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Understanding the different types of mesothelioma

On Behalf of | Jul 7, 2023 | Mesothelioma

According to, doctors diagnose roughly 3,000 people with mesothelioma yearly in the United States. Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that develops in the thin layer of tissue covering most of your internal organs, known as the mesothelium. This aggressive disease is most commonly caused by exposure to asbestos, a fibrous mineral once widely used in construction and various industries.

Asbestos fibers, when inhaled or ingested, can become lodged in the body, causing damage over time that leads to mesothelioma. There are several types of this cancer, and they are typically named for the part of the body where they originate.

Pleural mesothelioma

Pleural mesothelioma, the most common type, originates in the lining of the lungs, known as the pleura. It makes up about 75% of all mesothelioma cases. Symptoms typically include chest pain, shortness of breath and fluid buildup around the lungs.

Peritoneal mesothelioma

Peritoneal mesothelioma starts in the lining of the abdomen, called the peritoneum. It is less common than pleural mesothelioma but still accounts for about 20% of all cases. People with this type may experience abdominal pain, bloating and changes in bowel habits.

Pericardial mesothelioma

Pericardial mesothelioma, which begins in the lining around the heart, is very rare. It accounts for less than 1% of all cases. It can cause symptoms like chest pain and heart palpitations.

Testicular mesothelioma

This is the rarest type of mesothelioma, starting in the lining around the testicles. It makes up less than 1% of all cases. Signs may include a lump in the scrotum or swelling in the testicles.

Regardless of the type, mesothelioma is a severe and often aggressive form of cancer. Understanding the different types can help you recognize potential symptoms and seek prompt medical attention. It is important to remember that workers in certain industries, such as construction and shipbuilding, are at a higher risk due to historical asbestos exposure. If you believe you have had exposure to asbestos, it is important to inform your doctor so that they can monitor your health for any signs of this disease.