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Mesothelioma Of The Tunica Vaginalis (Testicular Mesothelioma)

Mesothelioma is a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos dust. Most mesothelioma tumours are pleural or, less commonly, peritoneal or pericardial. Pleural mesothelioma affects the lining of the lung. Peritoneal mesothelioma affects the lining of the stomach. Pericardial mesothelioma forms around the lining of the heart.

However, there is also a very rare other type of mesothelioma called mesothelioma of the tunica vaginalis – more commonly referred to as “testicular mesothelioma”.

Mesothelioma of the Tunica Vaginalis

This type of mesothelioma forms on the tunica vaginalis membrane that surrounds the testes. It appears as firm nodules on the surface of the tunica vaginalis and the nodules will get to the stage where they encase the scrotum and cause the membrane to thicken.

This very rare asbestos related disease accounts for less than 1% of all mesothelioma tumours. As a result, there isn’t as much information known about testicular mesothelioma compared to other mesothelioma types.

Symptoms of Mesothelioma

Typical pleural mesothelioma symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Extreme tiredness
  • A cough
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss

Typical peritoneal mesothelioma symptoms include:

  • Stomach complaints
  • Nausea and sickness
  • Diarrhea or constipation

Typical pericardial mesothelioma symptoms include:

  •  Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Heart palpitations
  • Irregular heartbeat

Typical testicular mesothelioma symptoms include:

  • Scrotal swelling
  • A solid scrotal mass
  • Hydrocele (fluid retention around the testicle)
  • Pain in the testes or groin area
  • Symptoms similar to an inguinal hernia

Due to the symptoms listed above also being common for many other illnesses, mesothelioma of any type can be difficult for medical professionals to diagnose. For the testicular related symptoms, mesothelioma of the tunica vaginalis is so rare that it is not generally a potential condition at the forefront of a doctor’s mind when making a diagnosis. Diagnosis of testicular mesothelioma is usually made via a biopsy.


There is no treatment specifically available for testicular mesothelioma, although radical orchiectomy surgery – removal of the affected testicle and its spermatic cord – is often carried out once a diagnosis has been made. In addition, the more traditional mesothelioma treatments such as immunotherapy, chemotherapy and radiotherapy may be offered.

Despite the rarity of testicular mesothelioma and therefore less data about the condition being readily available, the disease is generally considered to have a better outcome in terms of life expectancy when compared to other types of mesothelioma. This is in part because testicular mesothelioma is limited to the testes, meaning it does not usually metastasize to other parts of the body. Due to its restricted area, it can be easier to manage medically.

Asbestos Exposure

It is recognised, without doubt, that mesothelioma tumours are caused by asbestos exposure. Mesothelioma of the tunica vaginalis is no different.

As with all mesotheliomas, the exposure to asbestos usually took place many, many years ago. Asbestos fibres have been inhaled into the lung by millions of people and for most of them there will be no medical issues arising as a result. However, for about 2,500 people in the UK every year, mesothelioma will be diagnosed as a result of that long-ago exposure to asbestos fibres.

As mentioned earlier, most mesothelioma tumours affect the lining of the lung. It is not clear how asbestos fibres originating in the lung can cause testicular mesothelioma but one theory is that the asbestos fibres are moved from the lung to the tunica vaginalis via the lymphatic or bloodstream route and then cause tissue irritation.

Compensation Claims

Hodge Jones & Allen are specialists in securing compensation for asbestos related diseases, including mesothelioma of all types, asbestos related lung cancer, asbestosis and pleural thickening. We have a wealth of experience in our dedicated Asbestos and Industrial Disease Team.

Despite testicular mesothelioma being extremely rare, we recently settled a case for a client in his 80s who had been diagnosed with the condition. Our client’s first symptoms were swelling in the scrotum. This worsened as time went on and a scan revealed a fluid build-up. He underwent a hydrocele repair, not having any idea at that time that he may have mesothelioma. A biopsy was taken during the hydrocele repair operation, which in turn confirmed he was a very unique gentleman because he was suffering from an extremely rare, and barely heard of, form of mesothelioma.

Our client previously worked as a plumber and was regularly exposed to asbestos dust during the 1950s and 1960s when going about his work. Even though his employment was some 60 years ago, our Asbestos and Industrial Disease Team experts were able to obtain the required evidence to successfully settle his compensation claim.


If you are suffering from any of the symptoms mentioned above and believe you may have been exposed to asbestos dust, however long ago that exposure may have been and wherever it may have happened, we urge you to seek medical advice without delay.

If there is any suggestion at all from your medical professional that you may have an asbestos-related condition, please seek legal advice from our Asbestos & Mesothelioma compensation experts – we are here to help. Call 0808 271 9413 or request a callback.

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