Mesothelioma is a malignant tumor that is caused by inhaled asbestos fibers and forms in the lining of the lungs, abdomen or heart. Symptoms can include shortness of breath and chest pain. The life expectancy for most mesothelioma patients is approximately 12 months after diagnosis. Treatment may improve prognosis and can include surgery, chemotherapy or radiation.
What Is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is an incurable, asbestos-related cancer that typically affects the lining of the lungs. However, mesothelioma tumors can develop in the lining of the abdominal cavity or heart.
KEY FACTS ABOUT MESOTHELIOMA
- More than 3,000 cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed yearly in the United States.
- Pleural mesothelioma accounts for 75% of cases.
- Average age of mesothelioma patient is 69.
- Men represent the majority of mesothelioma diagnoses.
- Average life expectancy for mesothelioma patients is 12 to 21 months.
Symptoms of mesothelioma appear when tumors spread, grow and press against the chest wall and the abdominal cavity. Chest pain and shortness of breath are the most common symptoms.