Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer in which cancerous cells are found in the mesothelium, a protective sac surrounding the body’s internal organs. About 2,000 to 3,000 new mesothelioma cases are diagnosed each year. While mesothelioma is still relatively uncommon, the incidence of mesothelioma is projected to steadily rise over the next 10 years. 

Facts about Mesothelioma Types

There are three different types of mesothelioma. Pleural mesothelioma, which affects the lining around the lungs, accounts for approximately 70% of all diagnosed mesothelioma cases. Next, peritoneal mesothelioma affects the lining surrounding the abdominal cavity, and accounts for about 20% of all mesothelioma cases. Finally, pericardial mesothelioma affects the lining around the heart and accounts for around 10% of all mesothelioma cases.

Mesothelioma & Asbestos Facts

According to statistics, about 70 to 80 percent of all mesothelioma cases are caused by asbestos exposure. Typically, mesothelioma takes 10 to 50 years to develop, and during this latency period, sufferers may have no symptoms. In addition, mesothelioma occurs more often in men than in women and risk increases with age. However, this disease can appear in either men or women at any age.

Mesothelioma Diagnosis Facts

Mesothelioma victims often obtain the wrong diagnosis. This is because mesothelioma is rare and symptoms are not specific to the disease. For example, because pericardial mesothelioma can cause fluid build-up, pericardial mesothelioma victims will sometimes be given a pneumonia diagnosis. In addition, since pleural mesothelioma usually causes tumors to develop around the lungs, people with pleural mesothelioma will sometimes be given a lung cancer diagnosis.

Facts About Mesothelioma Symptoms

Since mesothelioma is rare and symptoms are common to many illnesses, patients may play a large role in their own diagnosis. Patients who suspect they may have mesothelioma should tell their doctors about any past exposure to asbestos In addition, patients should be familiar with mesothelioma warning signs and symptoms. Some of the most common mesothelioma symptoms include:

  • fluid in the lungs
  • lower back pain
  • chest pain or pain in the rib cage
  • shortness of breath (dyspnea)
  • trouble swallowing
  • cough
  • fever
  • hoarseness
  • coughing up blood
  • swelling of the face and arms
  • muscle weakness

If you or a family member has been diagnosed with asbestos related mesothelioma, our experienced attorneys can explain your legal rights and options.

Published November 17, 2011 by