Malignant Mesothelioma

At a Glance

  • Malignant mesothelioma is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells are found in the thin layer of tissue that lines the chest cavity and covers the lungs or the thin layer of tissue that lines the abdomen and covers most of the organs in the abdomen.
  • Mesothelioma is fairly rare. There are about 2,000 to 3,000 new cases of mesothelioma each year in the United States.
  • Most people who get mesothelioma are over 65 years old. Men are much more likely than women to get this disease.
  • Mesothelioma is more common in whites and Hispanics/Latinos than in African Americans or Asian Americans.

Risk Factors

Anything that increases your chance of getting a disease is called a risk factor. Risk factors for malignant mesothelioma include the following:
  • Living with a person who works near asbestos.
  • Being exposed to a certain virus.


Possible signs of malignant mesothelioma include:
  • Trouble breathing.
  • Pain under the rib cage.
  • Pain or swelling in the abdomen.
  • Lumps in the abdomen.
  • Weight loss for no known reason.
Factors Affecting Prognosis and Treatment Options The prognosis (chance of recovery) and treatment options depend on the following:
  • The stage of the cancer.
  • The size of the tumor.
  • Whether the tumor can be removed completely by surgery.
  • The amount of fluid in the chest or abdomen.
  • The patient’s age and general health, including lung and heart health.
  • The type of mesothelioma cancer cells and how they look under a microscope.
  • Whether the cancer has just been diagnosed or has recurred (come back).
If you have symptoms, increased risk factors or have recently been diagnosed with Malignant Mesothelioma, contact us to request an appointment with Diablo Valley Oncology’s physicians to learn more about your treatment options.