Mesothelioma Attorneys

Where Does Mesothelioma Occur?

Asbestos Cancer Attorney

Mesothelioma diagnosis can be very confusing for patients and their loved ones. One of the most confusing aspects is where the cancer occurs. Mesothelioma develops in the mesothelium, which is the membrane that surrounds your internal organs. As the cancer progresses, it can spread to other parts of the body. Typically, it will spread to nearby tissues, but it can get into the bloodstream or lymphatic system and spread to distant areas of the body.

The Mesothelium

Mesothelioma develops in the mesothelium. The mesothelium has different names in different areas of the body:

  • Pleura surrounds the lungs.
  • Peritoneum lines the abdominal cavity and surrounds the abdominal organs.
  • Tunica vaginalis is an outpouching of the peritoneum which surrounds the testis.
  • Pericardium is the sac around the heart.

Mesothelioma Growth and Spread

Mesothelioma can grow into the nearby tissues outside the mesothelium. The cancer cells can break off and enter the lymphatic system or the blood stream, travel to other parts of the body, and settle there. This is called metastasis. When this happens, the cancer cells are still cancerous mesothelium cells, rather than cancerous cells of the part of the body to which they have travelled.

In other words, when mesothelioma travels to the lungs, it does not become lung cancer. When it travels to the brain, it does not become brain cancer. It is still mesothelioma. On the surface, this may seem like a minor distinction, but it is of great significance both medically and legally.

No matter where they are located, the type of cancer cells determines the appropriate treatment. Lung cancer is treated differently to mesothelioma which has invaded the lung tissue. Legally, a mesothelioma diagnosis establishes the asbestos connection to your cancer, which other types of cancer diagnoses do not. Proving that asbestos caused your cancer is critical if you are seeking compensation for you illness.

Where Mesothelioma Can Occur

Ultimately, mesothelioma can spread throughout the body. By the final stage it may be found in the:

  • Lungs
  • Diaphragm
  • Kidneys
  • Adrenal glands
  • Liver
  • Heart
  • Ribs
  • Spine
  • Trachea
  • Esophagus
  • Lymph nodes
  • Brain