Testicular Mesothelioma

What is Testicular Mesothelioma?

It’s the rarest form of cancer, accounting for only 5 percent of mesothelioma cancers. It forms on the membrane that lines the male scrotum and may eventually cover the entire testes. It’s very aggressive and spreads rapidly, and may recur even when the nodules have been surgically excised. Sometimes, testicular mesothelioma can occur as a secondary cancer and the primary disease is peritoneal mesothelioma.

There are three types of cells involved in mesothelioma: epithelioid, sarcomatoid, and biphasic. The tumors in them can be either malignant or benign. Biphasic cells have a lower survival rate than the other types of mesothelioma cells and larger tumors are also associated with a lower survival rate, perhaps because they may be more advanced.

What’s The Cause Testicular Mesothelioma?

Contact with asbestos fibers is currently the only known cause of testicular mesothelioma. Asbestos fibers can remain in the linings of organs in the body for decades, so the development of mesothelioma or any other type of cancer may not occur soon after exposure. The cancerous cells may lie dormant for decades and then suddenly appear or they may begin developing rather quickly. More than one-third of patients with this type of mesothelioma have been exposed to asbestos even though the substance hasn’t been definitively linked to it. Inflammation and testicular trauma may also play a role in the onset of this disease, but sometimes it occurs without an identifiable cause other than random mutation in the mesothelial cells.

What Does It Look Like?

It presents as many firm, very pale yellow or white nodules that can eventually cover the testes inside the scrotum and cause the membrane to become very thick. Other than a swelling or an internal mass, there may be no external symptoms of the disease.

What Are The Symptoms?

The symptoms of this disease may include a mass in one or both testicles or edema or fluid retention in the area or a combination of these or none of these. Many of the symptoms of this cancer are similar to symptoms of other diseases, such as pain, edema, and tenderness, so it’s frequently misdiagnosed as a hernia or another common disease. Sometimes, the disease is only discovered during or after a surgical procedure.

What’s The Treatment for Testicular Mesothelioma?

Since the symptoms of this disease are very similar to many other diseases, a biopsy is usually the preferred method for an accurate diagnosis. The biopsy uses immunohistochemical staining to confirm the presence of malignant cells and the type of disease they represent. Surgery is the standard treatment procedure and it may be combined with radiation or chemotherapy for the best results. Radiation has shown the best long-term results for inhibiting the recurrence of the disease.

How Is It Diagnosed?

Usually, this disease is diagnosed during or after a surgical procedure, and a tissue biopsy will either confirm or eliminate the presence of the disease. A biopsy is essential to an accurate diagnosis of this cancer.

What’s the Survival Rate?

This disease is very aggressive and can recur without warning, even if the patient appears to be asymptomatic. Usually, patients live a minimum of about two years after their diagnosis. About half of patients survive for at least five years after treatment, and about one-third survive for 10 years. This type of mesothelioma has the best prognosis of all the mesothelial cancers, especially for those with biphasic cells.

What’s the Cure?

There is currently no known cure for this disease. However, it can be treated with a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, but it can recur without warning and may be undetected. Several different surgeries are used to treat mesothelioma, and the type used will depend on the type of mesothelioma being treated. Usually, the affected testicle and the spermatic cord are removed. If the cancer has metastasized to the lymph nodes, then the surrounding lymph nodes will also be removed. Those who receive radiation therapy after their surgery may have a reduced risk of recurrence, but they should have regular checkups and biopsies to screen for recurrence.

What’s the Prognosis?

The prognosis for this disease after treatment is better than some types of mesothelioma. However, each individual is unique, so this is a guideline, not a hard and fast rule. It’s one of the more treatable forms of mesothelioma and has a somewhat better prognosis than other types of mesothelioma.

Robert SteinbergTesticular Mesothelioma