Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer, with approximately 3,000 Americans diagnosed each year. There are different types of mesothelioma, depending on which area of the body is affected. The most common type is pleural mesothelioma, which affects the lining of the lungs. This type of mesothelioma accounts for about 75% of cases. The second-most common, peritoneal mesothelioma, affects the lining of the abdominal organs and cavity and accounts for approximately 10-20% of cases. Pericardial mesothelioma, which affects the heart sac, and testicular mesothelioma, which affects the lining of the testicles, are extremely rare and account for approximately 1% of cases each.
Here we will review two of the rarest forms of mesothelioma: omental mesothelioma and heterologous mesothelioma. There is limited information available on these conditions due to the rarity of cases, but we have gathered as much data as possible to provide helpful insight to those looking interested in learning more.
Omental mesothelioma develops in the omentum, an organ located in the abdomen in front of the intestine that stores fat and protects the stomach and liver. The omentum contains mesothelial cells, which may become cancerous. The omentum is covered by the peritoneum, and omental mesothelioma typically develops as a result of peritoneal mesothelioma that has spread to the omentum. In just a few cases, patients have developed primary omental mesothelioma, meaning the cancer originated in the omentum, but this is rare.
Symptoms of omental mesothelioma may be similar to peritoneal mesothelioma and may include loss of appetite, fatigue, abdominal pain and weight loss. In one reported case, a patient experienced lower back pain and no other symptoms.
The prognosis for omental mesothelioma may be poor, particularly because this is an aggressive form of cancer that may have already spread from the peritoneum to the omentum. Surgery may or may not be an option, depending on the location, size and number of tumors as well as the patient's health. Even after tumors have been surgically removed, a patient may have to undergo chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Treatment may also involve a combination of surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
Only a handful of cases categorized as heterologous mesothelioma have been recorded to date. With this form of mesothelioma, the tumors that develop contain foreign body tissue. For example, tumors may contain bone, soft tissue or cartilage, which would not normally be present in the mesothelium. There is still much to be learned about this type of cancer and how it develops.
Asbestos Exposure Attorneys
No matter what type of mesothelioma a person has been diagnosed with, it is likely that exposure to asbestos was the cause. Omental, heterologous and all other forms of mesothelioma have long latency periods, which may last up to 50 years or more, meaning asbestos exposure could have occurred back in the 1950s, 60s or 70s – before asbestos was regulated in the U.S. Our lawyers and support staff are familiar with handling cases such as this, investigating how and where asbestos exposure occurred in order to determine what party or parties may be held accountable.
Asbestos manufacturers may be held legally responsible for medical conditions experienced by their employees, consumers and others who have been exposed to asbestos or asbestos products. Members of the Navy, Army, Air Force and Marines may be eligible for VA benefits or other help for asbestos exposure that occurred while they were in service. By analyzing the particular situation, a mesothelioma attorney at Napoli Shkolnik PLLC can correctly determine what course of action to take.
Contact our law firm today to learn more.