Mesothelioma Types

Mesothelioma is classified according to four types. The two most common are pleural and peritoneal, which make up about 90% of all cases. Rare mesothelioma types include pericardial and testicular.

Pleural Mesothelioma

Pleural mesothelioma occurs in the mesothelial lining of the lungs, which is known as the pleura. This type of mesothelioma is the most common form of the disease, and accounts for about 75% of diagnosis.

Symptoms of pleural mesothelioma include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Painful breathing
  • Dry or raspy, persistent cough
  • Coughing up blood
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Night sweats
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Lumps under the skin in the chest region
  • Pain in the lower back or rib area

Pleural mesothelioma progresses in four stages. Unfortunately, because patients may not experience symptoms early on, the disease is often diagnosed at an advanced stage.

Surgery, chemo and radiation are all used to treat pleural mesothelioma. Depending on the stage of the disease, treatment may be curative, which aims to reduce tumor cells. Or it may be palliative, in which symptom relief is the goal.

The life expectancy of someone with pleural mesothelioma is less than 18 months, but some patients live much longer.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma that develops in the lining of the abdomen is known as peritoneal mesothelioma. This form of the disease accounts for 20% of all cases.

Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include:

  • Abdominal pain or swelling
  • Diarrhea or constipation, or changes in bowel habits
  • Feeling of fullness
  • Night sweats
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Anemia
  • Fever
  • Fatigue

People with peritoneal mesothelioma have an average life expectancy of less than a year.  Survival rates for those in stage I or II of the disease are higher than those who have progressed to stages III or IV.

This mesothelioma type is difficult to treat because it can spread through the body quickly. However, one of the most promising therapies is a combination of surgery and heated chemotherapy, called HIPEC, which may increase survival by several years.

Pericardial Mesothelioma

Pericardia mesothelioma is a type of cancer that develops in the exterior lining of the heart, known as the pericardium. Only 1% of mesothelioma cases occur in this area.

Most people with pericardial mesothelioma will not experience any early symptoms. Symptoms that develop in the latter stages of the disease can resemble those of a heart condition, and may include:

  • Heart palpitations or arrhythmia
  • Difficulty breathing, even when resting
  • Hurt murmur
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath when lying flat
  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Night sweats

The prognosis for pericardial mesothelioma is poor compared to other forms of the disease. Between 50%and 60% of patients will die within six months of their diagnosis. Treatment options include pericardiectomy, chemotherapy, and palliative therapy.

Testicular Mesothelioma

Fewer than 1% of mesothelioma cases are testicular. This mesothelioma type develops in the tunica vaginalis, or the lining of the testes.

Few symptoms are known to be associated with this form of mesothelioma, owing to its rarity. However, one of the most common signs is a buildup of fluid in the scrotum called hydrocele. Some men might also notice a lump in their testicle. Treatment generally involves removing a portion of the affected testicle, or the entire testicle if needed. This may be followed by chemotherapy.

The prognosis for testicular mesothelioma is much better than other forms, with most studies reporting a median survival rate of 20 to 23 months.

Legal Help for Victims of Mesothelioma

Bernstein Liebhard LLP provides legal assistance to individuals with all types of mesothelioma. To discuss your case with one of our attorneys, please call (888) 994-5118.

Last Modified: June 23, 2016

Get the latest news and litigation updates about this case by following us on Facebook. Click the "Like" button below.


Follow Us on Google+ on Facebook on LinkedIn on Twitter on YouTube on Pinterest

Skip to content