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Testicular Mesothelioma (Mesothelioma of the Tunica Vaginalis Testis)

Mesothelioma is typically limited to the pleural, peritoneal, or pericardial membrane; however, it can appear in or near the testicles in male patients as well.  This form of mesothelioma is called testicular mesothelioma or mesothelioma of the tunica vaginalis testis.  

Mesothelioma in any form is a very rare disease caused by prior exposure to asbestos and affects under 3,000 people per year in the United States alone.  Mesothelioma of the tunica vaginalis testis is even rarer still, with fewer than 100 cases of primary tumors reported in modern medicine, although this number may actually be higher but cases can go either mis- or undiagnosed..  Patients are often diagnosed later in life with most being between the ages of 55 and 75. 

How Mesothelioma Appears in the Scrotum

Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that affects certain types of membranous tissues that line the interior of the chest (pleura), abdominal (peritoneum), and heart (pericardium) cavities.

During normal development, the testicles of male babies descend from inside the abdomen into the scrotum usually within the first three months after birth.  During this process, a section of the peritoneum follows the sex organs into the scrotum.  As the body develops further, this portion of the peritoneum is cut off from the portion which remains in the abdomen but retains all the properties of peritoneal tissue.  Therefore, this piece of “reflected peritoneum” called the tunica vaginalis is subject to the same diseases and disorders as the abdominal peritoneum, including mesothelioma.

Asbestos exposure is the only documented causal factor related to mesothelioma.

Problems with Diagnosis of Testicular Mesothelioma

The most common symptom of testicular mesothelioma is a bulge or lump in the scrotum – often associated with pain or discomfort.

Unfortunately, this is a common symptom for a wide variety of ailments including benign tumors, hernias, and certain infectious diseases.  Therefore, diagnosing testicular mesothelioma is a multi-step process.

·         Step 1 Ultrasound:  The first step in diagnosis of this form of mesothelioma is usually an ultrasound.  During this procedure, high-frequency sound waves are passed through the scrotum and the echo profile of the waves that bounce back is displayed on a video screen. 

·         Step 2 Mass or Fluid Determination:  Using this ultrasound, doctors can determine where specifically the bulge is located, what it is attached to, and whether it is a solid mass or a buildup of fluid.  This information narrows the field of “culprits” significantly.  Mesothelioma, of course, appears as a solid mass.

·         Step 3 Ruling Other Ailments:  Diagnosis is still complicated and this is the point where many patients are misdiagnosed.  More common ailments such as inguinal hernias and benign tumors appear as solid masses as well.  The doctor who examines the ultrasound can determine the size and shape of the mass but testicular mesothelioma has been known to come in a variety of shapes and size and appears in multiple locations within the scrotal sac. 

·         Step 4 Possible Aspiration:  Some doctors suggest the next step should be aspiration (draining of fluid either from near the mass or from within it) and testing of that fluid for various forms of cancer.  However, tests on fluid drawn from patients suffering from mesothelioma of the tunica vaginalis often come back negative for cancer cells.

·         Step 5 Surgical Removal:  Really the only sure way to diagnose this rare form of mesothelioma is through surgical removal of the tumor itself and post-surgical histological testing.

Failing surgical removal and histological testing of the tissue, many patients may be misdiagnosed as suffering from more common ailments such as benign testicular tumors.

Treatments, Survival Rates, and Risks of Mesothelioma of the Tunica Vaginalis

Though extremely rare, testicular mesothelioma:

  • Is the easiest form of the disease to treat
  • Has the best survival rates
  • Has a relatively smaller risk profile
  • Is often confined to just the scrotum

Because testicular mesothelioma is so localized, it is not only the most treatable form of the disease; it also has the highest survivability rates.  Over half of the patients diagnosed with this form of mesothelioma will live for two years or longer, which is double the median survival rate for those diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma. 

The only form of treatment for this disease is surgical removal of the tumor.  Chemotherapy and radiation drugs are not effective enough to kill the cancer while the tumor remains in-place, though they’re often used after the tumor is removed.  Surgery is fairly simple, though it may include removal of a portion of the affected testicle or perhaps the whole organ, and has fewer risk associated with it than procedures used for other types of mesothelioma, such as a pleurectomy which requires opening the entire chest cavity to remove malignant tumors.

The real danger with testicular mesothelioma is metastasis.  Often mesothelioma of the tunica vaginalis is a secondary tumor.  This means that cancer from the abdominal peritoneum or the pleura may have metastasized and spread to the testicles.  And vice versa, if testicular mesothelioma is the primary tumor location, there is a very real risk that the cancer will metastasize and travel elsewhere in the body.

A quick diagnosis and fast response is the key to achieving the best mesothelioma treatment results both in the short and long terms. 

Mesothelioma Prognosis and Legal Advice

Our attorneys represent victims of mesothelioma victims, as well as their spouses, sons, and daughters. Throughout our years of experience, we have gathered extensive evidence about the asbestos industry, including how and where people are exposed to asbestos. With this knowledge our clients have received hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements and jury awards.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with testicular mesothelioma, contact one of our mesothelioma lawyers to find out how we can help you cover all of your medical costs and ensure financial security for you and your family. Our attorneys will work on your behalf so you can concentrate on receiving the best medical care.  CPSM attorneys will:

  • Make the arrangements to fly or drive to your home anywhere in the United States within a few days.
  • Immediately begin working on your behalf to obtain compensation for you and your family.
  • In most cases, you will not have to travel or even appear in court.
  • Thoroughly investigate your case and take video depositions.

Contact the Law Offices of Clapper, Patti, Schweizer & Mason today.