Mesothelioma

Overview

Mesothelioma is a rare form of lung cancer that usually arises in the tissue lining of the lungs, called the mesothelium.

It usually starts in the lungs, but can also start in the abdomen or other organs. Most people who develop mesothelioma have worked on jobs where they inhaled asbestos particles. It can take a long time – 30 to 50 years – between asbestos exposure and diagnosis.

Causes

Mesothelioma is caused by asbestos exposure. Asbestos is a mineral fiber that was added in the past to certain products for strengthening, heat insulation and fire resistance.

Most products today are not made with asbestos. Normally safe when combined with other materials, asbestos is hazardous to the lungs when the fibers become airborne (such as when a product deteriorates and crumbles).

Symptoms

The following are the most common symptoms of lung diseases, regardless of the cause. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Chest tightness
  • Abnormal breathing pattern

The symptoms of occupational lung diseases may resemble other medical conditions or problems.

Our approach

Treatment of mesothelioma, like many other tumors in the chest, depends on the stage and extent of disease.

Our protocols are designed to provide the best long-term outcome and the best preservation of lung tissue and patient function. We work with our interdisciplinary tumor board to come up with an individualized plan for each person. This may include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatment.

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