claim or lawsuit to recover damages for the injuries and losses they have suffered due to their contracting Mesothelioma.

There is a large body of evidence against asbestos manufacturers that results in most cases settling before Trial. However, Berglund & Johnson Trial Lawyers will aggressively pursue your case through Trial, if necessary, should Trial be required to obtain fair and just compensation for your injuries.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Mesothelioma, call Berglund & Johnson to discuss whether you have a potential case that can be pursued on your behalf. We are very attentive, compassionate and experienced in these types of cases. You will want to start the legal process as soon as you can. Call 1-800-4-IF-HURT ; 1-800-443-4878 today.