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Mesothelioma Diagnosis

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer where malignant cells are found in the protective sacs that covers the body’s internal organs.  This sac is called the mesothelium.  There are four basic types of mesothelioma.

  • Pleural Mesothelioma – Lung
  • Peritoneal Mesothlioma – Abdomen
  • Percardial Mesothelioma – Heart
  • Testicular (Tunica Vaginilas) Mesothelioma – Testicles

Over 3,000 new cases of Mesothelioma are diagnosed each year in the United States (making up about 3 % of all cancer diagnoses). Pleural Mesothelioma is the most common type.  Here, the cancer develops in the lining of the lungs causing the build up of fluid.  This fluid puts pressure on the lungs, making it difficult and painful to breath.  Pleural mesothelioma can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms can take several years to develop, and are easily mistaken for other diseases like pneumonia.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma is less common, and develops in the abdomen.  As the cancerous cells begin to thicken, fluid builds up and tumors start to form.  This often results in stomach pain, nausea and changes in bowel habits.

Percardial Mesothelioma is one of the rarest forms of mesothelioma, accounting for less than 6% of all cases.  Percardial tumors tend to cover most of the heart.   People diagnosed with pericardial mesothelioma are typically not good candidates for surgical procedures, and instead rely on palliative treatments to help relieve pain and improve quality of life.

Testicular Mesothelioma is the rarest form, accounting for less than 100 cases reported worldwide.  Here, the cancer develops in the membraneous lining surrounding the testicle.

Mesothelioma occurs more frequently in men than in woman (almost 4 times more).