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Pericardial Mesothelioma Causes, Symptoms, Prognosis and Legal Help

Definition: Pericardial mesothelioma is the least common type of mesothelioma cancer. It affects the pericardium, the thin membrane that surrounds the heart.

Causes: What causes pericardial mesothelioma is not yet fully understood, but many cases reported that a triggering factor was inhaling asbestos fibers.

Frequency: Pericardial mesothelioma is the third most common form of asbestos-related cancer. It accounts for only 1-2% of all mesothelioma cases, with less than 50 people being diagnosed yearly in the United States.

Symptoms: Symptoms of pericardial mesothelioma can closely resemble those of other heart conditions. A thorough examination is required to rule out possibilities.

Stages: Pericardial mesothelioma doesn't have an official staging system in place, given the rarity of this disease. Instead, a more typical cancer staging system exists, to help doctors accurately diagnose the illness.

Diagnosis: Pericardial mesothelioma is diagnosed in the same manner as the other forms of mesothelioma, via imaging scans and biopsies.

Treatments: Over the years, multiple procedures have been developed to help patients with pericardial mesothelioma live longer.

Prognosis: Mesothelioma life expectancy often ranges from about 6 to 21 months. However, there are many factors that contribute to life expectancy and each patient is unique. Through treatment and healthy habits some patients can outlive their prognosis significantly. The patient's overall health and age are also significant factors in the prognosis.

Legal Options: In many cases, Flint Law Firm can get compensation quickly (few short monthss) that can help with medical bills, copays, travel costs for treatment, and other unanticipated expenses.

Pericardial Mesothelioma Causes

Unlike pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma, where there are very clear indicators as to how asbestos fibers travel through the body and cause harm, pericardial mesothelioma leaves researchers baffled. It is very unclear how asbestos fibers can migrate to the lining of the heart and cause pericardial mesothelioma. Only 25% of people with this diagnosis have a history of asbestos exposure.

Many mesothelioma experts argue that pericardial mesothelioma is caused by the metastasis of the other types of mesothelioma cancer (pleural and peritoneal). Mesothelioma cancer affecting the heart lining exclusively has been observed in very few instances.

Pericardial Mesothelioma Symptoms

The symptoms of pericardial mesothelioma are mostly undetectable or are easily explained away by more common heart conditions. Due to the localization of pericardial mesothelioma, severe symptoms can manifest in the early stages of the disease.

Symptoms Include:

  • Chest pain
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Heart murmurs
  • Tachycardia (rapid heartbeat)
  • Arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat)
  • Pericardial effusion (fluid buildup around the heart)
  • Hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • Cardiac failure
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Night Sweats

Pericardial Mesothelioma Stages

An unofficial staging system has been put in place for pericardial mesothelioma. This helps doctors decide on a course of action regarding treatment. Only early-stage patients can benefit from surgery, and late-stage patients fall back on chemotherapy and palliative treatment.

Stage 1

Stage 1 Pericardial Mesothelioma

Pericardial mesothelioma in stage 1 is localized within the pericardium and has not metastasized to other nearby tissues yet. At this stage, surgery is possible and sometimes even recommended.

Stage 2

Stage 2 Pericardial Mesothelioma

In stage 2, pericardial mesothelioma is still localized, but may have spread to nearby tissues and lymph nodes. Surgery is still a viable option at this point, but it largely depends on the general health of the patient.

Stage 3

Stage 3 Pericardial Mesothelioma

Stage 3 is characterized by cancer spreading beyond the initial tumor formation, but it is still localized to only one side of the body. Lymph nodes are very likely to have been affected by cancerous cells at this point.

Stage 4

Stage 4 Pericardial Mesothelioma

At stage 4, pericardial mesothelioma has already metastasized throughout the body. Only palliative treatment options can be pursued at this stage of cancer, and life expectancy drops significantly.

Diagnosing Pericardial Mesothelioma

Diagnosing Pericardial Mesothelioma

More often than not, pericardial mesothelioma is diagnosed when investigating heart conditions with similar symptoms. This happens because doctors are usually not aware of the working history of patients. If asbestos exposure is known to have occurred, doctors then proceed with diagnostic tests.

First, imaging scans help to determine the source of the symptoms. If doctors believe it is cancer, then a biopsy is performed to determine the type of cancer. Together, these tests help doctors determine the best course of action to help the patient.

Pericardial Mesothelioma Treatments

Treatments for pericardial mesothelioma are not as advanced or studied such as those for pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma. Due to the rarity of pericardial mesothelioma, treatment for this disease only include two types of surgery and chemotherapy.

01. Surgery

Surgery is available for pericardial mesothelioma patients with an early stage of cancer. The surgical procedure meant for removing tumor masses can only be done when cancer hasn't spread outside the pericardium.

Pericardiectomy

This surgical procedure removes the pericardium partially or entirely. How much heart lining tissue is removed is based on how far peritoneal mesothelioma has spread. Usually, only early-stage patients can undergo this procedure.

Pericardiocentesis

This surgical procedure removes the pericardium partially or entirely. How much heart lining tissue is removed is based on how far peritoneal mesothelioma has spread to other areas of the body. Usually, only early-stage patients can undergo this procedure.

02. Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy has shown results in patients of pericardial mesothelioma who could no longer be viable for surgery. Chemotherapy helps slow tumor growth and combats cancer progression.

Pericardial Mesothelioma Prognosis

Due to the rarity of this disease, many patients are usually diagnosed too late or until after they pass away. This unfortunate reality gives pericardial mesothelioma patients the worst prognostic out of all mesothelioma cancers. It affects the tissue surrounding a vital organ, and early diagnosis is extremely difficult.

Treatment plans for pericardial mesothelioma are not very advanced, further bringing down the prognosis. The average life expectancy is only 5.6 months after diagnosis, with some extreme cases of people only living a few more weeks.

The patients overall health can impact the prognosis as much as the stage of cancer, presenting the patient with more treatment options.

Diagnosed with Pericardial Mesothelioma? Focus On Your Health!

In our experience, most of the pericardial mesothelioma victims prefer to "get the legal stuff out of the way early" so that we can be working to protect all legal rights while you and your family are focusing on your health.

Mesothelioma treatment requires an immense financial effort. Our Experienced Mesothelioma Lawyers can get you the highest monetary compensation quickly (few short months) that can help with medical bills, copays, travel costs for treatment, and other unanticipated expenses.

Have You or a Loved One Been Diagnosed or Passed Away from Mesothelioma?

Our Dedicated Team of Mesothelioma Attorneys, Investigators and Medical Experts at Flint Law Firm can help all Mesothelioma victims start receiving financial compensation (in few short monthss) from the asbestos companies and manufacturers that are responsible for exposing you to the dangerous asbestos fibers and causing your untreatable cancer. Call Now (855) 883-6447

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Article Sources

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29852147
  2. http://ascopubs.org/doi/abs/10.1200/JCO.2017.35.15_suppl.e20027
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25250196
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1767997/
  5. http://www.cancer.org/cancer/malignantmesothelioma/detailedguide/index
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16206657
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