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Mesothelioma is a cancer that forms in the thin tissue that lines many of your internal organs.

What is Mesothelioma?

Cancer is a disease in which cells in the body grow out of control. Mesothelioma is a cancer that forms in the thin tissue that lines many of your internal organs. This thin tissue is called the mesothelium.

The most common kind of Mesothelioma forms in the tissue around the lungs, called the pleura. This is called pleural Mesothelioma. But Mesothelioma may also form in:

  • The tissue in the abdomen, called the peritoneum.

  • The tissue around the heart, called the pericardium.

  • The tissue around the testicles, called the tunica vaginalis.

What are the symptoms?

Pleural mesothelioma can cause:

  • Pain in your chest, under your rib cage.

  • Coughing.

  • Shortness of breath.

  • Lumps under the skin on your chest.

  • Tiredness.

  • Weight loss you can’t explain.

Peritoneal mesothelioma can cause:

  • A swollen abdomen.

  • Pain in your abdomen.

  • Nausea.

  • Tiredness.

  • Weight loss you can’t explain.

If you have any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor. They may be caused by something other than cancer. The only way to know what is causing them is to see your doctor.

What causes mesothelioma?

Exposure to asbestos causes most cases of mesothelioma. Asbestos was used in many consumer products, automobile parts, and building materials in the 20th century, before scientists learned about its dangers to health. Asbestos is no longer mined in the United States, but it is imported from other countries to make some products. It is still present in some older homes and buildings.

How is Mesothelioma Diagnosed?

It can be hard to tell the difference between mesothelioma and other cancers. You may need to have a physical exam and other tests, such as imaging tests (a chest X-ray or CT scan) or a biopsy (removing a small piece of tissue to look at under a microscope).

Mesothelioma Quick Facts

  • Mesothelioma is a type of cancer

  • Mesothelioma is caused by asbestos exposure

  • Mesothelioma symptoms may be caused by something else- always ask your doctor

Demographic Factors in Mesothelioma Survival Rates

Research shows survival among women diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma is three times higher than survival for men. One 2014 study reported 13.4% of women survive for five years after treatment, compared to only 4.5% of men.

The one-year survival rate is about the same for all races. From three years on, survival is slightly worse for whites.

5-Year Mesothelioma Survival by Race

Overall, younger mesothelioma patients have a significantly higher survival rate than older patients. More than 50% of patients diagnosed before the age of 50 survive one year, while less than 33% of those 75 or older survive the same length of time.

- (Mesothelioma Center)

Glaucoma Resources:

Mesothelioma (CDC)

Health Effects of Asbestos (Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry)

Mesothelioma (Mayo Clinic)

Malignant Mesothelioma (National Cancer Institute)

Mesothelioma Clinical Trials

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