What are the four types of Mesothelioma and the symptoms of each?

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Mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer that affects the tissues lining the chest cavity, abdomen, heart, and many of a person’s internal organs. This tissue lining is called mesothelium and is made up of mesothelial cells, thus the name for the cancer. The primary risk factor for mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos, which can be found Mesotheliomain common industrial and household materials such as insulation, floor tiles, shingles, and auto parts.

Physicians categorize mesothelioma into four types, which are based on where in the body the cancer is found. Symptoms and treatments vary depending on the type of mesothelioma a person is diagnosed with, but unfortunately there is no cure.


Pleural mesothelioma is the most common type of the disease. In fact, the American Cancer Society reports that about 75 percent of mesothelioma cases are categorized as pleural. This type of mesothelioma affects the chest cavity and the tissue around the lungs.

Symptoms of pleural mesothelioma include:

Pain under the rib cage

  • Coughing that is painful, dry, or persistent
  • Shortness of breath
  • Lumps under the skin on the chest
  • Weight loss
  • Fever or excessive sweating
  • Fatigue

Pleural mesothelioma is the most common type of mesothelioma because when materials containing asbestos are disturbed, the asbestos fibers go airborne and are most often inhaled. This means that a factory or construction worker does not have to be working directly with asbestos insulation or other building materials to develop mesothelioma; people who are just in the vicinity of asbestos products can inhale the fibers and develop cancer.

Treatment options for pleural mesothelioma vary depending on how advanced the disease is when a person in diagnosed. However, because mesothelioma can take 10 to 60 years to develop, the cancer is often advanced by the time a person is diagnosed. Unfortunately, there is no cure for pleural mesothelioma, and the disease is often fatal. However, the following treatments may extend a patient’s life:

  • Surgery to remove the bulk of the cancer, the affected lung, or the tissue around the lung
  • Insertion of a tube in the chest to reduce fluid build-up
  • Chemotherapy to kill cancer cells
  • Radiation to target specific concentrations of the cancer
  • Clinical trials to experiment with new treatment methods such as targeted, biological, or gene therapy


Peritoneal mesothelioma is the second-most common type of mesothelioma, affecting the tissue lining the abdominal cavity and surrounding abdominal organs.

Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include:

  • Pain or swelling in the abdominal area
  • Lumps in the abdomen
  • Constipation or intestinal obstruction
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Weight loss

Peritoneal mesothelioma is most often caused when a person ingests asbestos fibers, which then lodge in the organs in the abdomen. Treatment for this type of mesothelioma can be complicated due to the complex connections among organs in this part of the body. Treatment options, which vary depending on the stage of the cancer, include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and other post-surgery treatments.


Pericardial mesothelioma is a rare form of mesothelioma, accounting for about 5 percent of new cases each year, according to the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation. It affects the tissue around the heart, with symptoms including difficulty breathing, chest pains, fluid in the sac surrounding the heart, coughing, and heart palpitations. Exposure to asbestos is again the culprit in causing pericardial mesothelioma, although it is unclear how exactly the fibers make their way to the pericardial area. Treatment options include radiation and chemotherapy.


Testicular mesothelioma, also called mesothelioma of tunica vaginalis, is also very rare. It affects the tissue around the testicles. Due to the rarity of this type of mesothelioma, symptoms are not clearly defined, although the most common reported signs are a lump or swelling in the testicle. Exposure to asbestos is the determining cause of testicular mesothelioma, and the standard treatment is radical orchiectomy, which involves removing the testicle(s).


Mesothelioma is a devastating cancer with no cure, but it has a definite cause: Asbestos exposure affects people throughout Louisiana, including those who work in factories, oil refineries, construction sites, shipyards, textile mills, and salt plants. Even loved ones of these workers can be exposed when asbestos fibers are transferred from clothing or uniforms.

Remember that it can take 10 to 60 years for mesothelioma to develop, which means a person may need to think back decades to determine how and where they were exposed to the asbestos. However, victims of mesothelioma have limited time to take action.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact the attorneys at the Louisiana law firm of Neblett, Beard & Arsenault right away. The attorneys at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault represent mesothelioma victims throughout the state of Louisiana and can assist you immediately. Our attorneys are adept at handling these types of complicated legal claims and ensuring expedited access to Social Security Disability benefits.

You can contact us online or call us directly at 318.541.8188 for your free consultation.



American Cancer Society

Richard J. Arsenault
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Recognized by several legal associations, Richard Arsenault has vast experience in complex litigation cases.