Malignant mesothelioma is an uncommon form of cancer that is strongly associated with prolonged exposure to fibrous minerals such as asbestos. It has a lengthy latency period—the time between first exposure to a carcinogenic material and diagnosis—sometimes spanning decades, so people afflicted with this deadly form of cancer often feel as though they are in perfect health for decades before becoming symptomatic.

What is pericardial mesothelioma?

Pericardial mesothelioma is the form of mesothelioma cancer that afflicts the lining of the heart. The mesothelium surrounding and protecting the heart, called the pericardium, becomes riddled by cancer cells, causing a tumor to form and potentially spread to other organs from there. Symptoms often manifest as chest pain and pressure and difficulty breathing.

A rarity within a rarity

Mesothelioma cancer is quite rare when compared with other cancer diagnoses, although cases are increasing as time goes on, and thousands are diagnosed each year. Pericardial mesothelioma is one of the rarest forms of this cancer, with only 1 to 2 percent of all mesothelioma diagnoses being pericardial meso.

Treatment options

Treatment options for pericardial mesothelioma are somewhat limited, but surgery and chemotherapy—sometimes in conjunction with one another, or used consecutively—are the most popular methods. Surgery generally involves removal of the visible tumor and the portion of the lining of the heart that is visibly affected by the cancer. Chemotherapy may be offered after the post-surgical recovery period in an effort to eradicate cancer cells leftover after the operation.

What to do if you are diagnosed

If you are diagnosed with pericardial mesothelioma, discuss your treatment options with your doctor. You may also wish to contact a mesothelioma attorney to talk about filing a legal claim for compensation if you believe you were exposed to asbestos due to another party’s negligence, such as an employer or landlord. An attorney can help you build a case, file a claim, and get the financial compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering.