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.
Mesothelioma - malignant; Malignant pleura mesothelioma (MPM)
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.
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.
Symptoms may not appear until 20 to 40 years or longer after exposure to asbestos, and may include:
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.
Anne Tsao is a Hematologist Oncology specialist and an Oncologist in Houston, Texas. Dr. Tsao has been practicing medicine for over 24 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Malignant Mesothelioma. She is also highly rated in 17 other conditions, according to our data. Her top areas of expertise are Malignant Mesothelioma, Lung Cancer, Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer NCSLC, and Metastatic Pleural Tumor. She is licensed to treat patients in Texas. Dr. Tsao is currently accepting new patients.
Keith Cengel is a Radiation Oncologist in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Dr. Cengel has been practicing medicine for over 21 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Malignant Mesothelioma. He is also highly rated in 14 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Malignant Mesothelioma, Metastatic Pleural Tumor, Lung Cancer, and Squamous Cell Lung Carcinoma. He is licensed to treat patients in Pennsylvania. Dr. Cengel is currently accepting new patients.
David Rice is a Thoracic Surgeon and a General Surgeon in Houston, Texas. Dr. Rice has been practicing medicine for over 31 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Malignant Mesothelioma. He is also highly rated in 15 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Malignant Mesothelioma, Lung Cancer, Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer NCSLC, and Metastatic Pleural Tumor. He is licensed to treat patients in Texas. Dr. Rice is currently accepting new patients.
You can ease the stress of illness by joining a support group where members share common experiences and problems.
The average survival time varies from 4 to 18 months. Outlook depends on:
You and your family may want to start thinking about end-of-life planning, such as:
Complications of malignant mesothelioma may include:
Call for an appointment with your provider if you have symptoms of malignant mesothelioma.
Avoid exposure to asbestos.
Published Date: May 27, 2020
Published By: Todd Gersten, MD, Hematology/Oncology, Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, Wellington, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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.
Broaddus VC, Robinson BWS. Pleural tumors. In: Broaddus VC, Mason RJ, Ernst JD, et al, eds. Murray and Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 82.
National Cancer Institute website. Malignant mesothelioma treatment (adult) (PDQ) -- Health professional version. www.cancer.gov/types/mesothelioma/hp/mesothelioma-treatment-pdq. Updated November 8, 2019. Accessed July 20, 2020.