, also known as mesothelioma of the tunica vaginalis testis
, is the rarest form of the deadly cancer
, which is found in the testicles, is so rare that researchers have not yet developed a thorough list of symptoms
or a standard treatment regimen.
The more common types
are pleural mesothelioma
, peritoneal mesothelioma
, and pericardial mesothelioma
(found in the tissue surrounding the heart).
What Causes Testicular Mesothelioma?
The only known cause is exposure
to asbestos, a fiber
that has been used for decades in common household and industrial building products.
is an occupational hazard in many lines of work, including for construction workers, industrial workers, mechanics, shipbuilders and veterans.
In New York and throughout the United States, these hard-working people are more frequently exposed to asbestos
, making them most at risk for developing asbestos-related diseases such as testicular mesothelioma
It is important to note that no amount of exposure
is considered safe. And even those with limited exposure
can develop mesothelioma
How does Mesothelioma of the Tunica Vaginalis Testis develop?
Although testicular mesothelioma is very rare, it is suspected that the cancer
originates from the pleura
(tissue lining the chest cavity and lungs), the peritoneum
(tissue lining the abdominal cavity and abdominal organs), or the pericardium
(tissue lining the outside of the heart), according to a report in the World Journal of Surgical Oncology.
When people are exposed to asbestos
— either directly by handling materials or indirectly by being in an area where materials that contain asbestos
are being worked on — they can inhale or ingest tiny asbestos fibers
. These dangerous fibers can get stuck in the pleura
, the peritoneum
or the pericardium.
can stay in the body for decades before testicular mesothelioma
develops. In fact, it can take 15 to 60 years for testicular mesothelioma
What are the common symptoms ?
is so rare that symptoms
are not clearly defined. Reported symptoms
- a mass in the testicle
- an accumulation of fluid in the scrotum
- testicular swelling
Because testicular mesothelioma symptoms
may not be as noticeable or appear serious at first, doctors
may not make a testicular mesothelioma diagnosis
However, the longer it takes to diagnose the disease, the more serious it can become. If you have been exposed to asbestos
and are experiencing symptoms
that could be signs of testicular mesothelioma
, discuss your concerns with your doctor
How is the diagnosis made??
Unlike other forms of mesothelioma
testing can help pinpoint the cancer
, testicular mesothelioma
is so rare and lacking in specific symptoms
that a diagnosis
is often only made during or after surgery
Researchers have also explored the effectiveness of using a preoperative scrotal ultrasound to help with a testicular mesothelioma diagnosis
What are the treatment options for Mesothelioma in the Testis?
Testicular mesothelioma tumors
can be benign or malignant; however, most cases are not diagnosed
early enough for treatment
to be considered curative (aimed at killing the cancer
cells completely and preventing further growth).
Still, there are testicular mesothelioma treatment
options, particularly surgery
, that may extend the patient
’s life or provide pain relief.
Testicular mesothelioma treatment options include:
- Radical inguinal orchiectomy: This surgery to remove the testicle is the most common treatment for testicular cancers worldwide, according to the James Buchanan Brady Urological Institute at Johns Hopkins.
- Additional surgeries: Because testicular mesothelioma diagnoses are so rare, doctors may consider other surgeries specific to each case. One common procedure is a lymphadenectomy to remove lymph nodes around the site to check for the spread of cancer.
- Chemotherapy: This is a common type of treatment for many cancers. It will not eradicate testicular mesothelioma, but it may slow the spread of the disease and provide pain relief for patients.
What is the prognosis for patients with this type of Mesothelioma?
The median survival time for mesothelioma
in general can range from a year to 21 months, depending on how early the cancer
is diagnosed, according to the American Cancer Society
However, a study in the World Journal of Surgical Oncology suggests the testicular mesothelioma
prognosis may be more optimistic, with a median survival rate of 24 months for those with malignant testicular mesothelioma
The prognosis is better for younger patients
whose disease is caught early, with one study in The Canadian Journal of Urology
reporting on a patient
who was still alive seven years after treatment
for testicular mesothelioma
If you are facing a testicular mesothelioma
diagnosis, our resources are at your disposal.
We encourage you to explore our community of medical experts, patients
, caregivers and advocates here to support you and your loved ones through this difficult journey.
Sources & Author:
- American Cancer Society: Survival statistics for mesothelioma
- The Canadian Journal of Urology: Malignant mesothelioma of the tunica vaginalis
- James Buchanan Brady Urological Institute at Johns Hopkins University: Orchiectomy (Radical Orchiectomy, Testis Sparing Surgery)
- OSHA Fact Sheet: Asbestos
- World Journal of Surgical Oncology: Malignant mesothelioma of the tunica vaginalis testis: a malignancy associated with recurrent epididymitis?