Testicular Mesothelioma-Know The Basic Facts

Testicular mesothelioma is the least common type of mesothelioma. Like other forms of malignant mesothelioma, it is also associated with exposure to asbestos fibers.Up till now, the number of reported cases of this type of mesothelioma is less than a hundred.This cancer attacks the membranous lining of the testicles known as the tunica vaginalis which protects and supports the testes.

Symptoms and Diagnosis
As this type of mesothelioma is very rare, there are no classical set of specific symptoms for this cancer. Most of the time, however there is usually the appearance of testicular lumps and swelling of the scrotum. The appearance of testicular lumps usually leads to the diagnosis of testicular mesothelioma. Sometimes the tumor is discovered accidentally when a patient undergoes surgery for another reason{such as hernia repair}.
For confirmation of the diagnosis, a sample of the tumor tissue should be removed{biopsy} and taken to the laboratory for investigations.

Treatment

The treatment of testicular mesothelioma involves the use of surgery, chemotherapy and or radiotherapy.Surgery involves the removal of either a portion or removal of the whole testicle depending on the extent of the cancer.This is then followed by chemotherapy and or radiotherapy to kill the remaining cancer cells.

Because testicular mesothelioma is often a secondary tumor, and the primary tumor is most likely located within the peritoneum (the membrane lining the abdominal cavity), treatment may involve more than just removing the testicular tumors. In these cases, the primary abdominal tumors must be treated as well.

When a patient undergoes chemotherapy they typically receive anticancer medications through an intravenous route. The drugs selectively target and kill the rapidly dividing cancerous cells, preventing their growth. Radiation therapy is also used to kill existing cancerous cells and prohibit the growth of new harmful cells by radiating the infected area.
It should be noted that both peritoneal and testicular mesothelioma are classified as being clinically aggressive types of asbestos cancer . This means they can spread rapidly and invasively. In addition, testicular mesothelioma tends to recur within a few years, even in cases where tumors are surgically removed.

How Does Asbestos Cause Testicular Mesothelioma?

Because testicular mesothelioma is very uncommon, very little is known about how it develops. Most researchers theorize there are two possible points of origin for testicular mesothelioma. The tunica vaginalis, the membrane where testicular mesothelioma develops, is composed of mesothelial cells, which are present in most of the body’s membranous linings. The tunica vaginalis is made up of two layers, known as the parietal (outer) and visceral (inner) layers.

Firm white-yellow nodules can be found on the serosal surface of the tunica. The nodules can eventually encase the contents of the scrotum, and cause the tunica vaginalis to thicken.

While there is currently no theory to explain why exposure to asbestos might cause a primary tumor to develop in the testicles, it is understood that once the asbestos fibers are in the body, they can become lodged in organs and cause inflammation or infection that can result in the development of mesothelioma.

The fibers cause cancerous cells to divide abnormally, causing buildup of fluid and the development of tumors.
Once cells have become malignant, they are no longer able to control their own cycles of growth and division. A primary tumor that develops in the testicle is formed from cancerous cells that divide without any form of control, which causes the thickening of the tunica vaginalis eventually leading to the formation of tumors.

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