Malignant mesothelioma is a rare and deadly form of cancer found in the sac lining of the chest, the lining of the abdominal cavity, or the lining around the heart. Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about mesothelioma:
What causes mesothelioma?
Asbestos exposure is the only known cause of mesothelioma. Many people suffering with mesothelioma were exposed to asbestos at work or while in the military. Other people were exposed to asbestos in a household environment, often without knowing it. An example of this is when workers brought home asbestos fibers on their clothing and exposed their family members to the fibers.
How much exposure does it take to get the disease?
Workers with prolonged exposure to asbestos are at the greatest risk for developing mesothelioma, however, there have been cases of the disease that have been caused by minimal exposure.
After exposure, how long does it take to develop mesothelioma?
It can take as long as 60 years after exposure for the disease to manifest.
How many cases of mesothelioma are there each year?
The American Cancer Society estimates that 2,000 to 3,000 people per year are diagnosed with mesothelioma in the United States.
What are the types of mesothelioma?
The forms of malignant mesothelioma include the following:
Peritoneal mesothelioma: This form of cancer affects the peritoneum membrane of the abdomen. These tumors can also be found in the stomach and abdominal organs.
Pericardial mesothelioma: This form of cancer affects the tissue and cavity surrounding the heart.
Pleural mesothelioma: This form of cancer attacks the lungs and respiratory area. It attacks the cells and the lining, called the pleura, of the lungs and ribs.