Learn About Malignant Mesothelioma

What is the definition of Malignant Mesothelioma?

Malignant mesothelioma is an uncommon cancerous tumor. It mainly affects the lining of the lung and chest cavity (pleura) or lining of the abdomen (peritoneum). It is due to long-term asbestos exposure.

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What are the alternative names for Malignant Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma - malignant; Malignant pleura mesothelioma (MPM)

What are the causes of Malignant Mesothelioma?

Long-term exposure to asbestos is the biggest risk factor. Asbestos is a fire-resistant material. It was once commonly found in insulation, ceiling and roofing vinyls, cement, and car brakes. Even though many asbestos workers smoked, experts do not believe smoking itself is a cause of this condition.

Older veterans make up 30% of the cases of mesothelioma due to exposure in the military ship, vehicle, and plane industry.

Men are affected more often than women. The average age at diagnosis is 60 years. Most people seem to develop the condition about 30 years after being in contact with the asbestos.

What are the symptoms of Malignant Mesothelioma?

Symptoms may not appear until 20 to 40 years or longer after exposure to asbestos, and may include:

  • Abdominal bloating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Chest pain, especially when taking a deep breath
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weight loss
  • Fever and sweating
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What are the current treatments for Malignant Mesothelioma?

Malignant mesothelioma is a difficult cancer to treat.

There is usually no cure, unless the disease is found very early and the tumor can be completely removed with surgery. Most of the time, when the disease is diagnosed, it is too advanced for surgery. Chemotherapy or radiation may be used to reduce symptoms. Combining certain chemotherapy drugs may help decrease symptoms, but it will not cure the cancer.

Untreated, most people survive about 9 months.

Participating in a clinical trial (test of new treatments), may give the person more treatment options.

Pain relief, oxygen, and other supportive treatments may also help relieve symptoms.

Who are the top Malignant Mesothelioma Local Doctors?
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What are the support groups for Malignant Mesothelioma?

You can ease the stress of illness by joining a support group where members share common experiences and problems.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Malignant Mesothelioma?

The survival time varies greatly from several months to several years. Outlook depends on:

  • The location of the mesothelioma
  • The cell type of the mesothelioma
  • The stage of the tumor
  • The person's age and general health
  • Whether surgery is an option
  • The person's response to treatment

You and your family may want to start thinking about end-of-life planning, such as:

  • Palliative care
  • Hospice care
  • Advance care directives
  • Health care agents
What are the possible complications of Malignant Mesothelioma?

Complications of malignant mesothelioma may include:

  • Side effects of chemotherapy or radiation
  • Continued spread of cancer to other organs
When should I contact a medical professional for Malignant Mesothelioma?

Call for an appointment with your provider if you have symptoms of malignant mesothelioma.

How do I prevent Malignant Mesothelioma?

Avoid exposure to asbestos.

Respiratory system
What are the latest Malignant Mesothelioma Clinical Trials?
Phase II Toxicity Study of Pleurectomy/Decortication, (Neo) Adjuvant Chemotherapy and Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy to the Pleura in Patients With Locally Advanced Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma

Summary: For patients with this type of cancer, the standard of care is treatment with chemotherapy. Radiation therapy is typically not used. This is because radiation to the entire lining of the lung has many side effects that are often severe including damage to the lung (pneumonitis). There is a new radiation technique using Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) that has been shown to reduce many...

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Individualized Response Assessment to Heated Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy (HIPEC) for the Treatment of Peritoneal Carcinomatosis From Ovarian, Colorectal, Appendiceal, or Peritoneal Mesothelioma Histologies

Background: Cytoreductive surgery (CRS) removes tumors in the abdomen. HIPEC is heated chemotherapy that washes the abdomen. CRS and HIPEC may help people with peritoneal carcinomatosis. These are tumors that have spread to the lining of the abdomen from other cancers. Researchers think they can improve results of CRS and HIPEC by choosing the chemotherapy drugs used in HIPEC.

What are the Latest Advances for Malignant Mesothelioma?
Outcomes and prognostic factors of cytoreductive surgery and perioperative intraperitoneal chemotherapy in high-volume peritoneal carcinomatosis.
Lurbinectedin shows clinical activity and immune-modulatory functions in patients with pre-treated small cell lung cancer and malignant pleural mesothelioma.
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Extra-Pleural Pneumonectomy (EPP) in Children and Adults with Locally Advanced Sarcoma: A CanSaRCC Study.
Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date: April 29, 2022
Published By: Todd Gersten, MD, Hematology/Oncology, Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, Wellington, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

What are the references for this article ?

Baas P, Hassan R, Nowak AK, Rice D. Malignant mesothelioma. In: Pass HI, Ball D, Scagliotti GV, eds. IASLC Thoracic Oncology. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 53.

Davies HE, Sterman D, Gary Lee YC. Pleural malignancy. In: Broaddus VC, Ernst JD, King TE, et al, eds. Murray and Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2022:chap 114.

McCool FD. Diseases of the diaphragm, chest wall, pleura, and mediastinum. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 92.

National Cancer Institute website. Malignant mesothelioma treatment (adult) (PDQ) -- Health professional version. www.cancer.gov/types/mesothelioma/hp/mesothelioma-treatment-pdq. Updated January 14, 2022.  Accessed June 24, 2022.