What is Mesothelioma? Learn everything you need

what is malignant pleural mesothelioma picture

Probably, if you’ve come this far, it’s because you want to know what is mesothelioma? What causes mesothelioma? Why does mesothelioma occur? Who can it affect?

In today’s article we will answer all the questions that are raised about this disease.


Mesothelioma is a tumor that occurs because of the malignant growth of tissue lining in certain organs, called mesothelium.

Is mesothelioma a cancer?

It is indeed a malignant and fatal cancer linked to the use of asbestos.

what is mesothelioma asbestos diagnosis what are pleural mesothelioma causes
Pleural mesothelioma (King Hussein Foundation)

Although there are specific treatments for this type of cancer, there is no cure for mesothelioma for the vast majority of people who suffer from it.

There are different types of mesotheliomas but the most common is the one that affects the lining tissue of the lungs, called the pleura, although it can also affect the heart (pericardial mesothelioma) or the abdomen (peritoneal mesothelioma).


As we said earlier, mesothelioma is a type of cancer that is classified according to its location.

We can distinguish the following types of mesotheliomas: pleural mesothelioma, peritoneal mesothelioma, testicular mesothelioma and pericardial mesothelioma.

What is malignant pleural mesothelioma?

Malignant pleural mesothelioma is a type of cancer that develops in the pleura, which is the membrane that lines the lungs, both internally and externally.

what is malignant pleural mesothelioma picture
Malignant pleural mesothelioma (https://www.svhlunghealth.com.au/)

This type of mesothelioma is the most common of all and is closely related to exposure to a highly carcinogenic substance called asbestos or amianto in spanish.

What is malignant peritoneal mesothelioma?

It’s a cancer that affects peritoneum, which is the membrane that covers the abdomen.

what is malignant epitheloid peritoneal mesothelioma
Peritoneal mesothelioma (researchgate.net)

What is testicular mesothelioma.

It is a type of malignant tumor that affects the tissue lining the testicles, and appears rarely.

What is pericardial mesothelioma?

It is a cancer that affects the pericardium, which is the membrane that surrounds the heart. It is a very rare tumor.

We’ll talk about each type of mesothelioma in detail later.


There are different types of mesothelioma classified according to the histological cellular types.

Mesothelioma histology.

We can find three types of mesothelioma cancer cells:

  • Epitheloid mesothelioma: it grows slowly and it is the most common of all (about 75%). This type of mesothelioma affects to epithelial cells.
  • Sarcomatoid mesothelioma: it progresses fast and it has a poor response to treatment.
  • Biphasic mesothelioma: it is a combination of epitheloid and sarcomatoid mesothelioma. It is pretty rare.

Epithelial Cell Mesothelioma

This is the most common mesothelioma cancer and it is related to asbestos.

75% of peritoneal mesotheliomas and 50% of pleural mesotheliomas are included in epitheloid mesotheliomas.

mesothelioma histology pleural epitheloid mesothelioma types of mesotheliomas cells is mesothelioma a cancer
Epitheloid mesothelioma (www.mesothelioma.com)

Sarcomatoid Malignant Mesothelioma

There are a few types of sarcomatoid mesotheliomas, such as diffuse epithelioid malignant mesothelioma or sarcomatous mesothelioma. These kind of cancers are very agressive and they are not easy to treat.

sarcomatoid malignant mesothelioma histology sarcomatoid mesothelioma pathology cells pleural lung mesothelioma cancer
Sarcomatoid malignant mesothelioma (Source: www.mesothelioma.net)

Biphasic mesotheliomas

It is a mix of sarcomatoid and epitheloid cells. The more sarcomatoid cells, the worst prognosis.

Let’s move forward and try to comprehend what are the causes of mesothelioma and how can we avoid this malignant tumor.


Most mesotheliomas are directly caused by the inhalation of asbestos by workers. This material was widely used in the twentieth century and it was part of many products such as roofs, enclosure plates, pipes, tiling, cements, popcorn ceiling etc.

what does asbestos look like how do you test for asbestos at home
Asbestos roofing (stopamianto.com)

It is considered an occupational disease, as mesothelioma causes are asbestos fibers inhalation, and it usually occurs in workers who have sucked in asbestos dust or fibers (firefighters, construction workers, shipbuilders…).

Asbestos and Cancer

There is direct relation between asbestos and cancer.

Asbestos fibers inhaled by exposed workers become trapped in the pleural tissue. After many years, these fibers produce damage and can lead to changes in the cells. Subsequently, they can lead to the appearance of a malignant tumor caused by asbestos.

How long does mesothelioma take to develop?

The time from exposure to asbestos to the first symptoms of mesothelioma is high. It is estimated that it will take between 15 and 40 years for this tumor to begin to give signs.

Who is most at risk for mesothelioma?

In addition to occupational workers who have worked in boat building, home building,war veterans or insulation professionals (among other jobs), family members of these people have a high risk of developing a malignant mesothelioma, because these fibers stick to clothing.

Asbestos removal company near me how to test for asbestos
Asbestos removal company working (mesowatch.com)

Currently, the use of asbestos is banned in most countries and it is necessary to remove it by a strict procedure by properly trained personnel and with specific safety measures.

What does asbestos look like?

Asbestos looks similar to other materials, and it is necessary to use an asbestos test.

If you live in a house built before the year 2000 you should make sure that you do not have asbestos in your home, as it is quite likely that some of the materials used in your construction contain asbestos fibers.

what does asbestos look like what is asbestos
Asbestos mineral fibers (concreteconstruction.net)

There are a multitude of asbestos tests and asbestos abatement companies who will be able to adequately inform you about how to perform this inspection in your home.

In the event that you suspect that there may be asbestos in your home we recommend that you do not make any renovations without first consulting with an asbestos expert.

The risk of exposure to this carcinogenic material is high for you and your family.The consequences of contact with asbestos fibres can cost you your life, so under no circumstances should you risk removing it yourself without specific precautions. 

This work must be carried out by professionals who are experts in asbestos and under the appropriate safety measures.


The symptoms of mesothelioma are numeorus, as they depend on the affected tissues.

Pleural mesothelioma symptoms.

The symptoms of pleural mesothelioma are :

  • Shortness of breath
  • Persistant and dry cough
  • Severe weightloss without diet.
  • Blood coughing
  • Chest pain
  • severe fatigue
  • Wheezing or hoarseness
  • Acummulated liquid in lungs (pleural effusion)

If you have been exposed to asbestos for several years, you should definitely go to see a mesothelioma or lung cancer specialised doctor.

Although mesothelioma symptoms are not specific, you must go to a medical check if the signs don’t decrease.

Peritoneal mesothelioma symptoms.

The symptoms in peritoneal mesothelioma (tumor of the abdomen lining) are usually:

  • Severe weight loss with no diet
  • abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Fever


Mesothelioma is usually diagnosed by XRay or CT.

When there is evidence of a tumor, it is necessary to take a sample of suspicious tissue by a technique called bronchoscope to identify the type of cells.

The histology will allow the doctors to identify and classify cells, and they will know if the tumor is benign or cancerous.

What does mesothelioma look like on ct scan?

Pleural mesothelioma is recognized in ct scans by pleural effusion (liquid in lungs lining), nodular and concentric pleural thickening, or chest wall invasion.

how is mesothelioma diagnosed in ct scan peritoneal and pleural mesothelioma
Pleural mesothelioma findings in a ct scan (Journal of Thoracic Disease)

Peritoneal mesothelioma produces ascitis (liquid in abdomen cavity) and diaphragmatic invasion.


Mesothelioma survival rate is a number that represents the percentage of mesothelioma patients who live a certain number of years after they have been diagnosed.

The survival rate of mesothelioma after the first year is approximately 73% for pleural patients and 92% for peritoneal patients.

survival rate of mesothelioma pleural and peritoneal how long do you live with mesothelioma
Mesothelioma survival rates (cancerresearchuk.org)

The mesothelioma survival rate after five years is approximately 12%.


The prognosis of mesothelioma is quite discouraging, as the survival rate is between 4 and 18 months after diagnosis. There are some exceptional cases in which the data of some patients who have exceeded 10 years after diagnosis have been documented, but this is not usual.

Mesothelioma stages.

  • Stage 1 : Mesothelioma affects the right or left pleura. It may also involve the lung, pericardium, or the muscle separating the chest from the abdomen (names diaphragm) on the same side.
  • Stage 2 : Mesothelioma involves the esophagus or invades the chest wall , heart, or pleura on both sides. The lymph nodes in the chest may also be affected.
  • Stage 3 : Mesothelioma has mesothelioma has flowed through the diaphragm into the peritoneum (lining of the abdominal cavity). Lymph nodes are usually involved too.
  • Stage 4 : Mesothelioma affects other organs as it has spread through blood or lymph nodes (distant metastases)


The treatment for mesothelioma is surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and immunotherapy. Mesothelioma cancer centers usually combine these treatments to get better results.

Is there a cure for mesothelioma?

Currently, there is no cure for mesothelioma cancer, but treatments lower symptoms and increase mesothelioma survival rates. The mesothelioma treatment option depends on every particular case.

mesothelioma treatment guidelines what is mesothelioma treatment center
Mesothelioma treatment guidelines by European Respiratory Journal (https://erj.ersjournals.com)

In some countries, there are mesothelioma treatment centers where you can find mesothelioma doctors with a vast experience in this disease.


What is the cause of mesothelioma?

The cause of mesothelioma is asbestos fibers exposure. This mineral is present in old buildings and homes because it was used in pocpcorn ceilings, floor tiles, siding, roofing, etc.

What is mesothelioma cancer?

Mesothelioma cancer is a malignant tumor of the lining of some tissues, as the pleura, that covers the lungs.
what is malignant pleural mesothelioma picture

Is mesothelioma lung cancer?

No, mesothelioma in not a lung cancer. Mesothelioma is a type of cancer of the lining of the lungs, a tissue named pleura. There is also an sbestos-related lung cancer, but it is not located in the pleura but in lung cells.

How to test for mesothelioma?

The best and safest way to test for mesothelioma is hiring an asbestos removal company with specialised professionals.
You can also use asbestos testing with homes asbestos tests kits.
Asbestos-popcorn ceiling test kit how to identify asbestos ceiling

What is peritoneal mesothelioma?

Peritoneal mesothelioma is a tumor of the abdomen lining, called peritoneum.
what is malignant epitheloid peritoneal mesothelioma

What causes mesothelioma other than asbestos?

Asbestos is the main cause of mesothelioma (80% of the cases), but it can be produced by genetic mutations, radiation exposure and a mineral name erionite (Capadoccia, Turkey).
what causes mesothelioma besides asbestos erionite capadoccia turkey

Is mesothelioma always fatal? How long can you live with mesothelioma?

Less the 20% of mesothelioma dagnosed people survive five past years. Most of them die ine a period of 4 to 18 months after diagnosis.

Can mesothelioma be cured?

Unfortunately it’s not possible a cure for mesothelioma because this agressive disease is usually diagnosed at an advanced stage.

What is the mesothelioma of the pleura?

The pleural mesothelioma is malignant tumr of the linings of the lung, named pleura. It is an agressive and mortal disease caused by the asbestos fibers inhalation.

How to treat mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma treatment is usually a combination of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery and immunotherapy. It is a paliative treatment to decrease symptoms and signs of mesothelioma.

What is the average mesothelioma settlement?

Mesothelioma settlement finantial compensations are about $1 and $ 1.5 millions. Mesothelioma trials can get better economic results.

what is the difference between lung cancer and mesothelioma

Mesothelioma and asbestos-related lung cancer are caused by the same carcinogen, asbestos. The difference bestween mesothelioma nd asbestos is the location of the tumor. Mesothelioma is a cancer in the lining of the lungs and lung cancer is a cancer in lung tissues.

What is stage 4 mesothelioma?

Stage 4 mesothelioma is the stage of the disease, and there is no cure. At that moment, mesothelioma affects other organs as it has spread through blood or lymph nodes producing distant metastases.

Does everyone exposed to asbestos get lung cancer?

No, not everyone exposed to asbestos get lung cancer or mesothelioma, but the higher the exposure, the higher the probabilities to develop malignant tumors.

What are the main risk factors for asbestos lung cancer?

There are some risk factor that may increse the probabilities of developping asbestos-related lung cancer. Some of the are the duration of asbestos exposure, smoking, others diseases or genetic predisposition.

What is the prognosis for mesothelioma?

The prognosis of mesothelioma is quite discouraging, as the survival rate is between 4 and 18 months after diagnosis.

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What is Mesothelioma? Discover everything about it.
Learn what is MALIGNANT MESOTHELIOMA CANCER✅ If you have worked with ASBESTOS you may suffer this DISEASE⏭Know your enemy
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