What Mesothelioma Is

(This information has been written by the Mayo Clinic staff)

Malignant mesothelioma (me-zoe-thee-lee-OH-muh) is a rare cancer that occurs in the thin layer of tissue that covers the majority of your internal organs (mesothelium).

Doctors divide mesothelioma into different types based on what part of the mesothelium is affected. Mesothelioma most often affects the tissue that surrounds the lungs (pleura). This type is called pleural malignant mesothelioma. Other, rarer types of mesothelioma affect tissue in the abdomen, around the heart and around the testicles.

Mesothelioma is an aggressive and deadly form of cancer. Mesothelioma treatments are available, but for many people with mesothelioma, a cure is not possible. Instead, treatment for mesothelioma is often focused on keeping you as comfortable as possible.

Signs and symptoms of mesothelioma vary depending on where the cancer occurs.

Pleural mesothelioma, which affects the tissue that surrounds the lungs, causes signs and symptoms that may include:

- Chest pain under the rib cage
- Painful coughing
- Shortness of breath
- Unusual lumps of tissue under the skin on your chest
- Unexplained weight loss

Peritoneal mesothelioma, which occurs in tissue in the abdomen, causes signs and symptoms that may include:

- Abdominal pain
- Abdominal swelling
- Lumps of tissue in the abdomen
- Unexplained weight loss

Other forms of mesothelioma
Signs and symptoms of other types of mesothelioma are unclear. Other forms of mesothelioma are so rare that not much information is available. Pericardial mesothelioma, which affects tissue that surrounds the heart, can cause signs and symptoms such as breathing difficulty and chest pains. Mesothelioma of tunica vaginalis, which affects tissue surrounding the testicles, may be first detected as a mass on a testicle.







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