Mesothelioma cancer is rare and caused by exposure to asbestos, which is a natural mineral that can be woven and mixed into cement. It was widely used in numerous industries before being proven that asbestos fibers can be released into the air and be toxic. The body cannot properly expel asbestos fibers and they become trapped in mesothelial cells, which compose the lining of determined organs. Mesothelioma can affect the lungs, abdomen, heart or testicles, and is called pleural, peritoneal, pericardial or testicular mesothelioma, respectively.
Testicular mesothelioma is the rarest form of the disease and there are only about 100 cases reported in history. Therefore, there is a certain lack of information about the form of the disease. It is thought that the development of testicular mesothelioma is related to the presence of mesothelial cells in the lining of the testicles, the tunica vaginalis testis. It can also occur as secondary tumors, which means that mesothelioma in other locations metastasized to the testicles. In addition, there are patients who develop the disease and were not exposed to asbestos.
How Testicular Lumps Affect Patients with Mesothelioma
Given the small number of patients who experienced testicular mesothelioma, there is no standard set of symptoms. However, it is known that patients often feel swelling of the scrotum due to a buildup of fluid in the scrotum known as hydrocele, as well as pain and abnormal testicular lumps. The diagnosis starts when the patient sees a doctor with complains about discomfort in the testicles. In numerous cases, physicians mistake testicular mesothelioma by other conditions like a hernia, which is why misdiagnosis is common.
Testicular lumps can be felt due to the growth of mesothelioma tumors in the tunica vaginalis testis. To diagnose the disease, physicians usually ask for a medical history, perform a complete physical examination and request an ultrasound and CT scan, which are used to spot the tumor and evaluate the extent and stage of the cancer. A blood sample and biopsy can also be used to confirm the diagnosis. However, in many cases it is only correctly diagnosed during a surgery.
Management of Testicular Lumps by Mesothelioma Patients
Removing the affected testicle can help patients whose cancer has not metastasized and reduce the burden of the symptoms. In addition, chemotherapy with cisplatin and pemetrexed and radiation therapy may be prescribed during or after the radical inguinal orchiectomy to kill any remaining cancer cells left during the surgery, as well as prevent reoccurrence of the mesothelioma. Testicular mesothelioma is classified as clinically aggressive, which means that it is likely to spread rapidly. In cases when the testicular mesothelioma is a secondary cancer or when it has spread to other locations, treatment may not be as effective.
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