Massachusetts Lawyers Explain the Differences Between Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma and Other Types of Cancer

What is sarcomatoid mesothelioma?

Sarcomatoid mesothelioma is the most aggressive type of mesothelioma, a cancer caused by asbestos exposure. Most sarcomatoid tumors develop in the protective lining, or pleura, of the lungs. Sarcomatoid tumors are sometimes called sarcomatous, diffuse malignant fibrous and spindled mesothelioma. The tumors are made up of giant, spindle-shaped cells in fibrous bundles. Sarcomatoid mesothelioma is more resistant to treatment than other types of mesothelioma.

Patients diagnosed with sarcomatoid mesothelioma survive an average of fewer than six months, but chances of living longer vary greatly depending on a patient’s age and total health. Desmoplastic mesothelioma is a variant of sarcomatoid mesothelioma, along with transitional mesothelioma and lymphohistiocytoid mesothelioma.

Distinguishing facts about sarcomatoid mesothelioma include the following:

  • Most aggressive type of mesothelioma
  • Tumors resemble spindles in fibrous bundles
  • More resistant to treatment than other types of mesothelioma
  • Accounts for 10 to 20 percent of pleural mesothelioma cases
  • Accounts for about four percent of peritoneal (abdominal) mesothelioma cases
  • Tumors frequently metastasize to surrounding tissue
  • Tumors may appear as nodules or lesions and rarely as a localized mass

How is sarcomatoid mesothelioma diagnosed?

The first sign in a cancer diagnosis is usually the appearance of a mass in a patient’s X-ray, CT scan or MRI. This usually prompts doctors to test a sample of fluid from the patient’s lungs. If tests are inconclusive, or if a more precise diagnosis is desired, doctors perform a biopsy, removing a sample of the mass for testing. A biopsy is the only way to study a patient’s cancer cells under a microscope.

What are some ways sarcomatoid mesothelioma is treated?

Sarcomatoid mesothelioma is the most aggressive type of mesothelioma, so most doctors recommend immediate, aggressive treatment. Every case is different, but surgery is rarely an option because sarcomatoid tumors are often rigid and attached to a patient’s chest wall in pleural mesothelioma patients or encase internal organs of abdominal mesothelioma patients.

Depending on the disease’s stage and tumor location, treatment options may include the following:

  • Surgery
  • Standard chemotherapy
  • Radiation
  • Selenite drug therapy with doxorubicin
  • CYVADIC (cyclophosphamide, vincristine, adriamycin and dacarbazine)

Selenite with doxorubicin and CYVADIC are drug combinations used in chemotherapy treatments that have shown promising results for sarcomatoid mesothelioma patients.

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