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Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer that that develops in the pleura, a thin membrane that separates the lung from the chest wall. It usually occurs from prior exposure to asbestos, a type of mineral fiber used in the insulation industry.

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Mesothelioma, unlike other cancers, tends to grow mainly along the surface of the lung and other surfaces of the chest resulting in breathing difficulties, chest pain and fever.

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Mesothelioma Symptoms, Causes and Risk Factors

Mesothelioma generally occurs in people who have previously been exposed to asbestos—in most cases, at least 20 years after asbestos exposure.

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Diagnosing and Treating Mesothelioma

In general, if you are at risk and your doctor suspects mesothelioma, you should be referred to a specialist in lung diseases. That physician will order a series of one or more tests to prove the diagnosis of mesothelioma.

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Living With Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is usually diagnosed when the disease is advanced enough to cause symptoms. While treatments aimed at curing the disease are limited, most of these symptoms can be effectively managed to improve quality of life.

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Questions to Ask Your Doctor about Mesothelioma

The diagnosis of mesothelioma is very serious and may be overwhelming and affects all aspects of life in a profound way. In order to make the best use of your limited time with healthcare providers involved in your care, it might be useful to consider the following questions, as well as questions of your own, and we recommend actively preparing for each healthcare visit by writing them down ahead of time.

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This content was developed in partnership with the CHEST Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the American College of Chest Physicians.

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