Google Screened Review Us
Click to toggle navigation menu.
« Back
Philadelphia Asbestos Lawyers at Shein Law Offer Legal Guidance to Those Who Have Mesothelioma or Lung Cancer.

How Quickly Does Mesothelioma Spread?

Mesothelioma is one of the rarest forms of cancer. It is also one of the most aggressive, moving quickly through the body and leaving patients with a short life expectancy.

The development of mesothelioma starts slowly: asbestos fibers that are inhaled or ingested get lodged in the mesothelium and damage the surrounding cells. It takes decades for tumors to develop in these mesothelial linings. Once they begin to form, however, they spread very quickly in their localized cavity and then to disparate areas of the body. Metastasis occurs in stages 3 and 4 of the disease when tumors are far from where they originally developed.

Pleural Mesothelioma

About 80 percent of mesothelioma patients suffer from pleural mesothelioma, which develops in the lining of the lungs. The tumors cause the pleura to thicken, making it more difficult to fully expand the lungs. Early symptoms of pleural mesothelioma, including persistent cough, chest pain or tightness, and difficulty breathing, can be mild and resemble a respiratory illness, making an early diagnosis challenging.

One of the first places pleural mesothelioma tumors will spread is into the lungs. At this point, surgery is still an option, though it may require an aggressive procedure that removes part or all of one lung. Tumors can also travel the other way into the chest wall, which can be trickier to reach surgically.

If cancerous cells spread regionally into the lymph nodes in the chest or into the blood stream, they can easily spread to other areas of the body. In stage 3, pleural mesothelioma patients may have tumors in the diaphragm and esophagus, as well as the thyroid.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Peritoneal meso accounts for almost all of the remaining 20 percent of cases. Tumors develop in the peritoneum, which lines the stomach and abdominal cavity. There are more organs in this area, and tumors that develop beyond the peritoneum can infect the stomach, the intestines, kidneys, liver, pancreas, and more. The uterus and ovaries are also vulnerable in some patients. Some organs, such as the spleen and gallbladder, can be safely removed if they develop tumors, but other areas are harder to isolate.

As the disease advances, it can travel to organs outside the abdominal cavity, including the lungs, heart, or even the brain. It is rare for peritoneal mesothelioma to travel outside of the torso, but it can infect numerous organs and get larger if left unchecked.

Pericardial Mesothelioma

Pericardial meso is even more rare than peritoneal meso and infects the pericardial sac surrounding the heart. The heart and pulmonary artery are vulnerable to secondary tumors if the disease spreads regionally. Pericardial mesothelioma tumors have also been found in the liver, lungs, and abdominal cavity. The pattern of the progression is not widely understood, as most patients with pericardial mesothelioma are diagnosed posthumously.

Patients with metastasized mesothelioma are usually no longer eligible for surgery, but may undergo chemotherapy or radiation. Novel treatments such as immunotherapy or gene therapy may have an impact for some patients. Cell type can have an impact on how the disease metastasizes and how quickly it spreads, as well as life expectancy.

Philadelphia Asbestos Lawyers at Shein Law Offer Legal Guidance to Those Who Have Mesothelioma or Lung Cancer

If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer, speak with one of our experienced Philadelphia asbestos lawyers at Shein Law. With offices located in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Call us at 877-743-4652 or contact us online to discuss your case.

Click for live chat!