What is Mesothelioma?
This is a cancer of mesothelial tissue. It is a cancer of the mesothelium, a protective membrane that lines most of the body's internal organs. Three out of every four cases cases of mesothelioma disease begin in the pleural mesothelium of the chest cavity.
Regardless of where they originate, malignant cells from the mesothelium can invade and damage nearby tissues
The mesothelium has different names in different parts of the body
- The coats the lungs and the space in the chest containing the lungs.
- The lines the inside of the abdomen and many of the organs in the abdomen.
- The covers the heart and creates the space that holds the heart in the chest.
- The lines the testicles.
Mesothelial tumors can start in any of these linings. These tumors can be non-cancerous (benign) or cancerous (malignant).
Causes of Mesothelioma
The main risk factor for mesothelioma is working with asbestos.
Asbestos is a group of minerals with thin microscopic fibers. Because these fibers are resistant to heat, fire, and chemicals and do not conduct electricity, asbestos has been mined and used widely in the construction, automotive, and other industries.
If tiny asbestos fibers are released into the air, as they are in the manufacturing process, they can be inhaled or swallowed, leading to serious health problems. As many as 75% of mesothelioma cases can be linked to exposure to asbestos at work.