Of all the illnesses that can be caused by asbestos exposure, malignant mesothelioma is the most serious. In order to get the best outcome, the sooner you are diagnosed the better and an accurate diagnosis is a must. For your oncologist to offer you the best possible treatment protocol they have to determine what type of mesothelioma you have.
Here are the four most common types of malignant mesothelioma cancer:
#1 Pleural Mesothelioma is the most common of the mesothelioma cancers. The pleura is a thin membrane that lines the wall of the chest and the lungs.
After exposure to asbestos, it can take a decade for the disease to set in but it can take much longer for enough symptoms to manifest for a problem to be noticed and a diagnosis made.
Pleural mesothelioma can spread to nearby tissue including the heart, chest wall and abdomen. 75% of all mesotheliomas are pleural.
#2 Peritoneal Mesothelioma is the second most common of the mesothelioma cancers and one of the most aggressive. The peritoneum is a thin membrane that functions as a lubricating agent so that organs can shift during normal body functions without problems. Asbestos fibers can become lodged in the abdominal wall by being breathed in or inhaled. This type of mesothelioma is most common after exposure to friable asbestos (asbestos that can crumble when crushed by the hand). 20% of all mesotheliomas are peritoneal.
Asbestos fibers can become lodged in the abdominal wall by being breathed in or inhaled. This type of mesothelioma is most common after exposure to friable asbestos (asbestos that can crumble when crushed by the hand). 20% of all mesotheliomas are peritoneal.
#3 Pericardial Mesothelioma is the third most common of the mesothelioma cancers. The pericardium is the sac that holds the heart. Because there’s no direct pipeline from there to pathways where asbestos can be ingested or inhaled, doctors aren’t sure how asbestos fibers become lodged in the pericardium to cause the illness. One theory is that after the fibers are inhaled they enter the bloodstream and are taken into the heart. 1% of all mesotheliomas are pericardial.
One theory is that after the fibers are inhaled they enter the bloodstream and are taken into the heart. 1% of all mesotheliomas are pericardial.
#4 Testicular Mesothelioma is the rarest of the mesothelioma cancers and with peritoneal is one of the most aggressive forms of the disease. This cancer is typically not as a direct result of asbestos interacting with this part of the anatomy. Instead, it is more likely to be a secondary cancer when peritoneal mesothelioma spreads from the abdomen into adjacent areas of the body. Less than 1% of mesotheliomas are in this area.
Instead, it is more likely to be a secondary cancer when peritoneal mesothelioma spreads from the abdomen into adjacent areas of the body. Less than 1% of mesotheliomas are in this area.
Stages of Mesothelioma
In addition to diagnosing what type of mesothelioma you (or your loved one) have, your physician will assess what stage your illness is in. This will allow them to determine what course of treatment they will recommend in conjunction with other information such as your age and overall health condition.
Here are the stages of mesothelioma and what each means:
Stage 1 There are fewer symptoms at this stage (or perhaps none) and therefore fewer mesotheliomas are diagnosed at this early stage. At this point, cancer cells are just beginning to grow and the cancer has not yet begun to spread. There are more treatment options available at stage one.
Stage 2 Symptoms at this stage may be mild and not necessarily indicate cancer is present so there are less diagnoses made at this stage either. At this point, the cancer will have spread beyond the origin and may be present in lymph nodes near the original locations as well. There are still a number of treatment options available at stage two.
Stage 3 Symptoms at this stage will be more noticeable and will include moderate to severe chest pain and difficulty breathing. This stage is considered advanced and the difference between stage 3 and 4 in part is how far the cancer has spread from its origin. Treatment options at this stage are palliative (to relieve pain) and focused on extending your life.
Stage 4 Symptoms at this late stage include severe chest pain and serious breathing problems. This is the most advanced stage of the disease and more aggressive surgical treatment options are generally not recommended at this point. Palliative treatments are very important at this stage to ensure you are as comfortable as possible.
Contact Bergman Draper Oslund Today
If you (or a loved one) have been diagnosed with any type of mesothelioma, Bergman Draper Oslund can help. We focus strictly on mesothelioma cases and have extensive records of asbestos contamination sites in the Pacific Northwest. We can help you pursue a claim for your asbestos exposure. To date, we have recovered more than $700 million for asbestos victims like you (or your loved one). Contact us today for an immediate free consultation.