Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer that affects the mesothelium – the thin, protective membrane that covers the lungs, heart and other internal body organs. The disease is most commonly caused by exposure to asbestos fibers.
Mesothelioma is a highly aggressive form of cancer that is usually resistant to standard cancer treatments. While there is no cure for mesothelioma, various clinical trials are studying the disease and several cases of remission have been reported. In addition, treatments are available that are effective at easing pain, suffering and symptoms, extend life expectancy and generally improve a patient’s quality of life.
Most mesothelioma patients may not even realize they have cancer until symptoms start to interfere with their daily lives. Symptoms generally don’t appear until at least 20 after someone was exposed to asbestos, and sometimes symptoms are hidden for as long as 50 years.