What is mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is an aggressive and often deadly form of lung cancer that starts in the cells of the mesothelium—the thin tissue forming the outer layer of specific organs. These mesothelial cells that make up the lining in your abdomen, chest, and around your heart are specialized to provide protection by producing lubricating fluids that allow your organs to slide against one another.
Tumors that form within the mesothelium can be either cancerous or benign. Malignant mesothelioma, often just shortened to mesothelioma, grows in four different parts of the body’s mesothelial cells.
The two most common forms of mesothelioma are:
- Pleural mesothelioma. The most common form of mesothelioma, which grows on the lining of the lungs. Pleural mesothelioma makes up around every 3 out of 4 cases.
- Peritoneal mesothelioma. This type of mesothelioma occurs in the abdomen. It’s the second most common, making up most of the remaining cases.
The last two types of mesothelioma are incredibly rare.
- Pericardial mesothelioma. These are mesotheliomas growing around the lining of the heart.
- Mesotheliomas of the tunica vaginalis. These are growths in the lining of the testicles.