Unlike malignant mesothelioma, benign mesothelioma is neither cancerous nor the result of exposure to asbestos.
While malignant mesothelioma takes decades to surface, benign mesothelioma can occur at any age. Here are five facts you should know about benign mesothelioma.
Benign mesothelioma is not cancerous
The most important thing to understand about benign mesothelioma is that unlike its more common counterpart, it’s not cancerous. Typically, when people think of mesothelioma, they think of its malignant form, which is very serious and deadly. Benign tumors do not spread to other parts of the body, making them a much less serious threat.
There’s more than one type of benign mesothelioma
There are multiple types of benign mesothelioma, which are generally simple to treat:
- Benign Multicystic Peritoneal Mesothelioma (BMPM) occurs in the peritoneal cavity and has symptoms including abdominal pain and swelling.
- Well-Differentiated Papillary Mesothelioma (WDPM) typically occurs in the abdominal cavity and has symptoms such as pain and fluid accumulation.
- Adenomatoid Tumor (AT) usually affects the uterus wall and tunica vaginalis.
- Localized Fibrous Tumor (LFT) generally affects the mesothelial cells in the pleura and half of the time has no symptoms.
The symptoms of benign and malignant mesothelioma are similar
Benign and malignant mesothelioma exhibit many of the same symptoms, including coughing, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, fatigue, weakness, night sweats, and chest or abdominal pain.
The cause of benign mesothelioma is unknown
It’s well documented that malignant mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos. Benign mesothelioma, on the other hand, has not been directly linked to asbestos exposure, and its cause remains unknown.
Benign mesothelioma has a low mortality rate and is easier to treat
In the majority of benign mesothelioma cases, a surgical procedure to remove the tumor is all that’s needed in the way of treatment. There’s no chemotherapy or follow-up regimen necessary because the tumor is not cancerous and doesn’t spread.
Typically, patients undergo a thoracotomy, which often involves the removal of part of the lung. It’s very rare that an entire lung will need to be removed in benign cases. Following surgery, most people recover completely.