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Mesothelioma Types

Pleural Mesothelioma, Peritoneal Mesothelioma, and Pericardial Mesothelioma

Malignant mesothelioma is a serious type of asbestos cancer. This rare disease is three times more common in men than women and commonly develops when a person is between 50 and 70 years old.

There are three types of malignant mesothelioma, each of which affects a different serous membrane (a type of membrane that lines certain body cavities):

  • Pleural Mesothelioma affects the pleura, the serous membrane lining the lungs.
  • Peritoneal Mesothelioma affects the peritoneum, the serous membrane lining the abdomen.
  • Pericardial Mesothelioma affects the pericardium, the serous membrane lining the heart sac.

Pleural Mesothelioma

Pleural mesothelioma is the most common type of malignant mesothelioma. Pleural mesothelioma accounts for 75 percent of all confirmed cases. Pleural mesothelioma is often inaccurately labeled a lung cancer because of its proximity to the lungs. Whereas lung cancer affects the lung tissue, pleural mesothelioma affects the tissue that encases the lungs (pleura).

The most common presenting symptoms of pleural mesothelioma are shortness of breath and chest pain. Pleural mesothelioma symptoms mimic those of a number of other lung conditions and diseases, including asthma, bronchitis and pneumonia. As a result, pleural mesothelioma is occasionally misdiagnosed as one of these symptomatically similar conditions.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Peritoneal mesothelioma is the second most common type of malignant mesothelioma, accounting for 10 to 20 percent of all confirmed cases. Peritoneal mesothelioma is caused by asbestos fibers that become lodged in the peritoneal lining of the abdomen.

Peritoneal mesothelioma researchers are still learning how asbestos fibers manage to reach the peritoneum, recent research indicates fibers may be ingested as well as inhaled. Researchers believe that ingested asbestos fibers travel through the digestive tract and settle in the peritoneum, where they develop into mesothelioma tumors.

The most common presenting symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma are abdominal swelling and discomfort. Both of these symptoms are caused by fluid buildup within the peritoneal space.

Pericardial Mesothelioma

Pericardial mesothelioma is the least common type of malignant mesothelioma, accounting for less than 10 percent of all confirmed cases. The most common presenting symptom of pericardial mesothelioma is chest pain. This can be the result of an irregular heartbeat caused by fluid accumulation in the pericardial space.

Mesothelioma Cell Types

As part of the diagnostic process, malignant mesothelioma is further classified based on cellular structure. The three most common categories are:

  • Epithelioid mesothelioma: Epithelioid cellular structure is the most common for malignant mesothelioma. Epithelioid cells are relatively uniform in shape.
  • Sarcomatoid mesothelioma: The sarcomatoid cellular structure accounts for less than 15 percent of mesothelioma cancer cells, making it the least common type. Sarcomatoid cells are oval shaped and more irregular.
  • Biphasic mesothelioma: The biphasic category refers to a combination of epithelioid and sarcomatoid cancer cells.

By understanding the histology (structure) of malignant mesothelioma, specialists are better able to diagnose the severity of the disease and map out a treatment plan.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact an attorney at Levin Simes. Complete the free consultation form on this page or call us at 1-888-426-4156.

Pleural Mesothelioma, Peritoneal Mesothelioma, and Pericardial Mesothelioma Diagnosis

By understanding the histology (structure) of malignant mesothelioma, specialists are better able to diagnose the severity of the disease and map out a treatment plan.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma, peritoneal mesothelioma, pericardial mesothelioma, contact an attorney at Levin Simes. Complete the free consultation form on this page or call us at 1-888-426-4156.

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