Malignant epithelial mesothelioma, also known as epithelioid mesothelioma, is a specific cell type of the disease. It is the most common form of mesothelioma and generally associated with pleural mesothelioma. The majority of people who have epithelial mesothelioma have a much better prognosis than other cell types.
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What is Epithelioid Mesothelioma?
Epithelial cells are usually healthy and can be found throughout your body, including the hair, skin, and eyes. However, these cells can also turn into toxic epithelioid mesothelioma cells when you ingest or inhale asbestos.
The good news is that people with epithelioid mesothelioma often have a better prognosis and more treatment options than those with sarcomatoid or biphasic cell types.
Epithelial mesothelioma is the most common form of the disease, and accounts for around 60% of all diagnosed mesothelioma patients. The majority of people who develop epithelial mesothelioma are males over 45 years of age who’ve been diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma.
The epithelial cells have a unique design. They are long, egg-like cells that are clearly defined and different from mesothelioma cells types.
Since these types of cells divide much faster than any other type of mesothelioma cells, the risk of tumors growing faster is heightened. However, since epithelial cells tend to stick together after growing, the progression of cancer slows down.
Epithelioid Mesothelioma Symptoms
Symptoms of epithelioid mesothelioma are similar to pleural mesothelioma symptoms and many include:
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulties in breathing
- Chest pain
- Fluid buildup in the chest area
- Chronic coughing
- Weight loss
Epithelioid Mesothelioma Diagnosis
The first way to diagnose epithelioid is to find its unique cell type, which can be quite challenging. Although epithelioid cells have a unique design that differentiates them from other cell types, physicians have a difficult time finding them on imaging scans.
Instead, doctors usually do a biopsy or thoracoscopy, which allows them to view cells under a powerful microscope where the cell types can be detected more easily.
If the cancerous epithelioid cells are found during the thoracoscopy or biopsy, immunohistochemistry is generally administered next.
Immunohistochemistry detects antigens (proteins) with a staining process that marks the cancerous epithelioid cells. Once the cells are confirmed, the diagnosis is complete.
Epithelioid Mesothelioma Treatment
Treatment for epithelioid mesothelioma follows the same protocol for other types of mesothelioma treatments, which may include chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, or combinations of them all.
Extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP) surgery is one of the most effective treatments for those with epithelial pleural mesothelioma, and can greatly extend a patient’s life expectancy.
Not everyone will qualify for EPP surgery due to its invasiveness. Age, stage of the disease, and overall physical with be assessed in-depth.
A pleurectomy with decortication (P/D) is another form of surgery that may be an option. A P/D is typically reserved for epithelial pleural mesothelioma patients whose cancerous tumors haven’t spread past the pleural area yet.
Epithelioid Mesothelioma Long-Term Outlook
According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), people with epithelioid mesothelioma have a better prognosis rate than those with other mesothelioma cell types.
Although the median survival rate is between 8 to 14 months, studies have shown that many people diagnosed with epithelioid mesothelioma have gone on to live over five years.
Additional Help and Resources for Epithelioid Mesothelioma Patients
Don’t forget to fill out our form to get our free Financial Compensation Packet, filled with information on the experienced asbestos and mesothelioma attorneys in your area. Keep in mind that if you have mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be eligible for considerable compensation. For additional assistance, contact us at 800-793-4540.
Page Reviewed and Edited by Mesothelioma Attorney Paul Danziger
Paul Danziger grew up in Houston, Texas and earned a law degree from Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago. For over 25 years years he has focused on representing mesothelioma cancer victims and others hurt by asbestos exposure. Paul and his law firm have represented thousands of people diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer, recovering significant compensation for injured clients. Every client is extremely important to Paul and he will take every call from clients who want to speak with him. Paul and his law firm handle mesothelioma cases throughout the United States.