Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer, but it has affected a number of Pennsylvania workers who were earlier exposed to asbestos on the job. The malignancy is almost always fatal, and there are few effective treatment options. While the cancer may appear years after a victim experienced asbestos exposure on the job, it can develop rapidly and can, just like other cancers, spread to other areas of the body. In some rare cases, mesothelioma may spread to the brain. According to the Journal of Clinical Oncology, around 3% of mesothelioma patients may experience brain metastases.
In most cases, mesothelioma spreads to other parts of the body closer to the chest long before it reaches the brain. Mesothelioma develops in the pleural lining of one of the patient’s lungs. From there it can spread into the lung as a whole, the chest wall or nearby lymph nodes. Mesothelioma may affect the entire chest before it spreads elsewhere in the body. When mesothelioma does reach the brain, however, it does so through the circulation of blood and lymph fluid. When the cancer invades blood vessels or lymph nodes in the chest, some cancer cells may be carried inside the lymph system or the bloodstream.
If these cancerous cells survive and reach other parts of the body, they could root themselves in tissue in another location. They may develop into tumors there or remain dormant for a long period of time before growing again. In most cases involving the brain, cancerous mesothelioma cells were carried there through the bloodstream. Tumors typically develop along blood vessels rather than inside brain tissue.
Mesothelioma is a severe form of cancer that carries with it significant costs. Workers who have developed the disease due to asbestos exposure at their place of employment may want to consult with an attorney about how they may pursue compensation to their damages.