Learn about mesothelioma, its symptoms, and treatment


Malignant mesothelioma is a type of cancer that occurs in the thin layer of tissue that covers most internal organs (the mesothelium).

Learn about mesothelioma, its symptoms, and treatment

Mesothelioma is a violent and deadly type of cancer. Treatments for mesothelioma are available, but for many people with mesothelioma, curing is not possible.

Doctors classify mesothelioma into different types depending on which part of the mesothelium is affected. 

Mesothelioma most often affects the tissues that surround the lung (pleura). This type is called pleural mesothelioma

Other, rarer types of mesothelioma affect tissues in the stomach (peritoneal mesothelioma), around the heart, and around the testicles.


Mesothelioma signs and symptoms depend on the location of the cancer.

Pleural mesothelioma, which affects the tissues around the lungs, may include:

chest pain

Painful cough

shortness of breath

The appearance of abnormal tissue lumps under the skin of the chest

unexplained weight loss

peritoneal mesothelioma, which affects the tissues around the abdomen, and may include the following signs and symptoms:

Tummy ache

Abdominal distension


unexplained weight loss

Other forms of mesothelioma

The signs and symptoms of other types of mesothelioma aren't clear, as other forms of mesothelioma are very rare.

Pericardial mesothelioma, which affects the tissues surrounding the heart, can cause signs and symptoms such as difficulty breathing and chest pain.

Tunica mesothelioma, which affects the tissues surrounding the testicles, may be diagnosed initially as a lump or lump on the testicle.

When do you visit the doctor?

Make an appointment with your doctor if you have signs and symptoms that worry you. Signs and symptoms of malignant mesothelioma are not specific to this disease, and due to the rarity of malignant mesothelioma, they are likely to be associated with other conditions. 

If some persistent signs and symptoms seem unusual or bothersome, ask your doctor to evaluate them. Tell your doctor if you have been exposed to asbestos.

the reasons

In general, cancer begins when a series of changes (mutations) occur in the DNA of a cell. DNA contains the instructions that tell the cell what to do. 

Mutations tell the cell to grow and multiply uncontrollably. The abnormal cells accumulate and form a tumor.

The cause of the primary gene mutations that cause amyloidosis is not known, although researchers have identified factors that may increase the risk. 

Cancer can form as a result of the interaction of many factors, such as genetic conditions, your environment, your health, and your lifestyle choices.

risk factors

Exposure to asbestos: the primary risk factor for mesothelioma

It is believed that most mesotheliomas are related to exposure to asbestos. Asbestos is one of the minerals found naturally in the environment. 

Asbestos fibers are strong and heat resistant, which makes them useful in a variety of uses, such as insulation, brake, ceiling, floor, and many other products.

When dismantling asbestos, such as during the mining process or when removing asbestos insulation, dust may be produced. 

If the dust is inhaled or swallowed, the asbestos fibers will lodge in the lungs or in the stomach, where they can cause irritation that leads to mesothelioma. 

Exactly how this happens is not understood. It can take 20 to 60 years or more to develop mesothelioma after asbestos exposure.

Most people exposed to asbestos do not develop mesothelioma. This indicates that other factors may be involved in determining whether an individual will develop mesothelioma. 

For example, you can inherit a predisposition to cancer or another condition can increase your risk.

Factors that may increase the risk of mesothelioma include:

Past asbestos exposure. If you've been directly exposed to asbestos fibers at work or at home, your risk of developing mesothelioma is greatly increased.

Living with someone who is exposed to asbestos at work. People who are exposed to asbestos may carry the fibers into their homes on their clothing and skin. 

Exposure to these fibers over many years can put others in the home at risk for mesothelioma. 

Individuals who deal with high levels of asbestos can reduce the risk of bringing asbestos fibers home by showering and changing clothes before leaving work.

A family history of mesothelioma. If a parent, relative, or child has had mesothelioma, you may have an increased risk of developing the disease.

Chest radiotherapy. If you've had radiation therapy to treat cancer in your chest, you may have an increased risk of developing mesothelioma.


When pleural mesothelioma spreads to the chest, it puts pressure on the structures in that area. This can cause complications, such as:

difficulty breathing

chest pain

Difficulty swallowing

Pain caused by pressure on the nerves and spinal cord

Accumulation of fluid in the chest (pleural effusion), which can put pressure on a nearby lung and make breathing difficult


Reducing exposure to asbestos may reduce the risk of developing mesothelioma.

Find out if you work with asbestos

Most people with mesothelioma were exposed to asbestos fibers at work. Workers who may be exposed to asbestos fibers include:

Asbestos miners



pipe installers

insulation workers

dock workers

demolition workers

brake mechanics

Some members of the armed forces

home renovators

Ask your employer if you are at risk of asbestos while on the job.

Follow safety rules in your workplace

Follow All safety precautions in your workplace, such as wearing protective gear. You may also be required to shower and change into work clothes before lunch, or before going home. 

Talk to your doctor about the precautions you can take to protect yourself from asbestos exposure.

Protect yourself when your home contains asbestos

Older homes or buildings may contain asbestos. In many cases, removing asbestos is more dangerous than keeping it together. 

Breaking the asbestos may cause the fibers to be airborne where they can be inhaled. Consult experts trained to detect the presence of asbestos in your home. 

Experts may test the air in the house; To determine the extent of asbestos and its danger to your health. 

Do not attempt to remove asbestos from your home - do so by a qualified professional.

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