Mesothelioma is an extremely aggressive cancer which is almost always caused by exposure to asbestos. For most people the term ‘mesothelioma’ means cancer of the lung or abdominal lining, and the sad prognosis of 12 months or less. But as incident rates of mesothelioma continue to increase around the world, it’s time to start raising awareness about its rarest form, testicular mesothelioma.
Testicular mesothelioma has only been known to affect around 250 people to date, making up 1% of mesothelioma diagnoses worldwide. It is often met with misdiagnosis (sometimes as a hernia) and confusion in the medical profession because of its rarity. Most people with this form of the disease are only correctly diagnosed after undergoing biopsy or surgical procedures.
Testicular mesothelioma can be a frightening and unexpected diagnosis, especially as the symptoms are often similar to those which present for other benign conditions. The most recognisable symptoms are:
- A build up of fluid in the scrotum
- Pain/swelling of the testicles
This type of mesothelioma is certainly distinct. Firstly, the prognosis for this form is substantially longer than the prognosis for lung or abdominal mesothelioma in that on average, sufferers are expected to live for 20-23 months, compared to 12-18 months for the more common forms of the condition. The main issue for sufferers of testicular mesothelioma is that the disease spreads quickly. Whilst surgery is often undertaken to remove the affected testicle, it may spread to the lymph nodes or become metastatic (meaning it has spread to a distant part of the body). Despite this, some patients have survived for over 20 years following surgery to remove the initial cancer.
Sadly, testicular mesothelioma seems to affect a wider age range of people than the disease’s more common forms. There are multiple cases reported online of testicular mesothelioma in men in their early twenties. This is shocking for a disease which, in its most common forms, primarily affects people aged 45 plus because of the long latency period between exposure to asbestos and the development of the disease. Some sources even claim that children have been affected by testicular mesothelioma.
With such a varied age range – is testicular mesothelioma caused by asbestos exposure?
There is no known theory as to why asbestos would affect the testicles. The best experts can say is that asbestos fibres in the body can become lodged in organs, resulting in infection and inflammation which could eventually lead to the development of mesothelioma. Studies have shown that a portion of people with testicular mesothelioma are known to have been exposed to asbestos at some point in their lives and many experts agree that mesothelioma is almost always caused by exposure to asbestos.
Furthermore, mesothelioma compensation claims against employers who exposed sufferers to asbestos have succeeded in the UK. For example, a mesothelioma claim against BBA Aviation for the rarest form of the disease was successful, after the sufferer experience unprotected asbestos exposure during the course of their employment. This company is a common past-polluting company which Asbestos Justice has successfully sued in previous successful asbestos claims.
Unfortunately, as the incident rates of mesothelioma increase, the incident rates of this rare form of cancer are likely to increase as well. The only way to prevent these diseases in the future is to protect against asbestos exposure at all cost through promoting awareness of the dangers, providing suitable training and where appropriate, encouraging removal of asbestos products from buildings under tented conditions. It’s important to remember that absolutely no level of exposure to asbestos is considered to be safe.
If you require assistance in pursuing an asbestos compensation claim for mesothelioma or other asbestos disease then please contact us today on our freephone number 0800 038 6767. Alternatively, head over to the ‘Contact Us’ page, complete the form and we will be in touch.