Understanding your mesothelioma diagnosis can help you feel more prepared for treatment and recovery. Learning about what’s happening inside your body can help take the fear out of the process and make it easier for you to take a more proactive role in your care. At Moffitt Cancer Center, we’re here to help with anything you need to know.
Many of our patients ask us, “What is mesothelioma?” Simply put, it’s a relatively rare cancer that affects the lining of the chest or the abdomen. (On occasion, it can affect the lining of the heart or the lining of the testicles.) It is most often caused by asbestos exposure, and it is named for the mesothelium, the membrane in which it develops. Some patients also ask us about the words “pleural,” “peritoneal,” “pericardial” and “testicular”, which are used as part of their diagnosis. These terms refer to the different types of mesothelioma and indicate where in the body the cancer started.
- Pleural mesothelioma develops in the lining of the lungs
- Peritoneal mesothelioma develops in the lining of the stomach cavity
- Pericardial mesothelioma develops in the lining of the heart
- Testicular mesothelioma develops in the lining of the testicles
Patients also ask for help in understanding their mesothelioma cell types. Sometimes known as histological subtypes, these designations include:
- Epithelial mesothelioma, which is most common and more receptive to treatment
- Sarcomatoid mesothelioma, which is rarer and more aggressive
- Mixed-type mesothelioma, which is a combination of epithelial and sarcomatoid cells
Papillary mesothelioma, which can occur with peritoneal mesothelioma and has a more favorable prognosis.
At Moffitt Cancer Center, there’s no such thing as a stupid question. If you (or a loved one) needs help with understanding your mesothelioma diagnosis, give us a call. Our oncologists specialize in treating all forms of mesothelioma, and would be happy to help you understand your diagnosis, prognosis, or treatment options.