Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects the mesothelium, the tissue that lines the body cavities. The mesothelium is made of an outer an inner layer. The inner layer surrounds the organs and the outer layer surrounds the body cavity. The cells in the mesothelium secrete a special type of fluid that acts as a lubricant between the two layers, allowing the organs to move smoothly against one another and against the cavity wall or other adjacent structures. When these cells grow abnormally, tumors may develop. Abnormal cell growth in the mesothelium is linked directly to inhalation, ingestion or other contact with asbestos.
Depending on what part of the body is affected, there are different types of mesothelioma that a patient may be diagnosed with. The symptoms, treatment options, survival rates and other factors will vary based upon the type. Here we have included a basic overview of the types of mesothelioma currently recognized by the medical community. You can learn more about how common each of these forms of cancer is, how they affect the body and what symptoms a patient may experience.
By far the most common form of mesothelioma, pleural mesothelioma occurs in approximately 75% of cases. This condition is caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibers, which become lodged in the lung tissue or the pleura, the lining of the lungs and lung cavity. A person suffering from pleural mesothelioma may experience such symptoms as chest pain, difficulty swallowing, shortness of breath or a persistent cough. The treatment options for pleural mesothelioma will vary depending on how far the cancer has progressed. If it is diagnosed early enough, it is possible that surgery will be effective in treating pleural mesothelioma, but every case is different.
Peritoneal mesothelioma develops in the peritoneum, the lining of the abdomen and abdominal organs. This is the second-most common type of mesothelioma, affecting approximately 10-20% of patients. Ingested asbestos fibers may cause this condition, as they become lodged in the peritoneum and eventually lead to the development of cancerous cells. Abdominal pain and swelling, weight loss, nausea, constipation, diarrhea and fatigue are all symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma. Treatment may be difficult because of the faster growth rate for cancerous cells in the peritoneum as opposed to other areas.
Affecting approximately 1% of patients diagnosed with mesothelioma, pericardial mesothelioma affects the pericardium, the exterior lining of the heart. When cancerous cells develop in the pericardium, excess fluid builds up and leads to the following symptoms: irregular heartbeat, heart murmur, chest pain, difficulty breathing, persistent cough and fatigue. Surgery for this type of mesothelioma is particularly complex because of the proximity of the tumors to the heart.
Testicular mesothelioma affects less than 1% of patients. With this type of mesothelioma, cancer develops in the lining of the testes. A patient may experience swelling of the scrotum and testicular lumps. Surgery to remove part of or the entire affected testicle may be recommended, or a combination of surgery and chemotherapy/radiation therapy.
This type of mesothelioma develops in the omentum, a sheet of fatty tissue that hangs in front of the intestines. Omental mesothelioma may occur when peritoneal mesothelioma spreads to the omentum, though there are a few cases of primary omental mesothelioma that originated in the omentum. This is an extremely rare form of mesothelioma; therefore we do not have much information regarding symptoms, survival rates and viable treatment options.
Weighing your legal options? Call a mesothelioma lawyer.
A diagnosis of any type of mesothelioma may mean that you have only a limited time left with your family. You may face expensive medical care including diagnostic tests, surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and more. Recovering financial compensation for your medical expenses as well as for lost earnings, loss of future earnings and even emotional trauma such as pain and suffering can make a big difference for you and your family in the years to come. The team at Napoli Shkolnik PLLC is ready to fight for the fair compensation you deserve.
Mesothelioma lawsuits can be complicated and are best handled by a team that is experienced in dealing with the particular issues that may arise, such as the need to recover compensation from a bankruptcy trust fund because the at-fault party is no longer in business. Any type of mesothelioma may not present for decades after initial exposure, and some of the asbestos manufacturers that were in business in the 50s, 60s and 70s may not be around anymore. Some had to file for bankruptcy due to the volume of lawsuits they were facing, but while in bankruptcy protection they were made to set up trust funds to provide compensation for future plaintiffs.
The attorneys at our firm are well-prepared to handle even the most complex asbestos lawsuit. We exclusively represent plaintiffs (injured parties and their families or representatives) in these matters and have recovered more than $3 billion for our clients since 2000 alone.