Biphasic mesothelioma is a combination of the other two forms of the cancer: epithelial and sarcomatoid. It occurs in approximately 20 to 40 percent of all cases, making it the second most common type of mesothelioma.
Causes and Symptoms
Exposure to asbestos is the primary cause of almost all mesothelioma cases. Unfortunately, developing the condition may take up to 50 years, and symptoms may not appear until that time. Such symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pains, coughing, and fatigue. These symptoms are not specific to biphasic mesothelioma, though, so tell your doctor about any asbestos exposure as soon as possible.
Testing and Diagnosis
If you suspect you have mesothelioma, a specialist will use chest x-rays, CT scans, and MRIs to diagnose you. After these tests are completed, a surgeon will biopsy your tumor. This process removes tissue from the cancer and determines the cell types in the laboratory. With this form of mesothelioma, you may need additional surgery for an accurate diagnosis, as the tumor may only show one type of cell. During surgery, both types of cancer cells may be discovered. Again, this form of mesothelioma is rare.
Treatments and Prognosis
Biphasic mesothelioma can be very aggressive, especially when you have a high ratio of sarcomatoid cells, which are resistant to treatment. A prognosis might be difficult to determine, especially if diagnosis occurs in later stages of the disease. However, treatments are available that can certainly improve your life and your comfort.
When diagnosed during Stage I or Stage II, you may receive radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Sometimes, surgery is an option, especially if you are otherwise healthy and the tumor is in a treatable location. For biphasic mesothelioma sufferers in later stages, some doctors recommend treatments that don't eliminate the condition but help ease pain and discomfort.
Want More Information?
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or you are at high risk due to asbestos exposure, talk to your doctor about health screenings or treatment. If you would like someone to talk to you about your options, please contact us.