Mesothelioma is a rare, aggressive form of cancer
that primarily develops in the lining of the lungs
( pleural mesothelioma ) or the abdomen
( peritoneal mesothelioma ). Caused by asbestos,
mesothelioma has no known cure and has a very
poor prognosis .
Learn more about various topics related to
mesothelioma below, and follow the links for
additional information on each subject.
Prognosis and Survival of
When diagnosed with mesothelioma, the
prognosis is usually very poor, as there is no cure
for the disease, and typically it is discovered at a
late stage of development. Generally, the earlier
mesothelioma is diagnosed, the better prognosis
a patient has.
While prognosis is generally poor, there is still
hope of survival. For example, Heather Von St.
James is a 10-year mesothelioma survivor who
has become an advocate for mesothelioma
awareness and an outspoken proponent of
banning asbestos. Other mesothelioma survivors
have shared their stories, which can inspire those
who have mesothelioma.
Types of Mesothelioma
Once an individual has been diagnosed by a
qualified mesothelioma doctor and the disease
has been appropriately staged, the next step is to
discuss mesothelioma treatment options and to
develop a treatment plan. Although no cure for
mesothelioma exists, several standard therapies
are available. In some cases, these treatments
can improve the patient’s prognosis, extending
their lives significantly.
For late-stage mesothelioma patients, these
treatments may be used palliatively to reduce
pain and discomfort caused by the symptoms of
Many treatment plans use an approach known as
multimodal therapy, which employs two or more
of these treatment methods in combination.
Clinical Trials and Emerging Treatments
Depending on various factors such as the
patient’s age, tumor location, cell type, staging,
and other considerations, some patients may be
eligible to participate in a clinical trial. These
trials test new and emerging treatments that
could ultimately lead to much better therapy
options – and potentially even a cure.
Mesothelioma Doctors and Cancer
Once diagnosed with mesothelioma, a patient will
likely need to visit with a variety of specialists.
These visits may require travel, as the number of
doctors who focus on mesothelioma is rather
small. There are also some cancer centers
dedicated specifically to mesothelioma treatment
Top Mesothelioma Surgeons in the Country
What Causes Mesothelioma?
If you or someone you know has mesothelioma,
these resources offer additional information about
Get help caring for your loved one who has
mesothelioma, including information about long-
term care, counseling services, and taking care of
your own needs as well.
The costs associated with treating mesothelioma
can be significant. In many cases, individuals
diagnosed with mesothelioma who were exposed
to asbestos are eligible for financial compensation
from asbestos manufacturers for their illness.
Financial assistance is available to help offset the
high cost of mesothelioma treatment.
Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos.
If this exposure occurred in a workplace, public
building, school, or through the use of an product
that contained asbestos, you may be able to
receive compensation for medical bills, lost
wages, and other related expenses. Learn more
about your legal rights.
Resources Available for Mesothelioma
Patients and their Families
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Parts of the Lung Affected by Mesothelioma
Other Factors That Can Affect Prognosis
The cell type and location of the tumor(s) •
Whether the disease has spread (metastasized) •
Overall health of the individual •
For patients with an early-stage mesothelioma
diagnosis, surgery can be used remove all or
most of the tumor(s). Depending on the tumor
location, surgery may include removing the
mesothelial lining, one or more lymph nodes, or
part or all of a lung or other organ.
Chemotherapy drugs work by attacking fast-
growing cells, such as cancer cells. Often used in
conjunction with surgery, chemotherapy can kill
any remaining mesothelioma cells that the
surgeon was unable to remove physically.
Through the use of targeted radiation,
mesothelioma tumors can often be shrunk,
making them easier to be removed through
surgery. Depending on the tumor location, the
radiation can be delivered using an external or an
Oncologists are doctors who focus on preventing,
diagnosing, and treating cancer. Since the most
common type of mesothelioma is pleural
mesothelioma, the majority of patients will work
with a thoracic oncologist, who specializes in
cancers that form in the chest.
Mesothelioma clinics and cancer centers
throughout the country offer patients a way to get
the most comprehensive care, often using the
latest technology and techniques available. The
National Comprehensive Cancer Network
designates these centers as demonstrating
excellence in cancer care.