Testicular mesothelioma is far and away the rarest form of mesothelioma. There are fewer than 100 known diagnoses of this disease in medical history. This cancer forms in the tunica vaginalis, or the lining of the testes. Testicular mesothelioma, like all types of mesothelioma, is caused by exposure to asbestos.
Symptoms of Testicular Mesothelioma
The symptoms for this disease tend to be a lump in the testes, and pain and swelling in the scrotum. The vague nature of these symptoms and extreme rarity of this disease make testicular cancer difficult to diagnose. Consequently, for most people with this disease, the testicular mesothelioma is already at a fairly advanced state.
Treatments for Testicular Mesothelioma
Treatment options for testicular mesothelioma depend entirely on when the disease is diagnosed. If diagnosed at an early stage, the cancerous cells can be removed through surgery, with chemotherapy and radiation to supplement treatments. Testicular cancer is believed to be a recurrent cancer, meaning that even if treatment is successful, the cancer is likely to develop again in the future.
Later diagnosis will limit options. If the cancer has metastasized, or spread to other parts of the body, treatment options will be limited to palliative treatments. In some cases, testicular mesothelioma is not the primary tumor. For example, the mesothelioma may have originated in the peritoneal cavity and spread to the testes. Again, treatment options in these cases may be primarily of a palliative nature.
How Does Asbestos Exposure Cause Testicular Mesothelioma?
Researchers are unsure. It is known that asbestos fibers are inhaled through the lungs and can spread to other parts of the body such as the lining of the lungs (pleura) or the abdomen (peritoneum). The tunica vaginalis is composed of the same type of fibers as the pleura and peritoneum, but researchers do not know how asbestos fibers could become embedded in this organ.