Medical Q&As

Mesothelioma - what is it?

I have just been diagnosed with mesothelioma of the pleura. Any help or information on this condition would be helpful.

Mesothelioma is potentially a very serious diagnosis and I would suggest that you discuss the matter further with your medical advisers for more specific information about your case. I will confine my answer to a general discussion of the condition. Mesothelioma is a tumour of mesothelial cells, which are to be found in the pleura, peritoneum, pericardium and testis. Essentially, mesothelial cells are to be found in the tissues that line the body’s cavities with the pleura being the membrane that lines the inside of the chest cavity and surface of the lungs. Pleural mesothelioma is the commonest type of mesothelioma and the majority of cases are associated with exposure to asbestos. The combination of cigarette smoking and exposure to asbestos greatly increases the chances of developing mesothelioma. The treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation or a combination of these treatments. There is no standard treatment for this disease and each case is dealt with on a unique basis.