Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive form of cancer that develops in the lining of organs, most commonly in the lungs. The disease is caused by asbestos exposure, a naturally occurring mineral once widely used in construction and other industries.

This type of cancer can be challenging to diagnose and treat, and patients experience debilitating symptoms that impact their quality of life.

Are you or a loved one suffering from mesothelioma? Our personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyer, LLC advocate for those with all types of mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos decades ago.

Contact our mesothelioma lawyers at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free) or use the contact form to schedule a free consultation.

All confidential or sensitive information you share remains private through an attorney-client relationship.

Understanding Mesothelioma

mesothelioma types lawyer

Cancer develops in the lining of the lungs, chest, abdomen, or heart when healthy cells mutate to cancerous ones due to exposure to asbestos fibers, inhaled or ingested and embedded in the body’s tissues.

The most common form is pleural mesothelioma, with most mesothelioma tumors comprising of epithelioid cells.

Cell Types

There are three different mesothelioma cell types, and depending on tumor location, they respond differently to treatment and include –

  • Epithelial mesothelioma cells: Most common mesothelioma cell type, with deciduoid mesothelioma being the most aggressive. Epithelioid or epithelial cells respond the easiest to treat.
  • Papillary mesothelioma cells: Frequently seen in peritoneal mesothelioma.
  • Sarcomatoid mesothelioma cells: Rapidly dividing cell type with patients having poor prognoses. The American Cancer Society states that sarcomatoid cells account for 10-20% of all mesothelioma cases.
  • Biphasic tumors: Biphasic tumors contain both epithelioid and sarcomatoid cells. With both cells present, the prognosis depends on the dominant cell type.


Cancer can be classified as either benign mesothelioma or malignant mesothelioma. Benign mesothelioma cell types include –

Primary Types of Mesothelioma

mesothelioma types law firm

The types of mesothelioma cancer develop in various locations in the body and are classified according to tumor location. The four types of mesothelioma are pleural (lining of the lung), peritoneal (abdomen), testicular (testicles), and pericardial (heart). The tumor location impacts the prognosis and treatment available to patients.

Pleural Mesothelioma

Pleural mesothelioma forms in the lining of the lungs and are the most common type of mesothelioma. It is a malignant mesothelioma, often linked to exposure to asbestos.

Malignant pleural mesothelioma symptoms can be similar to other respiratory diseases, making diagnosing it challenging. Common symptoms of malignant pleural mesothelioma include chest pains, shortness of breath, fatigue, and unexplained weight loss.

A mesothelioma specialist will use imaging tests such as X-rays, CT scans and a biopsy to make a definitive diagnosis. The International Mesothelioma Interest Group (IMIG) provides guidelines for mesothelioma diagnoses to ensure a consistent approach.

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), pleural mesothelioma accounts for 15-20% of all mesothelioma diagnoses and has a five-year survival rate of 20% for localized cancers.

Papillary Mesothelioma

This non-malignant mesothelioma is a rare form of the disease. The type of mesothelioma is typically slow-growing and affects the lining of the lungs, abdomen, or reproductive organs. While the causes are unknown, asbestos exposure is not considered a risk factor.

Symptoms include pain and swelling in the affected area, although many cases are asymptomatic.

Pleural mesothelioma treatment depends on the patient’s age, overall health, and the stage of the disease. Surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy are common treatments for pleural disease. In some cases, a combination of treatments may be recommended.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Peritoneal mesothelioma affects the abdominal lining and can impact the abdominal organs. It is less common than pleural mesothelioma, but its symptoms can be severe. It also accounts for 15-20% of mesothelioma cases.

Peritoneal mesothelioma patients have symptoms that can include abdominal pain, swelling, bloating, loss of appetite, bowel changes, and weight loss.

In some cases, patients may also experience bowel obstruction or other issues related to the abdominal cavity. A specialist will use imaging tests and a biopsy to diagnose peritoneal mesothelioma.

Peritoneal mesothelioma treatment may include surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. Treatment plans are customized to the patient’s specific needs and the stage of the mesothelioma type. Some peritoneal mesothelioma patients may also be eligible for clinical trials, providing access to experimental treatments and therapies.

Pericardial Mesothelioma

Pericardial mesothelioma affects the heart’s lining and is a rare form, with only 200 cases recorded according to medical literature records. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that only 0.2% of new mesothelioma cases can be attributed to pericardial mesothelioma.

Pericardial mesothelioma symptoms include chest pains, palpitations, irregular heartbeat, and shortness of breath. These symptoms can be similar to other heart conditions, making a diagnosis of the mesothelioma type difficult. Imaging tests and a biopsy can help confirm a diagnosis.

Pericardial mesothelioma treatment options may include surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. However, due to the rarity of pericardial mesothelioma, there is limited data on treatment outcomes and prognosis. Patients with pericardial mesothelioma should consult a specialist to discuss their options and receive personalized care.

Tunica Vaginalis or Testicular Mesothelioma

According to medical literature, testicular mesothelioma is a rare cancer form, accounting for less than 1% of all cases. It develops in the tunica vaginalis, a membrane covering the testicles.

The diagnosis of testicular mesothelioma is often delayed due to its rarity, and its symptoms can be mistaken for other conditions. The symptoms of testicular mesothelioma can include pain, swelling, lumps, or masses in the scrotum.

Surgery is often the recommended course of treatment for testicular mesothelioma, and in many cases, the affected testicle may need to be removed. Radiation and chemotherapy may also treat testicular mesothelioma, although these treatments are less effective.

Most types of mesothelioma cases contain only epithelioid cells. However, the prognosis for testicular mesothelioma is generally poor, as it is often diagnosed in the later stages of the disease.

Rare Subtypes

Malignant mesothelioma is a rare cancer that develops in the mesothelial cells, which are present in the lining of the lungs, abdomen, and heart. While pleural mesothelioma is the most common form, there are also several rare subtypes, each with unique characteristics and treatment options.

Small cell mesothelioma is an extremely rare subtype and can grow in the pleura (lung lining) or the pericardium (heart sac). Small-cell mesothelioma is often mistaken for small-cell lung cancer.

Biphasic Mesothelioma

Biphasic mesothelioma is a rare cell type of epithelial and sarcomatoid cells within mesothelioma tumors. These rare cell types are also referred to as mixed mesothelioma tumors.

Diagnosing biphasic mesothelioma can be difficult, as it may resemble other diseases. The diagnostic process typically involves a biopsy and imaging tests. Patients may experience pain in the chest, shortness of breath, and weight loss.

Treatment for biphasic mesothelioma varies based on the tumor’s location, the patient’s age, overall health, and the cell type. The ratio of the epithelial and sarcomatoid cells determines the patient’s life expectancy. The more epithelial cells are present, the easier cancer responds to treatment.

Surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy are all potential treatment options.

Epithelioid Mesothelioma

Epithelioid mesothelioma is the most common cell type, accounting for around 70% of cases. Patients with epithelioid mesothelioma may experience chest pain, shortness of breath, and abdominal pain. Epithelial mesothelioma has four main rare cell types, including adenomatoid, cystic, deciduoid, and papillary.

Diagnosing epithelioid mesothelioma typically involves a biopsy and imaging tests. Treatment options for the type of mesothelioma depend on the location and stage of the tumor, as well as the patient’s age and overall health.

Surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy are all potential options for treatment.

Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma

Sarcomatoid mesothelioma is a rare subtype, accounting for approximately 10-20% of cases. This type of mesothelioma is characterized by the presence of sarcomatoid cells, which are elongated and spindle-shaped. Patients with sarcomatoid mesothelioma may experience chest pain, shortness of breath, and weight loss.

Diagnosing sarcomatoid mesothelioma typically involves a biopsy and imaging tests. Treatment options for sarcomatoid mesothelioma are limited, as the cell type is generally resistant to traditional treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Surgery may be an option in some cases, but it is often not possible due to the tumor’s location or the patient’s overall health.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Mesothelioma is a challenging cancer to diagnose and treat. As with many types of cancer, early diagnosis is crucial for successful treatment outcomes. Mesothelioma types are differentiated by the location of the tumor’s initial development.


The National Cancer Institute (NCI) notes that mesothelioma cell types can be determined under a microscope through a cytologic exam.

The diagnostic process also involves a series of tests and exams to determine the presence and extent of cancer. These tests may include imaging tests such as X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, blood tests, and biopsies.

A Pleural Mesothelioma Diagram is often used to show where the pleural mesothelioma forms.

Treatment Plan

mesothelioma types attorney

A treatment plan depends on several factors, including the cancer type, the tumor’s location, and the patient’s overall health. The primary types of mesothelioma treatment include surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.

Surgery is an option for patients with some mesothelioma types, particularly those with early-stage cancer. Depending on the tumor location, different surgical techniques may be used, including extrapleural pneumonectomy, pleurectomy with decortication, and peritonectomy.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation beams to kill the cells of different mesothelioma types. It is often used with surgery to help kill any remaining cancer cells.

Chemotherapy involves the use of drugs to kill cancer cells. It is often used with other treatments, such as surgery or radiation. The specific drugs used and the duration of treatment will depend on the patient’s case and mesothelioma type.

Life Expectancy and Prognosis with Malignant Mesothelioma

The life expectancy of patients is generally low, and most patients survive only a few months to a few years after diagnosis. However, some rare cell types may be benign, with patients living years after diagnosis.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) reports that the average life expectancy for patients is about one year after diagnosis. However, the average can vary depending on the cancer stage, cell type, age, and overall patient health.

Patients diagnosed at earlier stages of the disease generally have a better prognosis than those diagnosed at later stages, along with patients with epithelioid mesothelioma, the most common cell type, as opposed to patients with sarcomatoid or biphasic mesothelioma.

Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer to Resolve Your Mesothelioma Case

Are you or a loved one suffering from the debilitating effects of mesothelioma? Our personal injury attorneys can assist you in gaining financial compensation for your losses and damages.

Contact our attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free), or use the contact form to schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal options.

Contingency Fee Agreement

mesothelioma types

Our personal injury attorneys accept all serious personal injury claims and wrongful death cases on a contingency fee agreement. This arrangement immediately ensures our clients have legal representation without paying any upfront out-of-pocket expenses.

Our law firm advances all expenses in resolving claims and gets paid only when negotiating a settlement or winning a jury trial award. Our “No-Win/No-Fee” Guarantee is simple: We do not get paid if you do not win!


Client Reviews

Jonathan Rosenfeld was professionally objective, timely, and knowledgeable. Also, his advice was extremely effective regarding my case. In addition, Jonathan was understanding and patient pertaining to any of my questions or concerns. I was very happy with the end result and I highly recommend Jonathan Rosenfeld.

- Michonne Proulx

Extremely impressed with this law firm. They took control of a bad motorcycle crash that left my uncle seriously injured. Without any guarantee of a financial recovery, they went out and hired accident investigators and engineers to help prove how the accident happened. I am grateful that they worked on a contingency fee basis as there was no way we could have paid for these services on our own.

- Ethan Armstrong

Jonathan helped my family heal and get compensation after our child was suffered a life threatening injury at daycare. He was sympathetic and in constant contact with us letting us know all he knew every step of the way. We were so blessed to find Jonathan!

- Giulia

This lawyer really helped me get compensation for my motorcycle accident case. I know there is no way that I could have gotten anywhere near the amount that Mr. Rosenfeld was able to get to settle my case. Thank you.

- Daniel Kaim

Jonathan did a great job helping my family navigate through a lengthy lawsuit involving my grandmother's death in a nursing home. Through every step of the case, Jonathan kept my family informed of the progression of the case. Although our case eventually settled at a mediation, I really was impressed at how well prepared Jonathan was to take the case to trial.

- Lisa
Free Consultation (888) 424-5757
Scroll to Top