Typical mesothelioma is a rare, malignant, very aggressive, and often fatal type of cancer that can attack the lungs, chest cavity, abdomen, and testicles. What benign mesothelioma is, on the other hand, is a noncancerous tumor condition that is even rarer than malignant mesothelioma, but it is also much simpler to treat.
While victims of malignant mesothelioma live for an average of only one year after diagnosis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), benign mesothelioma is highly curable. In most instances, benign mesothelioma can be completely cured through surgical removal of the tumors. In some cases, it is possible that the tumors could recur and become malignant.
Benign vs. Malignant
Tumors that are not cancerous are benign, while tumors that are cancerous are malignant. The main difference between benign and malignant tumors is how they grow. JAMA Oncology explains that malignant tumors grow quickly, have irregular borders, usually invade nearby tissues, and can spread to other parts of the body from where the cancer originally begins (called metastasizing).
Benign tumors, such as those that occur with benign mesothelioma, are the opposite. They grow slowly, have clear borders that make them simple to remove surgically, and do not metastasize. Benign growths are less dangerous than malignant or cancerous ones and easier to treat, but they can of course still be very dangerous. Even a benign tumor is an abnormal growth in the body, and it can compress nearby organs and endanger the patient’s life.
Sometimes tumors that are originally benign can develop malignancies. If a benign tumor recurs after removal, it has a higher chance of becoming malignant.
Types of Benign Mesothelioma
There are four subtypes of benign mesothelioma:
- Localized Fibrous Mesothelioma: Often called LFT, localized fibrous mesothelioma causes fibrous tumors in the lungs. Only about half of people with this condition experience symptoms, while the other half discover the condition from an incidental finding during imaging or surgery for other reasons.
- Benign Multicystic Peritoneal Mesothelioma: BMPM, also just called benign cystic mesothelioma, causes cysts in the abdomen and pelvis. This condition usually affects women who are of an age to reproduce.
- Benign Adenomatoid Mesothelioma: These tumors are slow-growing and usually do not cause any symptoms. They can affect the reproductive organs of both men and women.
- Well-Differentiated Papillary Mesothelioma: WDPM can be found in the lungs, heart, and abdomen. This condition is so rare and slow-growing that it is often asymptomatic and physicians usually only find it incidentally.
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Symptoms of Benign Mesothelioma
In many instances, people with benign mesothelioma might not experience symptoms at all. Their doctors may discover that they have benign mesothelioma because of surgery or imaging ordered for other reasons.
When benign mesothelioma does cause symptoms, they are often similar to the symptoms of malignant mesothelioma. According to Mayo Clinic, symptoms can include:
- Chest pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Chronic coughing
- Shortness of breath
- Abdominal pain
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Pelvic pain
- Abdominal distention
- Palpable lumps or masses
Diagnosing Benign Mesothelioma
A physician can diagnose benign mesothelioma through imaging and biopsies. Imaging studies might include X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, or pet scans. A biopsy is when a physician takes a small sample of the tumor, usually by using a needle, and then conducts laboratory tests to identify the types of cells.
Treating Benign Mesothelioma
The medical journal StatPearls reports that the common treatment for benign mesothelioma is resection, which is when a physician surgically removes the tumor. If they are unable to remove all of the tumor cells, it could grow back, but if they do remove the entire tumor successfully, this is usually curative. In some cases, chemotherapy may be necessary to shrink the size of the tumor and make it easier to resect.
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Causes of Benign Mesothelioma
The exact cause of benign mesothelioma is unknown. Scientists are still uncertain about what benign mesothelioma is since it is extremely rare.
The only known cause of malignant mesothelioma, however, is exposure to asbestos. When a person inhales asbestos fibers, these fibers can travel to the lungs, become lodged there, and cause malignant mesothelioma. Symptoms of malignant mesothelioma may not occur for decades after the inhalation of asbestos fibers.
Although the exact cause is uncertain, there may be links to benign mesothelioma and asbestos exposure. If you or your loved one suffers from mesothelioma and you think that asbestos exposure is the cause, you may be eligible to receive compensation for your suffering. Employers, retailers, and manufacturers responsible for exposing you to asbestos could be liable for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
The team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can help you seek compensation for a mesothelioma diagnosis. Call (800) 307-3113 today to schedule a free consultation at no obligation. We operate on a contingency fee basis, so you will never owe us any fees unless we can earn a settlement for you.
Benign mesothelioma is a rare disease that is not cancerous and is much easier to treat than its more famous counterpart, malignant mesothelioma. Very few cases of benign mesothelioma exist, and most are not fatal.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), mesothelioma is a type of cancer that develops in the lining of organs, usually due to asbestos exposure. As it grows out of control, it puts a lot of stress on other organs and eventually leads to death. However, when mesothelioma is benign, it has an extremely low chance of being fatal. Benign tumors do not spread to other parts of the body, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Benign mesothelioma may occur at any age and is not caused by asbestos exposure. The cause is unknown, although many theories exist. Benign mesothelioma tumors may be located in the abdomen, chest, testicles, and uterine wall, although most patients have tumors in their lungs.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Mesothelioma
Imaging tests, bloodwork, analyses of fluid and tissue samples, and pulmonary function tests may help with diagnosing all types of mesothelioma.
Benign mesothelioma is easy to treat. Since the tumor stays localized and does not spread, a skilled surgeon can extract it. Once removed, patients can make a full recovery.
Malignant mesothelioma may be treated with chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, and clinical trials. Because malignant mesothelioma has a long latency period and symptoms do not appear until the disease is in an advanced stage, treatment is sometimes not recommended, and palliative or end-of-life care is recommended instead.
How Medical Mistakes May Occur
Because mesothelioma is so rare and its symptoms are similar to other more common diseases such as lung cancer, physicians may misdiagnose a patient’s mesothelioma or take a long time to make an accurate diagnosis. When this happens, a patient may receive inappropriate treatment while their mesothelioma progresses and spreads.
Call to Schedule a Free Consultation
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact the offices of Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 307-3113 for a free consultation to discuss your case with our team. You may be eligible to receive compensation.
If your malignant mesothelioma is due to asbestos exposure, you may be able to hold the responsible parties liable. If you were diagnosed with benign mesothelioma and later were told it is malignant, you may be able to hold a medical professional liable for a misdiagnosis and negligence. A mesothelioma lawyer can help you determine liability and discuss with you what your legal options may be.