URL of this page: https://medlineplus.gov/mesothelioma.html

Mesothelioma

Also called: Malignant mesothelioma

Summary

The tissue that lines your lungs, stomach, heart, and other organs is called mesothelium. Mesothelioma, also known as malignant mesothelioma, is cancer of that tissue. It usually starts in the lungs, but can also start in the abdomen or other organs.

Malignant mesothelioma is rare but serious. 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, chemotherapy, and/or targeted therapy. Targeted therapy uses drugs or other substances that attack specific cancer cells with less harm to normal cells.

NIH: National Cancer Institute

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