Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer. One of the primary mesothelioma causes is asbestos exposure. The cancer develops in the mesothelium, a protective membrane that lines three body cavities: the thoracic cavity (pleura), abdominal cavity (peritoneum) and the heart sac (pericardium). In the case of testicular mesothelioma, the cancer develops in the tunica vaginalis, the membrane surrounding the testicles.
The cancer develops when asbestos fibers are inhaled or ingested into the body where they can become lodged in organs or cavities, causing inflammation or infection and cellular damage. Overtime, the cancerous cells begin to divide uncontrollably, causing the membranes in the affected location to thicken. Fluid then begins to build up in the spaces between membrane layers and tumors begin to form, causing impaired bodily function.
A recent statistic shows that nearly 85% of all mesothelioma patients are seniors. This is due to the long latency period of mesothelioma cancer developing after a case of asbestos exposure. This latency period is usually between 20 to 50 years. Mesothelioma symptoms do not develop until this period. Symptoms often resemble illnesses such as influenza and pneumonia, and in the case of pericardial mesothelioma, symptoms can resemble other cardiac conditions. This can make diagnosis difficult though informing a doctor of prior asbestos exposure can alert them of the possibility of an asbestos-related disease.