What are the Types of Mesothelioma?
There are different ways to classify mesothelioma, a fatal cancer caused by asbestos exposure. They depend on where the mesothelioma’s located and the kinds of cells that make up the disease.
Where Does Mesothelioma Develop?
Mesothelioma can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (a type of cancer). There are two primary malignant mesothelioma types – pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma. They are both very rare, but two others, pericardial and testicular mesothelioma, are even more so.
- Pleural mesothelioma is a cancer of the chest and lung lining (the pleura) and is the most common, accounting for more than three-quarters of all diagnoses. Cellular genetic changes due to asbestos fibers cause mesothelioma. The pleura thickens, preventing the lungs and chest from expanding. Fluid may also build up in the chest cavity. Those with this type of mesothelioma often develop chest pain, a dry cough, and shortness of breath. People with the disease may initially be diagnosed with pneumonia, delaying an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment
- Peritoneal mesothelioma is in the abdomen’s lining (the peritoneum) and makes up about 15 to 20 percent of mesothelioma cases. Someone with this type of mesothelioma may have swallowed asbestos fibers that are trapped in the peritoneum. Inhaled fibers may also reach the peritoneum through the lymphatic system. This is part of our immune system, which drains fluid from our organs. Malignant pleural mesothelioma could also spread from the lungs to the abdominal cavity
- Pericardial mesothelioma is in the heart’s lining (the pericardium). These cases account for only one to two percent of mesothelioma diagnoses
- Testicular mesothelioma is in the membrane lining the testes. Only about 250 cases are documented
You may undergo several tests, scans, and a biopsy before getting a final diagnosis.
What are Mesothelioma’s Cell Types?
As part of diagnosing mesothelioma, physicians will determine its histological (or cell) subtype. Mesothelioma of different cell types behaves and responds to treatment differently, so knowing this information is essential when deciding which treatment to pursue.
The main mesothelioma histological subtypes include:
- Epithelial: About half of all mesothelioma cases are of this subtype, making it the most common. It’s also the most responsive to treatment. Sheet-like epithelial cells are the most common cells in your body
- Sarcomatoid: This rapidly-dividing cell type may be difficult to treat. Sarcomatoid cells are the least common in the body, and this subtype makes up ten to 20 percent of cases. These cells are likely to move about your body because their shape makes it harder for them to stick together, making this mesothelioma subtype more dangerous
- Biphasic (or mixed): This involves epithelial and sarcomatoid mesothelioma cells. This subtype makes up about 30 to 40 percent of cases. The more epithelial cells there are in a tumor, the more likely it’ll respond to treatment
- Papillary: This is a rare cell subtype most frequently seen in peritoneal mesotheliomas. Patients with this subtype have a better prognosis than others
These cell subtypes are determined after a pathologist examines a tumor sample or fluid from the affected area.
Satterley & Kelley, PLLC are Here to Help You and Your Family
Asbestos probably caused your mesothelioma. You may qualify for compensation that will help you and your family now and in the future. We will work with your treatment team to document your condition, discuss your asbestos exposure to you, and submit a mesothelioma claim that might ease your financial burdens.