Mesothelioma

Overview

This is a cancer that forms in the mesothelium. That's a thin layer of tissue around many of your organs. Most often, this cancer affects the tissue around your lungs. But it can form in other places. It can develop in the tissue that lines the heart, abdomen or testicles.

Causes

What causes mesothelioma? We think it's most often linked to asbestos. Asbestos is a mineral made up of thin fibers. Because it resists heat, it has been used in construction and manufacturing. But asbestos can be harmful. When it's broken apart, it lets out fibrous dust. You breathe in or swallow this dust. The fibers get trapped in your body. They irritate your tissues. Over many years, this may cause cancer cells to form.

Symptoms

If you have this cancer in your chest, it may make breathing hard for you. You may have chest pain, and it made be hard for you to swallow. If you have this cancer in your abdomen, you may have abdominal pain and swelling. You may have nausea, and you may lose weight.

Treatment

Treatment depends on the stage of your cancer. Your options may include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery or other methods. Your healthcare provider will create a care plan that's right for you.