Everything You Need to Know About Mesothelioma

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Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive form of asbestos-related cancer. It develops in the mesothelial cells that line the lungs, heart and abdominal cavity. The cancer is primarily caused by exposure to asbestos, which was commonly used in construction, manufacturing and other industries. Mesothelioma symptoms can take decades to appear after exposure, making it difficult to diagnose and treat. In this article, we will explore mesothelioma in detail, including its causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment options and prognosis.

Causes of Mesothelioma

Asbestos continues to be the primary cause of mesothelioma. The naturally occurring mineral was once widely used in building materials and other products. Asbestos was popular because of its heat-resistant and insulating properties. When asbestos fibers are inhaled or ingested, they can become trapped in the lining of the lungs or other organs, leading to inflammation and scarring. Over time, this can cause genetic mutations in the mesothelial cells, leading to the development of cancer.

Symptoms of Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma symptoms can vary depending on the location and stage of the cancer. The most common symptoms are chest pain, shortness of breath or a persistent cough. In its early stages, mesothelioma may not cause any noticeable symptoms. As the cancer progresses, the following symptoms may develop:

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Persistent cough
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Swelling in the abdomen

Because mesothelioma symptoms can mimic those of more common conditions, such as pneumonia or lung cancer, it is often misdiagnosed or overlooked.

Mesothelioma Diagnosis

Diagnosing mesothelioma can be challenging because its symptoms are like those of other conditions. If mesothelioma is suspected, a doctor will typically perform a series of tests to confirm the diagnosis, including:

  • Imaging tests: X-rays, CT scans and MRIs identify abnormalities in the affected area.
  • Biopsy: The biopsy is the most accurate way to confirm the presence of cancerous cells. The medical procedure involves the removal of a small tissue sample for examination under a microscope to determine the presence of cancer cells and the type of cancer.

Once the diagnosis of mesothelioma is confirmed, further tests, such as blood tests, will be done to determine the extent of the cancer and whether it has spread to other areas of the body.

Treatment of Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma treatment depends on the stage of the cancer, its location and the patient’s overall health. The most common treatment options for mesothelioma include:

  • Surgery: The goal of surgery is to remove as much of the cancerous tissue as possible. Surgery may be combined with other treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation.
  • Chemotherapy: A systemic treatment that uses drugs to kill cancer cells throughout the body.
  • Radiation therapy: The use of high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells in a specific area.

In some cases, a combination of these treatments may be used to improve the chances of success. Because mesothelioma is often diagnosed in its later stages, treatment options may be limited.

Mesothelioma Prognosis

Mesothelioma prognosis is generally poor because it is usually diagnosed in its later stages when the cancer has already spread. The survival rate for mesothelioma depends on many factors, including the stage and location of the cancer, the patient’s age and overall health, and type of treatment. The five-year survival rate for mesothelioma is around 10%, meaning that only a small percentage of patients survive beyond five years after diagnosis. However, it is important to note advancements in treatment and earlier detection are improving survival rates.

Prevention of Mesothelioma

The best way to prevent mesothelioma is to avoid exposure to asbestos fibers. This can be achieved by taking the following steps:

  • Avoiding working with or around asbestos-containing materials
  • Using proper protective gear, such as masks and respirators, when working with asbestos
  • Following proper safety procedures when working with asbestos, such as wetting the material to prevent fibers from becoming airborne
  • Ensuring that any asbestos-containing materials in the home or workplace are properly removed or encapsulated by a certified professional

In addition, people who have been exposed to asbestos should undergo regular medical checkups to monitor for any signs of mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases.

The Mesothelioma Center at

The Mesothelioma Center at is the nation’s most trusted mesothelioma resource. The advocacy group supports people and loved ones affected by mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses. The organization is in Orlando, Florida, and it provides services across the United States.

Established in 2006, The Mesothelioma Center has aided thousands of mesothelioma patients and their loved ones as well as assisted more than half of all mesothelioma cases diagnosed annually in the U.S. The group offers more than 15 free services to those impacted by this rare form of cancer.

With an A+ Better Business Bureau rating and hundreds of 5-star Google Reviews, The Mesothelioma Center is recognized as the nation’s most reliable resource for mesothelioma patients and families. By connecting individuals with the necessary resources at the right time, the organization has a positive impact on the mesothelioma community.

The organization helps patients and their loved ones schedule appointments with leading mesothelioma specialists. It also finds eligible clinical trials. Essential information is shared with the mesothelioma community through medically reviewed books, print resources, news articles on the latest treatment advances, guest posts from mesothelioma researchers and doctors, survivor stories, in-depth features based on surveys and available data, and blogs written by actual patients and caregivers.

The center also hosts multiple webinars each year that feature top mesothelioma specialists. These webinars provide patients and families the opportunity to have their questions answered directly by an expert. Two different mesothelioma support groups are available, providing safe spaces for patients and caregivers to share their experiences, ask for advice, and learn from others facing mesothelioma.

The Mesothelioma Center strives to ease the financial burden that accompanies a mesothelioma diagnosis. The organization helps patients and families access financial aid and connects them with top attorneys who assist them with covering treatment costs and other cancer-related expenses. Additionally, The Mesothelioma Center actively educates the public about the hazards of asbestos exposure, with the aim of preventing future mesothelioma cases.


Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive form of asbestos-related cancer. The disease can be challenging to diagnose and treat due to its long latency period and the similarity of its symptoms to other conditions. However, advancements in treatment and earlier detection have improved the survival rates for mesothelioma. The best way to prevent mesothelioma is to avoid exposure to asbestos fibers by taking proper safety precautions when working with asbestos and ensuring that any asbestos-containing materials in the home or workplace are properly removed or encapsulated.


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