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Mesothelioma

Also called: Malignant mesothelioma

Summary

The tissue that lines your lungs, stomach, heart, and other organs is called mesothelium. Mesothelioma is a tumor of that tissue. It usually starts in the lungs, but can also start in the abdomen or other organs. It can be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer.)

Malignant mesothelioma is a rare but serious type of cancer. Most people who get it have worked on jobs where they inhaled asbestos particles. After being exposed to asbestos, it usually takes a long time for the disease to form.

Symptoms include

  • Trouble breathing
  • Pain under the rib cage
  • Pain, swelling, or lumps in the abdomen
  • Weight loss for no known reason

Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference between malignant mesothelioma and lung cancer. Your doctor uses imaging tests and a biopsy to make the diagnosis. Malignant mesothelioma is often found when it is advanced. This makes it harder to treat. Treatment may include surgery, radiation, and/or chemotherapy.

NIH: National Cancer Institute

Start Here

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute) Also in
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  • (American Cancer Society)

Diagnosis and Tests

  • (American Cancer Society)
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Prevention and Risk Factors

  • (American Cancer Society)
  • (American Cancer Society)

Treatments and Therapies

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  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute)

Living With

  • (Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation)

Related Issues

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Specifics

  • (Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation)

Statistics and Research

  • (American Cancer Society)
  • (American Cancer Society)

Striking laughter

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)

Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

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Patient Handouts