The tissue that lines your lungs, stomach, heart and other organs is called mesothelium. Mesothelioma is a tumor of that tissue. It usually starts in the lungs, but can also start in the abdomen or other organs. It can be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer).
Malignant mesothelioma is a rare but serious type of cancer. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between malignant mesothelioma and lung cancer. Your doctor uses imaging tests and a biopsy to make the diagnosis. Malignant mesothelioma is often found when it is advanced, which makes it harder to treat. Treatment may include surgery, radiation and/or chemotherapy.
- Trouble breathing
- Pain under the rib cage
- Pain, swelling or lumps in the abdomen
- Weight loss for no known reason
Most people who develop mesothelioma have worked on jobs where they inhaled asbestos particles. After being exposed to asbestos, it usually takes a long time for the disease to form.