Types of Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a deadly cancer caused by asbestos exposure. Because it has a latency period of 10 to 50 years, a diagnosis may not happen until decades after the initial exposure. Malignant mesothelioma most often affects the tissue that lines the lungs, abdomen or heart. There are three main types of mesothelioma, each named for the part of the body where the cancer is found.

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Pleural Mesothelioma

The most common form of mesothelioma, pleural mesothelioma accounts for approximately 75 percent of cases diagnosed each year. This type of cancer forms in the mesothelial lining of the lungs, known as the pleura. Early symptoms typically include chest pain and shortness of breath.

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Peritoneal Mesothelioma

The second most common form of mesothelioma, peritoneal mesothelioma accounts for approximately 20 percent of cases diagnosed each year. This type of cancer forms in the mesothelial lining of the abdomen, known as the peritoneum. Early symptoms typically include abdominal pain or swelling.

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Pericardial Mesothelioma

One of the rarest forms of mesothelioma, pericardial mesothelioma accounts for approximately one percent of cases diagnosed each year. This type of cancer develops on the exterior lining of the heart, known as the pericardium, and strikes twice as many men as women. Early symptoms typically include chest pain, fatigue and shortness of breath.

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Amy Fair R.N.Reviewed by:Amy Fair R.N.

Director of Medical Relations

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Amy fills a unique role helping guide patients and families through the often confusing and overwhelming steps following an asbestos-related cancer diagnosis. Assisted by 14 medical assistants and a Licensed Practical Nurse, Amy and her medical team provide healthcare information and explain treatment options to those recently diagnosed and throughout the progression of their disease.