This information is provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD).
Malignant mesothelioma is a form of cancer that develops in the thin layer of tissue that surrounds the lungs, chest wall, or abdomen. Signs and symptoms of the condition can vary and often depend on which area of the body is affected. Common features include abdominal bloating, abdominal pain, chest pain, coughing, fatigue, shortness of breath, and/or weight loss. Malignant mesothelioma is thought to be caused by long-term exposure to asbestos (a fire-resistant material that was once commonly found in insulation; ceiling and roof vinyls; cement; and automotive brake materials). Most people appear to be diagnosed with the condition approximately 30 years after being in contact with the asbestos. Unfortunately, there is generally no cure for malignant mesothelioma unless it is diagnosed at an early stage and can be surgically removed. If surgery is not an option, chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy may still be recommended to help alleviate some of the associated symptoms.
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