Mesothelioma Attorneys

Types

Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure. It affects the mesothelium which is the lining which surrounds your internal organs. It is generally categorized by the area of the body which is affected. There are also different subtypes of the cancer itself, referring to the type of cancer cells rather than where they are found. To confuse the issue further, non-cancer tumors of the mesothelium are sometimes referred to as benign mesothelioma.

Malignant or Benign

Malignant means cancerous. Benign means non-cancerous. Malignant mesothelioma is typically referred to simply as mesothelioma. Benign mesothelioma involves non-cancerous tumors. It responds well to treatment, but can cause very dangerous health problems if left untreated. Benign mesothelioma often occurs much sooner after asbestos exposure than malignant mesothelioma and can be a warning sign that you and your doctor need to be on the lookout for the cancer.

Areas of the Body

Mesothelioma is categorized by the area of the body which it affects. You can have more than one of these types of mesothelioma at the same time:

Pleural. The most common type of mesothelioma is pleural mesothelioma. It affects the pleura, which is the lining around the lungs.

Peritoneal. Peritoneal mesothelioma affects the protective membrane which surrounds and lubricates the abdominal organs. It affects about 10% to 20% of mesothelioma patients.

Pericardial. When mesothelioma attacks the protective sac around the heart it is called pericardial mesothelioma. It is thought to account for about one to six percent of mesothelioma.

Testicular. Testicular mesothelioma is very rare. It occurs in tunica vaginalis which is an outpouching of the peritoneum.

Mesothelioma Subtypes

There are two different types of mesothelioma cancer cells. Epithelioid is the most common and responds better to cancer treatment. Sarcomatoid mesothelioma cells are far less common, but more dangerous. If you have both types of mesothelioma cells it is called biphasic or mixed mesothelioma. Epithelioid and sacromatoid mesothelioma cells look very different to each other under the microscope, but they can be more easily confused with other types of cancer cells leading to misdiagnosis.

Papillary mesothelioma is a very rare variant of epithelioid mesothelioma. It is also called well-differentiated papillary mesothelioma (WDPM). Papillary mesothelioma is very unlike most types of mesothelioma. It is unlikely to spread and has a low potential for malignancy.