Some may be unaware that asbestos related mesothelioma not only affects the pleural lining of the lung and the abdominal lining, but can also affect the thin membrane covering the testicles.

What is testicular mesothelioma?

Testicular mesothelioma is also known as mesothelioma of the tunica vaginalis testis and is extremely rare, with less than 250 people being diagnosed with the condition thus far.

Unfortunately, the condition has caused great confusion within the medical profession due to its rarity. Despite this, sufferers of this type of mesothelioma usually benefit from a long prognosis when compared to other forms of the asbestos related disease. Recent studies have revealed the average life expectancy for testicular mesothelioma to range from 20 to 23 months, which can be compared to an average prognosis of 12 to 18 months for respiratory mesothelioma.


The most common symptom affecting those diagnosed with testicular mesothelioma is a build up of fluid in the scrotum, which is known as a hydrocele and the condition often presents itself as a secondary form of cancer to peritoneal mesothelioma which affects the membrane of the abdominal cavity.

Is there a cure?

Sadly, there is no known cure for testicular mesothelioma, although those suffering with the condition can undergo treatment in the form of surgery to remove a portion of the testicle or even the full testicle, depending on the severity of the cancer.  Surgery can also take the form of aspiration, hydrocelectomy, inguinal orchiectomy, hemiscrotectomy and lymphadenectomy. Such procedures will then followed by course of radiotherapy and chemotherapy in an attempt to obliterate the cancer.

Testicular mesothelioma sufferers face the probability of their cancer returning, even following successful surgery, as this type of the condition is known as being a particularly aggressive form of cancer which regularly reoccurs and spreads easily to other parts of the body.

How does it develop in the body?

As the condition is so rare, very little is known about how the condition develops in sufferers although experts have reported on various points of origin for testicular mesothelioma. It is known that the thin membrane covering the testicle known as the tunica vaginalis, contains mesothelial cells, which are present in most of the body’s membranous linings, including the pleural which protects the lungs.  Solid white-yellow nodules can be found on the sensoral surface of the tunica which can eventually encase the contents of the scrotum, causing the tunica to thicken.

Why would asbestos affect the testicles?

However, no known theory has developed to explain why asbestos exposure might cause a cancer to develop in the testicles. The best experts can say is that it is known that asbestos fibres in the body can become lodged in organs, resulting in infection and inflammation which could eventually develop into mesothelioma.

Asbestos fibres are known to cause cells to divide in an abnormal way, resulting in fluid build up and the development of tumours. This is evident in cases involving respiratory mesothelioma where sufferers develop a build up of fluid at the base of the lung known as a pleural effusion. The same build up of fluid is found to affect the scrotum in cases of testicular mesothelioma.


According to “Report of a  case with comprehensive review of literature, Bisceglia M et al, Department of Pathology, IRCCS Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza Hospital, San Giovanni Rotondo Italy, 2010”, the sole plausible causative factor so far ascertained in the pathogenesis of these tumours is asbestos, which was only found to be prevalent in 30% to 40% of cases.

Can I claim for testicular mesothelioma?


Claims for testicular mesothelioma compensation have succeeded in the UK.  One of which involved a claim against BBA Aviation (British Belting & Asbestos) which is a common past polluting company which Asbestos Justice has successful sued in previous claims for asbestos disease compensation.

In the relevant case, the Mr. M. was diagnosed with testicular mesothelioma after suffering exposure to asbestos at BBA’s asbestos factory in Checkheaton, West Yorkshire during the 1960’s.

Mr. M. suffered regular exposure to high levels of asbestos dust when working on various processes throughout the factory which included, operating machinery which made belts for helicopters, asbestos brake show production as well as the general threading of the bobbins of asbestos fibre.

As Mr. M’s exposure to asbestos occurred in the 1960’s, the Factories Act of 1961 applied to the Defendant’s factory and liability was established.

On the issue of causation, medical evidence was provided by the eminent medical expert, Dr Robin Rudd who emphasised the unpredictable and aggressive nature of asbestos related testicular mesothelioma in his evidence. The claim against BBA succeeded with the Claimant recovering £125,000.00 in damages for his diagnosed asbestos related condition.

This was the second of two claims for testicular cancer which have been successfully brought against BBA.

Image Credits:

“BBA Aviation (logo)”  –  The BBA Aviation website. Licensed under Fair use of copyrighted material in the context of BBA Aviation via Wikipedia

Male Testes – CE

If you or a family member are suffering from an asbestos disease, contact Asbestos Justice on 0800 038 6767 for expert legal advice.

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