Malignant Mesothelioma (Asbestos Cancer)

Malignant mesothelioma (pronounced "mez-o-theel-e-oh-ma"), also known as "asbestos cancer," is a rare form of cancer found in the lining of the chest, lungs, or abdomen. This lining is called the mesothelium and is where mesothelioma gets its name.

Because tumors of the mesothelium are rarely benign (noncancerous), malignant (cancerous) mesothelioma is usually referred to as simply the shortened "mesothelioma" or, in casual terms, simply "meso."

The mesothelium covers various organs in the body protecting them and allowing organs to move against each other as the lungs expand and contract or the heart beats. The mesothelium surrounding the lungs and lining the chest cavity is called the pleura, so mesothelioma affecting the cells lining the sacs surrounding the chest or lungs is referred to as pleural mesothelioma. When the cancer affects the abdominal lining, or peritoneum, that is peritoneal mesothelioma

Mesothelioma occurs when cells within the mesothelium become abnormal and divide uncontrollably. If not caught early enough, the cancer may metastasize, spreading to other organs of the body. Mesothelioma is a very aggressive form of cancer, but several treatment options are available.

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