Testicular Mesothelioma

Testicular mesothelioma is an extremely rare form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure. It causes cancerous tumors to form in the protective lining that covers the testicles. Testicular mesothelioma causes painful symptoms, including excessive swelling. However, it has a slightly better prognosis than mesothelioma that forms within the lungs, abdomen, and heart.

Written and Fact-Checked by: Mesothelioma Hope Team

Testicular Mesothelioma Overview

Little is known about testicular mesothelioma compared to more common forms such as peritoneal or pleural mesothelioma.

Quick Facts About Testicular Mesothelioma
  • Rare form of mesothelioma (less than 1% of mesothelioma cases)
  • Affects older males, typically over the age of 55 years old
  • Has a life expectancy of roughly 20-25 months, which is better than the 12-21 months life expectancy of pleural or peritoneal mesothelioma
  • Develops after a latent period of 10-50 years post-exposure to asbestos
  • Treatment involves surgical removal of the affected testicle typically followed by chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy
  • Specialized mesothelioma doctors around the country are available to treat you now
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What Is Testicular Mesothelioma?

Testicular mesothelioma is a cancer that begins forming within the mesothelial lining of the testicles. The mesothelial lining is the fibrous tissue that protects several organs in the body, including the lungs, stomach, intestines, and heart.

The mesothelial lining of the testicles is called the tunica vaginalis. It’s an important tissue that allows for the healthy movement of the testicles.

Testicular mesothelioma is believed to be triggered after the affected person inhales or ingests asbestos fibers and they become lodged deep within the protective testicle linings. After a period of 10-50 years, the patient will start to experience symptoms of testicular mesothelioma.

The median life expectancy of a patient diagnosed with testicular mesothelioma is around 20 months. However, if detected early enough, patients can undergo surgery and anti-cancer treatments to extend life.

What Causes Testicular Mesothelioma?

All other forms of mesothelioma are caused by the same thing—asbestos exposure. Asbestos is a dangerous and toxic substance used in construction and industrial applications for multiple decades during the 20th century.

Many people came into contact with asbestos on a regular basis, and sometimes that contact was at dangerously high levels. Asbestos exposure not only causes mesothelioma but other deadly respiratory conditions and cancers as well.

While the other forms of mesothelioma — which include pleural, peritoneal, and pericardial — have direct and known links to asbestos exposure, it remains unclear whether asbestos exposure is the only cause of testicular mesothelioma.

Some reports indicate that in fewer than half of all cases of testicular mesothelioma was there a known history of asbestos exposure.

However, what else could cause testicular mesothelioma still remains a mystery. In cases where asbestos is the cause of testicular mesothelioma, it occurs due to a cellular mutation of healthy cells into abnormal cells triggered by this known carcinogen.

How Asbestos Leads to Testicular Mesothelioma

It’s not known how asbestos fibers end up in the tunica vaginalis in the first place. In the cases of pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma, the asbestos fibers are inhaled or ingested respectively.

They then make their way into the lungs or digestive system. At this time, it’s unclear what path the asbestos fibers take in order to reach the tunica vaginalis.

But once they make their way into this vulnerable tissue, they cannot be expelled. Instead, they remain trapped deep in the tunica vaginalis for years or decades. After a long period of causing irritation and inflammation, eventually, otherwise healthy cells turn abnormal and start dividing and spreading quickly.

Unchecked cell growth is the root of cancer, and is what ultimately leads to fatalities. As cancer spreads, it shuts down nearby organs and spreads into the immune filtration system (lymphatic system).

Like all cancers, testicular mesothelioma can be controlled or stopped with early treatment intervention. If doctors detect testicular mesothelioma early enough, they can prevent it from spreading to distant sites and give the patient a better chance at survival.

What Are the Symptoms of Testicular Mesothelioma?

Symptoms Update

As a rare cancer, it’s difficult to define specific sets of symptoms for testicular mesothelioma. However, because it does affect the testicles, the majority of early symptoms will usually be related to this affected area.

Here are some of the major signs of testicular mesothelioma to be aware of:

  • Swollen testicle
  • Fluid buildup in the scrotum
  • A mass of tissue buildup in the testicle

What causes these symptoms is a thickening of the tunica vaginalis tissue. When abnormal cell growth begins, the body counteracts with inflammation. As inflammation increases, the testicle’s lining thickens. This is followed by a production of fluid, which causes further swelling.

Swelling and masses in the testicle can easily be mistaken for other, far more common conditions, like a hernia. A misdiagnosis is easy to make, but can also be fatal. If you experience any of the above symptoms, be sure to contact a mesothelioma specialist right away.

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Testicular Mesothelioma Treatments

All types of mesothelioma are aggressive forms of cancer, meaning they grow and spread quickly. High rates of tumor growth make it difficult for doctors to intervene early enough to eliminate cancer.

However, eliminating as much of the mesothelioma as possible is almost always the treatment goal wherever possible.

In the case of testicular mesothelioma, specialists will typically remove the affected testicle. Or, if the mesothelioma has spread to the other testicle, then they will remove both. By removing the testicles, doctors can prevent the mesothelioma from spreading to nearby organs or lymph nodes.

In addition to surgery — or as an alternative in cases where the patient is not a good surgical candidate — doctors will also administer chemotherapy and radiation therapy. These two forms of anticancer treatments help stop mesothelioma from spreading.

Chemotherapy is an anticancer drug that is taken orally or intravenously. It circulates through the body, killing mesothelioma cells in its path. Radiation therapy uses high-energy beams to target and strike tumors. The radiation scrambles the cancer cells’ DNA, preventing them from multiplying.

Get in Touch With a Testicular Mesothelioma Specialist

Because mesothelioma is such a rare form of cancer, only doctors who have extensive experience in mesothelioma research and treatment can effectively treat affected patients.

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with testicular mesothelioma, then it’s vital to book an appointment with a specialist for a second opinion. General oncologists do not have the experience that’s required to design effective treatment plans.

The top mesothelioma specialists are taking new patients at treatment centers across the country.

Here are some of the top mesothelioma specialists available to treat you:

  • Dr. David Jablons, UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive, San Francisco CA
  • Dr. Brian Loggie, CHI Health Clinic, Omaha NE
  • Dr. Edward Levine, Wake Forest University Medical Center, Winston-Salem NC

Testicular mesothelioma patients may be eligible for legal compensation to cover their treatment costs, travel expenses, and other damages. Mesothelioma patients are the victims of negligence committed by the asbestos manufacturers. As a result, victims are eligible to file claims or lawsuits against various companies that knowingly put their health at risk.

If you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our Patient Advocates today. We’re here to help review your case and put you in touch with an experienced legal team that can help you file a claim successfully.

Call us today so you can start getting the compensation you need for the medical treatment you deserve.

Mesothelioma Hope was founded by a team of passionate health advocates to educate people about this aggressive form of cancer. Mesothelioma affects thousands of people each year. Our team works tirelessly to give hope to those impacted by mesothelioma. Learn more about operating principles and our Editorial Guidelines.

1 References
  1. National Institutes of Health, “Malignant mesothelioma of the tunica vaginalis testis: a malignancy associated with recurrent epididymitis?” Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3506562/. Accessed on December 13, 2017.

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