Testicular Mesothelioma

Testicular mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that affects the tunica vaginalis. Uncover the causes, symptoms, and diagnostic tactics for testicular mesothelioma.

Female doctor performing surgery

What is Testicular Mesothelioma?

Testicular mesothelioma is a rare form of mesothelioma that accounts for less than 1% of all mesothelioma cases. There is very little known about mesothelioma of the testicle as it is so scarce; meaning there is little known about the causes, treatment, and prognosis. If you are a veteran diagnosed with testicular mesothelioma cancer, discover what medical professionals do know about this serious condition.

What Causes Testicular Mesothelioma?

Asbestos exposure is the root cause of all other forms of mesothelioma – pericardial, peritoneal, and pleural. Many popular industries such as construction, military, and mechanics used asbestos, a toxic substance, for many decades. During this period of time, many employees, consumers, and Veterans were unknowingly exposed to asbestos particles. Of those that came in contact with asbestos regularly, many developed serious conditions such as mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis.

People can inhale or ingest asbestos, where the fibers find their way to the lungs or abdominal areas. However, medical professionals are unsure of how asbestos makes its way to the tunica vaginalis. Once asbestos fibers become lodged in this area, they cannot be removed and remained trapped for years or decades. The asbestos fibers cause irritation and inflammation, leading to healthy cells abnormally dividing into cancerous cells.

However, because testicular cancer is so rare, there is not an established cause. All other types of mesothelioma have known and direct links to asbestos, but it remains unclear if asbestos exposure is the sole cause of testicular mesothelioma. In fact, some reports indicate that fewer than half of all testicular mesothelioma cases have a history of known asbestos exposure.

What Are the Most Common Signs of Testicular Meso?

It is difficult to assign symptoms to mesothelioma of the tunica vaginalis as it is so rare. However, because this form of mesothelioma affects the testicles, many symptoms will relate to this area. Common signs of testicular mesothelioma include:

  • Swollen testicle
  • Fluid buildup in the scrotum
  • Scrotal mass

Because the cancer is so uncommon, many professionals misdiagnose these symptoms as more familiar conditions such as a hernia. A definitive way to confirm a cancer diagnosis is to perform a biopsy. A cancer biopsy involves removing and testing a tissue sample from the affected area.

Diagnosis and Survival Rate for Testicular Mesothelioma

Patients with this type of cancer have a life expectancy of 20 to 25 months, which is a better prognosis than that of pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma which is 12 to 21 months. However, the earlier it is caught, the better prognosis a patient will receive as it is deadly cancer. Diagnosis for this form of mesothelioma can be difficult as many of the signs and symptoms are similar to that of other conditions. Additionally, this form of cancer is so uncommon that it is often difficult to diagnose.

There are a few distinct ways to diagnose testicular mesothelioma including radiology and ultrasound technology.

Testicular Mesothelioma Radiology

Radiology, more commonly known as imaging, takes pictures of the inside of the body. Radiology tests can detect cancer in its early stages when it is small, has not spread, and the patient does not have symptoms. Additionally, imaging professionals can utilize radiology to identify a mass if a patient is experiencing symptoms.

Once doctors identify cancer, they can utilize imaging to plan treatment. Doctors can use imaging techniques to direct radiation therapy beams and surgery for testicular mesothelioma. After treatment, imaging can show how the therapy is working.

Testicular Mesothelioma Ultrasound

Ultrasounds give off sound waves that travel through the body, bouncing off organs and tissues and creating echoes. Medical professionals then transcribe the echoes into images which can then identify abnormal tissues. However, ultrasounds cannot tell whether a tumor is cancerous or not. Doctors often use ultrasounds in conjunction with other diagnostic methods like biopsies.

What If I’m Experiencing Symptoms?

Testicular mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer with many unknowns. If you are experiencing testicular mesothelioma symptoms or are worried about asbestos exposure, there are options available. Meso Vets can assist Veterans in connecting them with legal and medical professionals. Contact us today to receive a unique case evaluation to develop your choices.

Author: Madeline May – Last Edited: July 5, 2022


American Cancer Society. (2015, November 30). Imaging (Radiology) Tests for Cancer. Retrieved from American Cancer Society: https://www.cancer.org/treatment/understanding-your-diagnosis/tests/imaging-radiology-tests-for-cancer.html

American Cancer Society. (2015, November 30). Ultrasound for Cancer. Retrieved from American Cancer Society: https://www.cancer.org/treatment/understanding-your-diagnosis/tests/ultrasound-for-cancer.html#:~:text=Ultrasound%20images%20are%20not%20as,the%20lungs)%20or%20through%20bone.

Singapore Med J. (2015, March). Malignant mesothelioma of tunica vaginalis: an extremely rare case presenting without risk factors. Retrieved from National Library of Medicine: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4371211/