Mesothelioma is a malignant tumor that is caused by inhaled asbestos fibers and forms in the lining of the lungs, abdomen or heart. Symptoms can include shortness of breath and chest pain. The life expectancy for most mesothelioma patients is approximately 12 months after diagnosis. Treatment may improve prognosis and can include surgery, chemotherapy or radiation.

What Is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive lung malignancy that develops in the protective lining around the lungs, abdomen, and heart. It is caused by exposure to asbestos and can take between 20 and 50 years to develop. Also, Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that develops in the lining that covers the outer surface of some of the body’s organs. It’s usually linked to asbestos exposure.

Mesothelioma Symptoms

Symptoms of mesothelioma appear when tumors spread, grow and press against the chest wall and the abdominal cavity. Chest pain and shortness of breath are the most common symptoms.


  • Dry coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Respiratory complications
  • Pain in the chest or abdomen
  • Fever or night sweats
  • Pleural effusion (fluid around the lungs)
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness in the muscles

Mesothelioma Causes

Asbestos exposure is the primary cause of mesothelioma. People exposed to asbestos at home, work or in the military have a higher risk of developing the disease.


Stages of Mesothelioma

The stages of mesothelioma range from 1 to 4 and are based on tumor size and location.

Early-stage mesothelioma is usually more confined to one site, while late-stage mesothelioma shows tumors spreading beyond the chest or abdominal cavity. Staging is an important part of determining treatment.


Mesothelioma Types

The four types of mesothelioma cancer are identified by the location in the body where tumors develop. Pleural and peritoneal types of mesothelioma are the most common. Pericardial mesothelioma accounts for 1% of cases.

Prognosis, symptoms and treatment options vary by mesothelioma type.


Mesothelioma Treatment Options

Mesothelioma cancer is treated with conventional therapies such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. But not every patient is eligible for each type of mesothelioma treatment. Some patients also opt for emerging cancer treatments, including clinical trials, and alternative therapies.


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