What Is Malignant Mesothelioma?

Malignant mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer in the lining of the lungs or abdomen.

The only known cause of mesothelioma is asbestos exposure. When asbestos fibers are inhaled or ingested, the body is unable to break them down or expel them.

Asbestos fibers invade the protective lining that surrounds many of the body’s internal organs and remain in the body, causing scarring and damaging sensitive tissues. That damage can eventually lead to mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or another asbestos disease.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, you may be entitled to financial compensation from the companies that were responsible for your asbestos exposure.

Contact us today to learn about your legal options for pursuing the compensation you and your family deserve.

Asbestos and Mesothelioma

Cause of Mesothelioma

The only known cause of malignant mesothelioma is asbestos exposure. Asbestos is a fiber that was once widely used in hundreds of building, industrial, commercial, and housing products and is still present in millions of U.S. workplaces and homes.

 The risk of exposure to asbestos remains a very real danger and symptoms of malignant mesothelioma do not appear for at least 15 years after asbestos exposure. 

For those who worked with or around asbestos products, airborne fibers can be inhaled or ingested, lodging themselves in the tissue lining the lung (known as the pleura), chest cavity, or abdominal cavity.

These fibers can stay in the body for decades before malignant mesothelioma develops.

Asbestos Fibers

Microscopic view of anthophyllite asbestos fibers that cause mesothelioma.

Asbestos was a valuable material in several industries, particularly steel manufacturing and shipyards, in the early to mid-20th century.

Asbestos easily separates when handled, causing microscopic particles to be released into the air and posing a danger to anyone in the vicinity.

A vast majority of people diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma faced asbestos exposure on job sites.

Six Sub-Classifications of Asbestos

  • Actinolite
  • Amosite
  • Anthophyllite
  • Chrysotile
  • Crocidolite
  • Tremolite

Unlike many other predominantly pulmonary-related cancers, mesothelioma is not considered to be caused by cigarette smoking.

However, asbestos workers who smoke are much more likely to develop lung cancer, even more so than regular smokers who don’t work with asbestos.

How Do You Get Mesothelioma?

Malignant mesothelioma can develop 15 to 60 years after a person was exposed to asbestos.

Most people came into contact with asbestos on the job, such as:

  • Factories
  • Shipyards
  • Construction sites
  • Industrial facilities
  • Naval ships
  • Shipyards

They were never told of its dangers or given proper protective gear.

Others were exposed through family members who brought asbestos home on their clothes or through home renovation projects.

occupations exposed asbestos causing mesothelioma

The Difference Between Mesothelioma and Asbestos


Asbestos Mesothelioma
Asbestos refers to a group of six fibrous minerals that occur naturally in the environment.
These minerals have been used in many industrial and household products over the years. Asbestos is considered a dangerous carcinogen, which means it is a cause of cancer.
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer caused by asbestos exposure.

How Does Asbestos Cause Mesothelioma?

People who are exposed to asbestos typically inhale tiny fibers that stick in the pleura tissue lining the lungs and coating the chest wall. (That’s why pleural mesothelioma is the most common type of the cancer.)

These asbestos fibers can cause cellular changes, and may cause irritation and inflammation in the pleura for many years before malignant pleural mesothelioma develops.

In some cases, people ingest rather than inhale the microscopic asbestos fibers, which can then become lodged in the tissue lining the abdominal cavity and organs.

This can eventually cause peritoneal mesothelioma, also known as abdominal mesothelioma.

In rare cases, the asbestos fibers make their way to the tissue lining the heart or the testicles, resulting in pericardial or testicular mesothelioma.

How Dangerous Is Asbestos?

Asbestos poses a serious health hazard to anyone exposed to it.

Since the 1970s, the U.S. government has been working to reduce the use of asbestos-containing materials and has implemented asbestos safety precautions for workers who may come into contact with the deadly material. However, it is still not completely banned in the United States. And there is no safe level of exposure.

Asbestos exposure can lead to a number of serious diseases, including mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis.

Is There a Test For Asbestos Exposure?

Although there are no mesothelioma screening tests yet, if you know or suspect that you have been exposed to asbestos, you should talk to your doctor about doing a chest X-ray once a year.

X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs can be used to help diagnose mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases early.

Also, cutting-edge blood tests (such as the MESOMARK blood test) have the potential to improve your chances of early detection.

Can Smoking Cause Mesothelioma?

Asbestos is the only known cause of mesothelioma. If you are a smoker who has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, your doctor will urge you to quit immediately.

Can Adenocarcinoma Be Caused By Asbestos?

Adenocarcinoma is a cancer that originates in the glandular cells. According to the National Cancer Institute, most cancers of the lung, prostate, colon, pancreas, and breast are adenocarcinomas. Inhalation of asbestos fibers can be a cause of adenocarcinoma in the lungs.

Understanding Mesothelioma

What Is A Mesothelium?

The mesothelium is the membrane that surrounds many of the body’s vital organs. This membrane secretes a lubricating fluid that provides easy movement of the organs within the body.

This is where the cancer develops when asbestos is inhaled or ingested. When the mesothelium becomes cancerous, it is called mesothelioma.

There can be multiple forms of the cancer when it affects the mesothelium.

The form is determined by the location in which the tumor begins, known as its origin site, and the type of cells that the tumor invades, known as its histological subtype. Each type may require a different treatment.

mesothelioma prognosis

When Does Mesothelioma Develop?

Malignant mesothelioma can develop 15 to 60 years after a person was exposed to asbestos.

Because the latency period for the disease is so long, many people do not immediately connect their symptoms to their asbestos exposure.

However, it is important for anyone who was exposed to asbestos to tell their doctor immediately if they are experiencing any symptoms indicating lung disease.

Mesothelioma Statistics

How common is malignant mesothelioma?

mesothelioma USA statistics

mesothelioma patient statistics

mesothelioma deaths in USA

Although mesothelioma is relatively rare compared to other cancers, millions of Americans have been exposed to asbestos.

Mesothelioma statistics show that:

  • More than 20 million people in the United States are at risk of developing malignant mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure.
  • More than 100,000 U.S. citizens are expected to die of mesothelioma during the next 40 years.
  • More than 18,000 Americans died from malignant mesothelioma between 1999 and 2005. Almost 15,000 of the deaths occurred in men.
  • Today, malignant mesothelioma is responsible for approximately 3,000 deaths per year in the United States and 5,000 deaths in Western Europe. However, mortality rates are expected to increase by 5 to 10 percent per year in most industrialized countries until about 2020.
  • An estimated 1.3 million construction and general industry workers potentially are being exposed to asbestos.
  • The World Health Organization estimates that asbestos causes approximately half of all deaths from occupational cancer, and 125 million people worldwide are exposed to asbestos in the workplace.

The real tragedy is that this fatal disease could have been avoided.

Most victims were exposed to asbestos at work or while serving in the military. Other victims developed mesothelioma due to exposure from loved ones coming home from work with their clothes covered in asbestos fibers.

When was mesothelioma first diagnosed?

For centuries, doctors have noted that asbestos had an adverse effect on people’s health.

  • In the 1700s, a French doctor first noted “pleural tumors” believed to be mesothelioma.
  • In the 1800s, a German physician noted tumors in the peritoneal (abdominal) cavity.
  • The term “mesothelioma” was first used in 1909.
  • However, it wasn’t until the 1950s that researchers connected mesothelioma to asbestos.

What is malignant pleural mesothelioma?

Malignant pleural mesothelioma is caused when asbestos fibers or dust is inhaled and sticks in the pleura tissue that coats the lungs and chest cavity.

These fibers can cause irritation in the tissue, resulting in pleural plaques, diffuse pleural thickening, pleural effusion, and other conditions.

Malignant pleural mesothelioma does not typically develop until 15 to 60 years after a person was exposed to asbestos.

Why is malignant pleural mesothelioma the most common type of mesothelioma?  

Most people are exposed to asbestos when fibers from asbestos-containing materials become airborne. This could happen when cutting, sanding, drilling, filing, or otherwise disturbing these dangerous materials. In the past, some workers also were exposed to raw asbestos, which was mixed with other materials to form products such as asbestos cement.

Airborne asbestos fibers could easily drift across an entire worksite, putting everyone in the vicinity at risk, not just those who were working directly with the material. This widespread exposure risk makes pleural mesothelioma the most common type of the disease.

Can mesothelioma be inherited?

No, malignant mesothelioma cannot be inherited, and it is not contagious. However, family members could have been exposed to asbestos secondhand (known as take-home asbestos) when those who worked with the material accidentally brought fibers home on clothing or uniforms. Secondhand exposure to asbestos can cause mesothelioma. There may be some genetic factors in the development of mesothelioma.

What to expect with mesothelioma

Patients and their families worry about what to expect after a mesothelioma diagnosis.

Your doctor will review all the treatment options with you, which may include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.

You may also be able to participate in clinical trials.

The treatment you receive will be aimed at extending your life, alleviating mesothelioma symptoms and slowing the spread of the cancer if possible. As soon as you are diagnosed with mesothelioma, it is crucial that you see a doctor who specializes in this rare type of cancer. You should also talk to an experienced mesothelioma lawyer about your options for pursuing financial compensation. Contact us today to be connected to medical experts and legal professionals.


The 5th Annual International Asbestos Awareness Conference "CALL TO ACTION TO PREVENT, DETECT AND TREAT ASBESTOS-RELATED DISEASES" Was held March 27-29, 2009 at the Manhattan Beach Marriott in Manhattan Beach, CA.

Lung Cancer Vs. Mesothelioma

Is mesothelioma the same as lung cancer?

People may confuse malignant mesothelioma with lung cancer. However, these are two separate types of cancer. Lung cancer is a carcinoma that affects the lung itself. Mesothelioma is a cancer that attacks the mesothelium tissue that lines the lungs, chest cavity, and other organs in the body. Exposure to asbestos can cause both types of cancer, but it is the only known cause of malignant mesothelioma.

Asbestosis Vs. Mesothelioma

What is asbestosis disease?

Asbestosis disease is a chronic lung condition that is caused by inhaling asbestos fibers.

The asbestos fibers lodge in tiny sacs in the lungs, known as alveoli. Symptoms of asbestosis include shortness of breath, tightness and pain in the chest, chronic cough, loss of appetite, weight loss, and clubbing of fingers and toes.

Treatment can include use of an oxygen tube or mask, pulmonary rehabilitation exercises, or a lung transplant in extreme cases.

Are asbestosis and mesothelioma the same?

No. Although both of these diseases, along with lung cancer, are associated with exposure to asbestos, they are not the same.

Asbestosis is a chronic lung disease, not a cancer. It is caused by inhalation of asbestos fibers, which can get stuck in the small sacs in the lungs. Having asbestosis can increase a patient’s chances for developing asbestos-related lung cancer.

Malignant mesothelioma is a cancer. It affects the mesothelium tissue, which lines the lungs and chest wall, as well as the abdominal cavity, heart, and testicles. Malignant mesothelioma is caused by the inhalation or ingestion of asbestos fibers, which lodge in the mesothelium tissue.

Types of Mesothelioma


types of mesotheliomaMalignant mesothelioma is so-named because it affects the mesothelium (or mesothelial membrane), a layer of cells covering body cavities and internal organs.

The mesothelium is composed of mesothelial cells, which provide a protective surface and play a role in a number of processes such as fluid transport, inflammation, and tissue repair.

The mesothelium lines the pleural, peritoneal, and pericardial cavities, as well as the testicles.

When asbestos fibers are inhaled or ingested, they can enter the mesothelium and injure the mesothelial cells, eventually giving rise to malignant tumors.

There are four types of mesothelioma:

Pleural MesotheliomaPeritoneal MesotheliomaPericardial MesotheliomaTesticular Mesothelioma

Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma

Malignant Pleural MesotheliomaThe most common type of the cancer is malignant pleural mesothelioma, which affects the pleura — the mesothelial membrane lining the lungs and chest wall.

Mesothelioma that begins in the pleura typically results from asbestos fibers being inhaled. Tumors that develop in the pleura may spread to the nearby diaphragm, heart, and blood vessels of the chest. Early symptoms of malignant pleural mesothelioma can include shortness of breath, pleural effusion (pleural fluid build-up), chest pain, cough, and a lack of energy.

Although the cancer can spread (“metastasize”) from the pleura into the lung, the origin site is the actual pleural tissue surrounding the lung – not the lung itself. (There are many differences between mesothelioma and lung cancer.)

Malignant Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Malignant Peritoneal MesotheliomaWhen it develops in the peritoneum, the mesothelial membrane that covers the abdominal cavity and the organs within it, the cancer is called peritoneal mesothelioma (or abdominal mesothelioma).

Peritoneal mesothelioma is the second-most common form of this cancer, accounting for about 10 percent to 15 percent of new diagnoses.

Peritoneal mesothelioma may result from swallowing asbestos fibers or inhaling fibers that then work their way into the abdomen.

Patients with malignant peritoneal mesothelioma often experience abdominal swelling due to fluid build-up accompanied by abdominal pain, weight loss, and loss of appetite.

Malignant Pericardial Mesothelioma

Malignant Pericardial Mesothelioma

The pericardium is the mesothelial membrane covering the heart.

Pericardial mesothelioma is a highly lethal and very rare form of the cancer, accounting for roughly 1 percent to 5 percent of all new mesothelioma cases.

Fluid in the pericardial space, shortness of breath, fever, chest pain, weight loss, and heart palpitations are symptoms of pericardial mesothelioma.

Malignant Testicular Mesothelioma

The rarest of all types, mesothelioma of the tunica vaginalis testis (testicular mesothelioma) is a tumor of the membrane covering the testicle.

Because of its rarity, there is little clinical agreement about testicular mesothelioma characteristics and symptoms, making diagnosis extremely difficult.

Patients sometimes report painful swelling of the testicle, and a doctor diagnoses the cancer intra-operatively (during surgery) or post-operatively, following laboratory analysis.

Ultrasound and other imaging scans and tests may also be used for testicular mesothelioma diagnosis.

Histological Subtypes of Mesothelioma Cancer

Besides the location in which the tumors form, the other identifying factor in the diagnosis of mesothelioma is the histological subtype of the cancer. This refers to the type of cells that the tumors invade.

Mesothelioma cells are grouped into three main categories:

Epithelioid MesotheliomaSarcomatoid MesotheliomaBiphasic Mesothelioma

Epithelioid Mesothelioma

Epithelioid MesotheliomaEpithelioid mesothelioma is the most common type of the disease, accounting for 60 to 75 percent of all new cases.

It will generally begin to show visible symptoms between ages 50 and 70, with upwards of 80 percent of new diagnoses being in men.

Cancers of epithelial tissue are called carcinomas. A study published in the September 2000 respiratory medicine journal Thorax determined that epithelioid mesothelioma patients had a better prognosis than those diagnosed with sarcomatous or biphasic mesothelioma.

Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma

sarcomatoid mesothelioma

Sarcomatoid mesothelioma comprises only 7 to 20 percent of all new diagnoses in the U.S., making it the least common form.

It is also the most aggressive and deadliest of the three histological cell types. A 2002 study of 108 sarcomatoid renal cell carcinoma patients at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center found that metastasis (spreading of the cancer) was present in 77 percent of them.

Sarcomatoid cells affect supportive tissue, like bones, muscles, and cartilage, as opposed to the membranous tissue affected by epithelioid diagnoses.

Biphasic Mesothelioma

Biphasic Mesothelioma

Biphasic mesothelioma cases have physical characteristics of both epithelioid and sarcomatoid mesothelioma.

The previous are continuous square-shaped malignant cells with a nucleus, while the latter are oval-shaped with no identifiable nucleus. Biphasic mesothelioma is most common in pleural patients.

Approximately 20 to 35 percent of all mesothelioma cases are classified as biphasic, making it the second-most common type of the disease. Though both types of malignant cells are found in biphasic patients, they are usually in different areas of the tumor.

More aggressive treatments can be applied to epithelioid cells due to a better prognosis than sarcomatoid and biphasic cases.

A second opinion is recommended for all patients diagnosed with sarcomatoid mesothelioma and biphasic mesothelioma. An accurate diagnosis is the key to getting the best and proper treatments.

Stages of Mesothelioma Asbestos Cancer

What are the stages of mesothelioma?

The progression of pleural mesothelioma is measured in four stages. Traditionally, these stages measured only the tumor mass under the Butchart System. However, a second system, the TNM system, looks at the growth of lymph nodes, which filter out harmful substances from the body, and metastasis, or the extent that the cancer has spread. Another system, called the Brigham System, focuses on surgical options and the extent that lymph nodes are affected.

All staging systems relate to pleural (chest) mesothelioma, the most common form of the disease, and use four stages. There are no established staging systems for peritoneal or pericardial mesothelioma.

The first two stages for Butchart and TNM are fairly similar:

Stage I

stage 1 mesothelioma

Cancer is limited to one side of the chest’s pleural lining.

The pleural lining is a wet, thin membrane between the lungs and the walls of the chest cavity. Its purpose is to protect the lungs from abrasion.

There are two layers of this lining, or pleura: one that lines the lungs and one that lines the chest wall. Under normal breathing, these linings easily slide over each other.

When malignant mesothelioma develops in the lining (pleura), it thickens and can press on the lung. Fluid can accumulate between the pleura. At this point, there can be trouble breathing, chest pain, coughing, and hoarseness.

The TNM staging system breaks down Stage I into two categories that describe where the cancer is located.

  • Stage IA is when the cancer is found on one side of the chest in the chest wall lining. It also covers when it is found in the chest cavity lining between the lungs and/or the lining that covers the diaphragm. The cancer has not affected the lung at Stage IA.
  • Stage IB is when cancer is in the chest lining on one side of the chest and on the lining that covers the lung. It includes cancer in the linings of the chest cavity and/or diaphragm.

Stage II

stage 2 mesothelioma
The cancer has spread (metastasized). However, the cancer remains in the chest or has reached above it to the esophagus.

The two systems have different definitions for Stages III and IV.

The Butchart System defines Stage III as further spreading through the diaphragm to reach the lining of the abdomen or lymph nodes outside the chest. Stage IV occurs when the cancer can be found in the bloodstream and has further spread to other organs.

stage 3 butchart mesothelioma

stage 4 butchart mesothelioma

The TNM System defines Stage III as further spread within the same side of the chest. Stage IV is when the cancer has spread outside one side of the chest to the other side and to other organs as well.

stage 3 tnm mesothelioma
stage 4 tnm mesothelioma

The Brigham System

  • Stage I:The cancer has not spread to lymph nodes and can be surgically removed.
  • Stage II:Surgery is still possible, but the cancer has spread to lymph nodes.
  • Stage III:Surgery is no longer possible and the cancer has spread to other parts of the chest, including the heart.

How long do you have to live with Stage 4 cancer?

Because Stage 4 means that the mesothelioma has spread, or metastasized, people diagnosed at this stage typically have less than 12 months to live.

Is it possible to cure Stage 4 cancer?

No, patients diagnosed with Stage 4 mesothelioma are in the advanced stage of the disease and have fewer treatment options available. Although there is no cure for mesothelioma at any stage, patients are often not diagnosed until the cancer has reached this advanced stage, making their prognosis unfavorable. Treatment for patients with Stage 4 mesothelioma focuses on making the person as comfortable as possible.

Signs and Symptoms of Mesothelioma

What are the symptoms of mesothelioma?

symptomsSymptoms of malignant pleural mesothelioma, the most common form of the asbestos cancer, often start out like other respiratory diseases such as the flu, pneumonia, or COPD.

However, anyone with a history of asbestos exposure should seek medical attention immediately if he or she exhibits these symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Pleural effusion (fluid on the lungs)
  • Weight loss
  • Persistent cough
  • Loss of appetite

Pain as a Symptom

More than half of all pleural mesothelioma patients have pain in the lower, back, or sides of the chest.

Sufferers of peritoneal mesothelioma may also experience pain in the abdominal area.

Pericardial mesothelioma patients often have chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and constant and acute coughing.

Mesothelioma patient pain typically increases over time and can be acute in many cases, requiring prescription narcotics to manage.

It is important that patients let their physicians know about the pain they are feeling.

Support from a medical team can lessen those symptoms by use of these medications:

  • Mild pain is typically treated with over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) containing ibuprofen, aspirin, naproxen, or acetaminophen.
  • Moderate pain often involves the use of opioid medications that are sometimes prescribed in combination with NSAIDs. Opioid products are hydrocodone, codeine, methadone, or oxycodone.
  • Severe pain is often experienced following surgery and is typically managed through “patient-controlled analgesia” whereby the patient with mesothelioma can manage the dosage of the painkiller. Most often this is a morphine drip. Higher doses of the moderate pain relievers may be used, or other drugs can be prescribed including fentanyl and hydromorphone.

Mesothelioma Diagnosis

How are you diagnosed with mesothelioma?

When you begin to experience symptoms, your doctor will first do a physical exam and talk to you about your work history. He or she will likely perform:

  • Chest X-ray
  • CT scan
  • MRI
  • Other tests

A biopsy will ultimately be needed to confirm a mesothelioma diagnosis.

Is mesothelioma always malignant?

Benign (or noncancerous) tumors can develop in the mesothelium tissue lining. However, these tumors are not the result of asbestos exposure, and they can be removed with a positive prognosis for the patient. Unfortunately, though, the large majority of mesothelioma cases are malignant. Benign mesothelioma cases are extremely rare.

Can a benign tumor turn into cancer?

Benign tumors, if not removed, are usually carefully monitored for changes that may indicate they have turned cancerous. For people who have had a benign mesothelioma tumor removed, there is a risk that the tumor could come back as cancer.

Can mesothelioma be misdiagnosed?

Because mesothelioma is a rare cancer, doctors may not immediately recognize symptoms. Patients may be told they have pneumonia or other lung conditions. It is important to discuss your history of asbestos exposure with your doctor. And do not hesitate to seek a second opinion from a mesothelioma specialist if you are experiencing symptoms.

Mesothelioma Treatment

How do you treat malignant mesothelioma?

Treatment for malignant mesothelioma will depend on the patient’s health and the stage at which the cancer was caught. The most common treatment options include:

  • Surgery to remove as much of the cancer as possible
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy

The patient’s doctor may also help a family find clinical trials for mesothelioma or recommend holistic treatments to improve the patient’s quality of life.

Why is mesothelioma so hard to treat?

Treatment for mesothelioma is complicated by many factors. First, because people may not develop mesothelioma until decades after they were exposed to asbestos, many patients are older and in poor health by the time they are diagnosed. This leaves them fewer options for treatment.

In addition, because the aggressive asbestos cancer is so rare and symptoms are similar to other diseases, doctors may not recognize it right away. This means many cases of malignant mesothelioma are not diagnosed until the cancer has progressed to a stage that is much more difficult to treat.

Malignant mesothelioma is one of many cancers that is still considered incurable. Treatment is difficult because the cancer is:

  • Very aggressive
  • Fast-growing
  • Usually diagnosed in the late stages

Many treatments focus on maximizing life expectancy and decreasing the pain and symptoms associated with malignant pleural mesothelioma and other forms of the cancer.

There are some rays of hope for mesothelioma sufferers. With the success of recent research and clinical trials, new treatments have been developed that specifically target malignant mesothelioma. Targeted therapies take advantage of the unique genetic characteristics of the patient, and personalized treatments allow doctors to select an approach that is most effective for each patient.

What are the most common surgeries for mesothelioma?

If a patient is in relatively good health and the cancer is detected early, surgery may be an option. Some of the common surgeries for malignant mesothelioma include:

  • Extrapleural Pneumonectomy (EPP), where the surgeon removes the lung, the affected pleura and pericardium tissue, and nearby lymph nodes.
    An extrapleural pneumonectomy is an extremely invasive surgery that is not an option for all patients.
  • Pleurectomy Decortication (P/D), where the doctor removes the pleura lining the affected lung and the chest cavity, as well as the tissue that lines the mediastinum and the diaphragm. Pleurectomy decortication is less invasive than an extrapleural pneumonectomy.
  • Cytoreduction or debulking surgery, which is used to treat peritoneal mesothelioma by removing all signs of the cancer from the abdominal cavity.
    This surgery is usually done at the same time as heated interoperative chemotherapy.

Other surgical procedures your doctor may consider include debulking pleurectomy, decortication of the lung, segmentectomy of the lung, or a lobectomy.

Most of these treatments would be in addition to radiation therapy or chemotherapy.

How can I find clinical trials for mesothelioma?

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma or another form of the disease, you should talk to your doctor about your options for participating in a clinical trial.

Although there is no single directory of clinical trials to look through, your doctor can point you in the right direction and discuss how a trial may fit into your current treatment plan.

Here are some sites to help start your search:

How much does treatment for mesothelioma cost?

Unfortunately, treatment for malignant mesothelioma can be extremely expensive.

For example, a pleural mesothelioma patient who needs surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and follow-up treatment could easily face more than $100,000 in medical bills.

Then there are the additional costs of ongoing daily care.

However, patients and their families may be entitled to compensation from asbestos companies to cover the cost of mesothelioma treatment and other expenses.

Patients and families should seek legal advice as soon as possible to learn about their options for financial help.

Is mesothelioma curable?

Unfortunately, there is no cure for malignant mesothelioma.

However, there are many palliative treatments available that can help ease a patient’s pain and possibly extend his or her life expectancy.

In addition, researchers are always exploring new drugs and treatment options that provide hope for a cure for mesothelioma in the future.

Is a malignant tumor curable?

In some cases, doctors may be able to remove a malignant tumor and attempt to kill off any remaining cancer cells with chemotherapy and radiation.

However, even if the surgery and treatment are successful, that does not mean a patient is “cured.” The tumor can come back. Particularly in the case of mesothelioma, complete eradication of the cancer is not possible.

Can mesothelioma go into remission?

Mesothelioma remission may occur when aggressive treatment leads to a reduction in tumor size.

Patients who experience mesothelioma remission will need to be closely monitored by their doctors. Because the cancer is not considered curable, doctors will watch for signs of mesothelioma recurrence to decide on how to proceed with treatment.

Mesothelioma Doctors and Treatment Centers


Mesothelioma Prognosis

What is the prognosis for mesothelioma?

Because mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer that is often detected in the late stages, the prognosis for patients is not good. Malignant mesothelioma treatment options generally focus on keeping a patient comfortable, rather than on eradicating the cancer. The earlier the cancer is detected, though, the better the prognosis for mesothelioma patients. So people who have been exposed to asbestos in the past should see a doctor at the first sign of mesothelioma symptoms.

What is the life expectancy of a person with mesothelioma?

Research has estimated a median survival time for malignant mesothelioma patients of less than a year. In cases where the cancer is diagnosed early and treatment is aggressive, research has shown a life expectancy of two to five years.

Patients can improve their life expectancy by focusing on their overall health and exploring every mesothelioma treatment option available, including clinical trials.

Is mesothelioma fatal?

Unfortunately, yes. Researchers have not yet found a cure for the disease, and patients typically do not have a long life expectancy. However, treatment options are constantly evolving, and there is hope that life expectancies will improve with future research.

Legal Help for Mesothelioma

The great tragedy of this deadly disease is that it was preventable. Many of the corporations that manufactured and profited from the sale of asbestos-containing products were aware of the hazards of asbestos. These companies did not warn of the risks or protect workers.

It was their legal duty to know about their products and to test them for any potential hazards. If a potential hazard did exist, the company had a responsibility to warn workers. In many cases, companies hid the knowledge they had in order to protect themselves from liability or from having to find a new business model.

The result is that many workers have unnecessarily developed mesothelioma.

How much does it cost to hire a lawyer for a mesothelioma case?

Many families find themselves overwhelmed by the cost of mesothelioma treatment and the challenges of caring for a loved one full time. You should not have to worry about how you can afford legal help, too.

A good malignant mesothelioma attorney will provide a free initial consultation on your case. You should also not be charged anything to get started on your claim. Instead, the mesothelioma attorney should be willing to handle your case on a contingency-fee basis. That means you don’t pay anything until the attorney recovers compensation for you.

Contact us to discuss your legal options for pursuing compensation after a mesothelioma diagnosis. As an added service to veterans, our attorneys also take care of VA claims for those diagnosed with mesothelioma.

How long does a mesothelioma lawsuit take?

We can connect you with lawyers who have extensive experience handling mesothelioma claims, which means they have already done much of the research and legwork needed to build the foundation of your case. Depending on where you are located, there may be a law requiring expedited handling of lawsuits involving plaintiffs with life-threatening diseases. Typically, our lawyers fight to resolve cases within one year.

Mesothelioma Resources

  • Steven E. HABER and Jason M. HABER Malignant Mesothelioma: A Clinical Study of 238 Cases. Industrial Health. 2011. 49, 166–172
  • Oxford Journals: Occupational Characteristics of Cases with Asbestos-related Diseases in The Netherlands:
  • Canadian Cancer Society: Anatomy and physiology of the mesothelium
  • Peritoneal Dialysis International: Mesothelial Cells
  • Stanford School of Medicine
  • Texas Heart Institute Journal
  • Oxford Medical & Surgical Case Reports
  • World Journal of Surgical Oncology
Published: - Updated: Sep 28, 2017