Malignant mesothelioma is a cancer of the thin tissue (mesothelium) that lines the lung, chest wall, and abdomen. The major risk factor for mesothelioma is asbestos exposure. Explore the links on this page to learn more about malignant mesothelioma treatment and clinical trials.

Malignant Mesothelioma Treatment (Adult)

  • Malignant mesothelioma is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the lining of the chest or abdomen.
  • Being exposed to asbestos can affect the risk of malignant mesothelioma.
  • Signs and symptoms of malignant mesothelioma include shortness of breath and pain under the rib cage.
  • Tests that examine the inside of the chest and abdomen are used to detect (find) and diagnose malignant mesothelioma.
  • Certain factors affect prognosis (chance of recovery) and treatment options.

Malignant mesothelioma is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the lining of the chest or abdomen.

Malignant mesothelioma is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells are found in the pleura (the thin layer of tissue that lines the chest cavity and covers the lungs) or the peritoneum (the thin layer of tissue that lines the abdomen and covers most of the organs in thecancer.gov/…mon/PopUps/popDefinition.aspx abdomen). Malignant mesothelioma may also form in the heart or testicles, but this is rare.

Signs and symptoms of malignant mesothelioma include shortness of breath and pain under the rib cage.

Sometimes the cancer causes fluid to collect in the chest or in the abdomen. Signs and symptoms may be caused by the fluid, malignant mesothelioma, or other conditions. Check with your doctor if you have any of the following:

  • Trouble breathing.
  • Cough.
  • Pain under the rib cage.
  • Pain or swelling in the abdomen.
  • Lumps in the abdomen.
  • Constipation.
  • Problems with blood clots (clots form when they shouldn’t).
  • Weight loss for no known reason.
  • Feeling very tired.

Childhood Mesothelioma Treatment

  • Mecancer.gov/…mon/PopUps/popDefinition.aspxsothelioma is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the thin layer of tissue that covers organs in the chest or abdomen.
  • Treatment with radiation therapy increases the risk of childhood mesothelioma.
  • Signs and symptoms of mesothelioma include trouble breathing and pain in the chest or abdomen.
  • Tests that examine the chest, abdomen, and heart are used to help detect (find) and diagnose mesothelioma.
  • Certain factors affect prognosis (chance of recovery).

Mesothelioma is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the thin layer of tissue that covers organs in the chest or abdomen.

Malignant mesothelioma is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells are found in one or more of the following:

  • Pleura: A thin layer of tissue that lines the chest cavity and covers the lungs.
  • Peritoneum: A thin layer of tissue that lines the abdomen and covers most of the organs in the abdomen.
  • Pericardium: A thin layer of tissue that surrounds the heart.

The tumors often spread over the surface of organs without spreading into the organ. They may spread to nearby lymph nodes or in other parts of the body. Malignant mesothelioma may also form in the testicles, but this is rare.

Stages of Childhood Mesothelioma

The process used to find out if cancer has spread from where it first began is called staging. In childhood mesothelioma, cancer may spread to nearby or distant lymph nodes. There is no standard system for staging childhood mesothelioma. The results of tests and procedures done to diagnose mesothelioma are used to help make decisions about treatment.

To Learn More About Malignant Mesothelioma

For more information from the National Cancer Institute about malignant mesothelioma, see the following:

  • Malignant Mesothelioma Home Page
  • Drugs Approved for Malignant Mesothelioma
  • Asbestos Exposure and Cancer Risk

What is Cancer?

  • Cancer can start almost anywhere in the human body, which is made up of trillions of cells. Normally, human cells grow and divide to form new cells as the body needs them. When cells grow old or become damaged, they die, and new cells take their place.

  • Cancer prevention is action taken to lower the risk of getting cancer. This can include maintaining a healthy lifestyle, avoiding exposure to known cancer-causing substances, and taking medicines or vaccines that can prevent cancer from developing.

  • Cancer can cause many different symptoms. Most often these symptoms are not caused by cancer, but by benign tumors or other problems. If you have symptoms that last for a couple of weeks, your doctor will do a physical exam and order tests or other procedures to find out what is causing your symptoms.