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An overview of testicular mesothelioma

As a form of cancer, mesothelioma develops from exposure to asbestos. About 70 percent of patients who have mesothelioma get it in the lining of their lungs. However, New York patients might not realize that the cancer can also occur in the testicles as well as the abdomen and heart.

As the rarest form of this cancer, testicular mesothelioma has only been reported about 100 times. It can occur in the testicles when asbestos fibers travel through the body to the tunica vaginalis, which is the lining around the testicles. There is also a possibility that other factors cause the cancer to develop. Due to the small number of cases, however, there is little research and a lack of information about it.

Mesothelial cells comprise the tunica vaginalis. When asbestos fibers become trapped in the membrane, they irritate the cells, which form tumors. The body responds by increasing the thickness of the membrane, so fluid often builds up in the scrotum. The combination of fluid buildup and tumor formation leads to scrotum swelling.

Doctors often misdiagnose testicular mesothelioma because its symptoms are similar to that of a hernia. They treat patients for discomfort or pain in the testicles and typically order a CT scan or an ultrasound. In some cases, they do not make a correct diagnosis until during surgery. However, doctors can perform blood tests and a biopsy to give the most precise diagnosis.

With a proper diagnosis, the prognosis for patients with testicular mesothelioma is 20 to 23 months, which is better than for other mesothelioma cancers. Surgery could relieve the symptoms and extend life expectancy. Chemotherapy may also make the results of treatment better, and radiation therapy could kill cancerous cells to prevent reoccurrence. Despite this, testicular mesothelioma is a clinically aggressive cancer, so it spreads fast.

Doctors who do not perform the necessary tests to properly diagnose a disease could be held financially responsible for their errors. Patients who have been harmed in this manner may want to meet with an attorney to see if they could be successful in a malpractice action filed against the negligent physician.

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