Mesothelioma in Children

Reviewed on 12/14/2022
Mesothelioma in Children
Symptoms of mesothelioma in children are almost completely similar to those in adults.

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that develops in the thin lining of tissue (mesothelium) that covers the majority of the internal organs. Mesothelioma is a severe type of cancer that spreads quickly. Adults who have been exposed to asbestos for a long period are more likely to develop mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is uncommon in children and adolescents.

4 types of mesotheliomas

  1. Pleural mesothelioma (lungs)
  2. Peritoneal mesothelioma (abdomen)
  3. Pericardial mesothelioma (heart)
  4. Testicular mesothelioma (testicles)

Can Mesothelioma Occur in Children?

Mesothelioma is commonly seen in adults due to asbestos exposure, but the condition is extremely rare in children. If it occurs in children or adolescents, the causes may include:

  • Secondhand asbestos exposure, which is a major risk factor. If any of your family members are constantly exposed to asbestos at their workplace, they may bring asbestos fiber on their clothes, putting children at risk of exposure
  • Any genetic changes in DNA

Other ways children can get exposed to asbestos include:

  • Schools
    • Most of the schools built before 1980 still contain asbestos insulation in pipes and boilers
    • When their structure becomes damaged, it may result in long-term asbestos exposure, which may cause mesothelioma
  • Talcum powder
  • Toys
  • Environmental exposure

What Are the Symptoms of Mesothelioma?

The symptoms of mesothelioma in children are almost similar to those in adults.

Here’s a list of symptoms that vary depending on the type of mesothelioma:

Pleural mesothelioma

The most commonly diagnosed form of mesothelioma, which accounts for about 80 to 90 percent of cases. Cancer cells form in the lining of the lungs, known as the pleura. This is the most aggressive form of mesothelioma. The symptoms  include:

Peritoneal mesothelioma

This is the second most common type of mesothelioma. It affects the abdominal lining and accounts for 15 to 20 percent of mesotheliomas. The symptoms include:

Pericardial mesothelioma

A rare type of mesothelioma that accounts for only one percent of mesotheliomas. The condition is seen when the cancer cells affect the lining of the heart, called the pericardium. The symptoms include:

  • Chest pain
  • Palpitations
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Fever
  • Night sweats
  • Fluid accumulation in the pericardium

Testicular mesothelioma

This cancer develops in the lining of the testicles. It is a very rare form of mesothelioma that accounts for less than one percent of mesotheliomas. The symptoms include:

  • Lump on the testicle
  • Testicular pain
  • Scrotal swelling (caused by fluid accumulation in the scrotum)


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How to Diagnose Mesothelioma

Medical professionals often diagnose mesothelioma based on the symptoms and may suggest a few diagnostic procedures, such as:

  • Blood tests
  • Imaging tests, such as chest X-rays, CT, and MRI
  • Biopsy to confirm a malignancy

Inform your healthcare provider if:

  • You are exposed to asbestos.
  • Any of your family members are constantly exposed to asbestos.
  • You have a family history of mesothelioma.

How Do You Treat Mesothelioma in Children?

When mesothelioma is detected at an early stage and the diagnosed person is in good health, radicular treatment options such as extrapleural pneumonectomy, pleurectomy, or peritoneal cytoreductive surgery may be effective.

Palliative therapies are recommended for those who are unable to receive any treatment.

The major treatment options include:

What Are the Complications of Mesothelioma in Children?

The following are the complications of mesothelioma:

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Reviewed on 12/14/2022
Image Source: iStock image