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Mesothelioma – Symptoms, Causes, Prevention and More


Malignant mesothelioma (me-zoe-thee-lee-O-muh) is a type of cancer that occurs in the thin layer of tissue that covers the majority of your internal organs (mesothelium).
Mesothelioma is an aggressive and deadly form of cancer. Mesothelioma treatments are available, but for many people with mesothelioma, a cure isn’t possible.
Doctors divide mesothelioma into different types based on what part of the mesothelium is affected. Mesothelioma most often affects the tissue that surrounds the lungs (pleura). This type is called pleural mesothelioma. Other, rarer types of mesothelioma affect tissue in the abdomen (peritoneal mesothelioma), around the heart and around the testicles.

Complications

As pleural mesothelioma spreads in the chest, it puts pressure on the structures in that area. This can cause complications, such as:
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Pain caused by pressure on the nerves and spinal cord
  • Accumulation of fluid in the chest (pleural effusion), which can compress the lung nearby and make breathing difficult

Prevention

Reducing your exposure to asbestos may lower your risk of mesothelioma.

Find out whether you work with asbestos

Most people with mesothelioma were exposed to the asbestos fibers at work. Workers who may encounter asbestos fibers include:
  • Asbestos miners
  • Electricians
  • Plumbers
  • Pipefitters
  • Insulators
  • Shipyard workers
  • Demolition workers
  • Brake mechanics
  • Selected military personnel
  • Home remodelers
Ask your employer whether you have a risk of asbestos exposure on the job.

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