Depending on the place where the mesothelioma develops you will have it named by that location after diagnosis. If for example, you have mesothelioma developing in the pleural lining of the lungs, it will be referred to as pleural mesothelioma. The four types of this form of cancer based on location are: 1,2,3,5
- Pleural – occurring in lungs
- Peritoneal- occurring in abdomen
- Pericardial- occurring in heart
- Testicular – occurring in testes
In the United States there are about 2500 to 3200 incidents of mesothelioma being diagnosed every year and the most common is pleural mesothelioma that accounts for about 75 percent of all cases of mesothelioma. Peritoneal mesothelioma come second with incidents of about 10 to 20 percent, and the third form of mesothelioma is that of pericardial which accounts only for about 1 percent. Testicular mesothelioma cases are rare and account for less than 1 percent.
It is important to note that incidents may vary from one year to another. Looking at a study4 conducted in 2015, it indicated that pleural mesothelioma had a percentage of 85% from the data picked from 2003 to 2008. Peritoneal mesothelioma had an incidence of 7 percent in people aged 65 years and above.
The most common type of mesothelioma, pleural affects the lining tissue of a person’s lungs. In its early stages, it is usually asymptomatic though a patient may have persistent pain felt in their chest. The patient may also have fever and weight loss. Severe symptoms may present as the cancer progresses and they include:
- Shortness of breath
- Persistent dry cough
- Difficulty swallowing
- Night sweats
In most cases, mesothelioma is often overlooked – reason being, it cannot be diagnosed by use of serum markers. Again, people who have mesothelioma tend to have very poor survival rate. It is estimated that only about 8 percent of patients diagnosed with the cancer will live for three to five years. Most patients die within 12 months and 18 months. While treatment is based on the stage of your cancer, it is mostly palliative. Nonetheless, if the cancer is detected early enough, treatment methods such as radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and surgery could be applied.
This type of mesothelioma attacks the lining of an individual’s abdomen and spreads to other areas including the spleen, liver, and bowel. A patient will have severe abdominal pain and sometimes, the abdomen wall has fluid that builds up. Other symptoms that manifest in later stages are:
- Difficulty passing stools
- Weight loss
- Swollen feet
There is poor prognosis for this type of mesothelioma and on overage, people having the cancer survive for about 10 months after their first symptoms and in most cases, they die even before they have received a diagnosis. At other times, patients may survive longer. Because the cancer spreads very quickly, there are fewer options of treatment, but heated chemotherapy shows promising results.
Although very rare, pericardial mesothelioma affects the tissue lining of an individual’s heart. It tends to progress fast making the heart to be inefficient in delivering oxygen to the other parts of a person’s body. The most common treatment method is palliative care, and since the tumors develop around the heart, it’s unlikely that they can be removed through surgery. The overall health of a patient declines pretty fast. The symptoms resemble those of heart attack:
- Irregular heartbeat
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Night sweats
A very rare form of mesothelioma, and it develops within the lining of a person’s testes or tunica vaginalis. This type of mesothelioma is associated with men and in incidence, only about less than 1 percent cases of mesothelioma are testicular. The cancer is almost asymptomatic with its detection occurring when a patient is receiving treatment or surgery for some other different condition. The symptoms include:
- Swelling of the scrotum
- Painless lumps forming on either or both testicles
Diagnosis of testicular mesothelioma may not occur until a patient has noticeable lumps. The good thing is that with this type of cancer, it tends to have better prognosis. Doctors can remove the affected testicles through surgery. The patient may receive chemotherapy and radiotherapy, both of which prove to be successful.
- Types of Mesothelioma. https://www.mesothelioma.com/mesothelioma/types/
- Different Types of Mesothelioma Cancer. https://www.mesotheliomatreatmentcenters.org/mesothelioma-cancer/types-of-mesothelioma/
- Mesothelioma incidence in 50 states and the District of Columbia, United States, 2003–2008. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4406225/