Pericardial Mesothelioma

Pericardial Mesothelioma

Pericardial Mesothelioma is a deadly form of cancer that affects the linings of the heart. It is a rare form of cancer from asbestos exposure. It is a malignant tumor of the mesothelial cells that make up the linings of the lungs, heart, and other organs. Its first discovery was in the 19th century in connection with coal mining. If you recently received a diagnosis, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact our office today to get started.

What is Pericardial Mesothelioma?

Pericardial Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer that develops in the pericardial sac and lining. The pericardial sac surrounds the heart and acts as a secondary respiratory organ. The pericardial lining helps protect the heart from trauma. It is a very aggressive form of cancer.

Causes of Mesothelioma of the Pericardial Sac

Asbestos, made from 6 naturally occurring minerals, had wide use in many different industries. It is a known carcinogen, meaning it has the potential to cause cancer in humans. Asbestos use was common in construction, maintenance, repair, and many other industries. While asbestos was everywhere, certain occupations experienced the most significant exposure.

Mesothelioma of the pericardial sac accounts for less than two percent of all types of soft-tissue sarcomas. Individuals who are most at risk of developing this type of cancer include those who worked in blue-collar occupations exposed to asbestos, along with those whose occupation was maintenance, construction, shipyard work, and manufacturing.

What are the Symptoms?

Most people with Mesothelioma do not experience any symptoms until the disease has advanced. Early signs are often non-specific and may include irregular:

  • heartbeat
  • chest pain
  • chronic cough
  • and difficulty breathing.

Mesothelioma can cause pericardial effusion and fluid accumulation in the pericardial sac.

Mesothelioma of the pericardial sac is a rare form of cancer. Estimates are that only 0.5 and 1.5% of people diagnosed with it will survive for five years. Research shows that if you have been diagnosed with Mesothelioma, you must receive treatment as soon as possible. Quick actions will increase the chances of a successful outcome for the disease.

Diagnosis of Pericardial Mesothelioma

If you have been diagnosed with Mesothelioma of the pericardial sac, it is crucial to receive a correct diagnosis. Knowing the cause of your cancer can help to improve your prognosis. Some of the common signs that indicate you have pericardial Mesothelioma are chest pain, shortness of breath, and coughing up blood.

A biopsy helps makes the diagnosis. If a biopsy is impossible, an imaging test, such as an ultrasound, may help diagnose.

The staging of pericardial Mesothelioma is depends on the extent of the disease:

  • Stages 1-3 are on the extent of the tumor concerning the heart
  • Stage 4 is the size of cancer, level of function, and symptoms.

Treatment of Pericardial Mesothelioma

There are three treatments for Mesothelioma of the pericardial sac, depending on the stage of the disease:

  1. Chemotherapy is used to treat cancer and is given with radiation therapy to kill cancer cells that are not sensitive to the radiation. Chemotherapy may be given simultaneously as radiation therapy or after radiation therapy. Chemotherapy may be given as a pill or liquid or as part of a port protocol.
  2. Surgery is one way to treat Mesothelioma. Surgery can remove tumors early or pericardial tumors that have grown too large. However, surgery cannot treat mesotheliomas in the pericardial lining.
  3. Immunotherapy involves using vaccines and drugs to strengthen the body's immune system. The vaccines boost the body's immune system to attack and kill the cancer cells. Immunotherapy is one way to treat Mesothelioma and not treat pericardial effusions.

Complications of Mesothelioma

The most significant danger of pericardial Mesothelioma is heart failure from the development of pericardial effusion. Effusions can be fatal if left alone. Other complications of pericardial Mesothelioma include:

  • Infections - Pericardial effusions are often infected. Antibiotics can help to fight off infections.
  • Heart Failure - A pericardial effusion can eventually lead to heart failure.
  • Breathing Difficulties - A pericardial effusion can cause breathing difficulties.

How to Recognize Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer that most people have never heard of until recently. It is a rare disease and is the most often reported form of asbestos-related cancer. This type of cancer can be hard to diagnose because it often mimics other lung or heart disease conditions.

It usually begins in the lungs, heart, or abdomen linings. Lungs are generally affected first but can also start in the liver or stomach. If you notice any changes in your breathing or if you have an unexplained cough that gets worse at night or with activity, you should see a doctor.

If you have worked around asbestos, you are at a higher risk of developing Mesothelioma. Asbestos fibers can lodge themselves in your lungs or the linings of your heart, causing Mesothelioma. You can reduce your risk by going to your doctor and having a thorough examination to ensure you do not have lung cancer or heart disease.

Asbestos-Related Mesothelioma

Around 90% of people who develop Mesothelioma have lung cancer related to asbestos. This type of Mesothelioma occurs when a person is exposed to asbestos in on of the following places:

  • the military
  • medical fields that used asbestos in tools or testing mechanisms
  • buildings with asbestos in them
  • home, if it was built before the late 80's

Where is Asbestos Common?

Asbestos use was at its worst in buildings, ships, and mechanical parts. Anyone with asbestos exposure from these places faces the risk of developing Mesothelioma.
In the United States, asbestos is used for certain types of construction and products, but it is seldom used in buildings.

Is There a Cure?

At this moment, there is no known cure for Mesothelioma. However, certain types of chemotherapy and radiation treatments may be able to shrink tumors and prevent them from growing back. Treatment for cancerous tumors includes several types of drugs that work by damaging DNA in the cancer cells during chemotherapy. The drugs often used in pericardial mesothelioma treatment are called kinase inhibitors.

Should You be Worried?

If you have asbestos exposure, you are most likely concerned about your risk of developing this form of cancer. Though many people get Mesothelioma from asbestos exposure, your chances of getting it will be hard to gauge. That's why we always recommend consistent doctor evaluations.

Survival Rate

In recent years, the survival rate of this rare type of Mesothelioma has increased due to advances in diagnosis and treatment. Stage 4 pericardial mesothelioma patients have a 5-year survival of 78%, whereas stage 3 patients have a 5-year survival of 54%.


Pericardial Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer that occurs when malignant carcinogenic substances accumulate in the pericardial cavity, the space around the heart. This type of cancer accounts for less than two percent of all types of soft-tissue sarcomas. People at risk of developing this type of cancer include those who worked in blue-collar occupations exposed to asbestos.
Mesothelioma of the pericardial sac occurs when the pericardium is damaged, a sac-like membrane located just outside the heart. The pericardium serves as a pressure barrier. When the pericardium is damaged, it causes pericarditis and swelling of the outer layer of the heart. When Mesothelioma occurs, cancer within the pericardium eventually produces tumors throughout the body.

If you have recently been diagnosed with Pericardial Mesothelioma, you may be eligible for compensation. Contact our office to learn more. 

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