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What Is Mesothelioma?

In basic medical terms, mesothelioma is a rare cancer in which cells of the mesothelium (a membrane that covers and protects most of the internal organs of the body) become abnormal and malignant.

How rare is the disease? About 2000 new cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed in the United States each year.

Which type of mesothelioma or asbestos cancer have you been diagnosed with? Although it is technically a single membrane, parts of the mesothelium have been given different names in relation to the internal organs they surround. For instance, the membrane surrounding the abdominal cavity is called the peritoneum; the part surrounding the lungs and lines the wall of the chest cavity, the pleura; and the part of the membrane that covers and protects the heart is known as the pericardium.

Mesothelioma cancers associated with these parts of the membrane include:

  • Pleural mesothelioma (the most common diagnosis)

  • Peritoneal mesothelioma (a rarer form)

  • Pericardial mesothelioma(very rare

  • Testicular mesothelioma (very rare)

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