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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.
- 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
- Drugs Approved for Malignant Mesothelioma (National Cancer Institute)
- Treatment Option Overview (Malignant Mesothelioma) (National Cancer Institute)
- Treatment Options for Malignant Mesothelioma (National Cancer Institute)
- Mesothelioma Treatment: Recovery, Side Effects, What to Expect (Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation)
- Peritoneal Mesothelioma (Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation)
- Asbestos Exposure and Cancer Risk (National Cancer Institute) Available in Spanish
- Mesothelioma Caregivers (Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation)
- What Should You Ask Your Doctor about Malignant Mesothelioma? (American Cancer Society)
- Compassionate Allowances (Social Security Administration)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Mesothelioma (National Institutes of Health)
- What's New in Malignant Mesothelioma Research and Treatment? (American Cancer Society)
Journal ArticlesReferences and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Expression status of candidate genes in mesothelioma tissues and cell...
- Article: Pleurectomy/decortication, hyperthermic pleural lavage with povidone-iodine, prophylactic radiotherapy, and systemic...
- Article: Invited commentary.
- Mesothelioma -- see more articles
- Asbestos related mesothelioma -- see more articles
- Glossary (Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation)
- Malignant Mesothelioma: Age-Adjusted Death Rates by State, 1999-2005 (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health)
- Malignant Mesothelioma: Number of Deaths, Crude and Age-Adjusted Death Rates, U.S. Residents Age 15 and Over, 1999-2007 (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health)
- What Are the Key Statistics about Malignant Mesothelioma? (American Cancer Society)
- Abdominal radiation - discharge Available in Spanish
- After chemotherapy - discharge Available in Spanish
- Chest radiation - discharge Available in Spanish
- Mesothelioma (benign-fibrous) Available in Spanish
- Mesothelioma (malignant) Available in Spanish
- Radiation enteritis Available in Spanish
- Understanding Chemotherapy (National Cancer Institute) - PDF Available in Spanish
- What to Know about External Beam Radiation Therapy (National Cancer Institute) - PDF