Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that is caused by asbestos exposure. Mesothelioma is not a form of lung cancer. It actually develops in the mesothelium; a thin, double-layered protective sheath that surrounds vital organs and body cavities. The mesothelium that protects the chest and lungs is called the pleura and the mesothelium that surrounds the abdomen is called the peritoneum. This protective tissue holds vital organs in position and provides lubrication that allows internal organs to smoothly move during breathing and movements.
Mesothelioma is the most serious of all asbestos-related diseases. Mesothelioma asbestos cancer can be very difficult to diagnose and can take anywhere from 25 to sometimes 50 years to develop. Prognosis for mesothelioma is poor and is worse than other forms of asbestos cancer. Mesothelioma typically affects the pleural mesothelium but in some cases, patients develop peritoneal mesothelioma in the abdomen.
Asbestos. Asbestos is a mineral substance that occurs naturally in our environment. Asbestos has a long history of useful applications, as it is one of few minerals that have a fibrous structure that can be woven into fabric, rope, and added into other products to add strength and flexibility. Asbestos is highly heat and chemical resistant. This is why asbestos is used in so many insulation applications. Asbestos fibers can be broken down to microscopic size. Exposure to these tiny asbestos fibers can cause to asbestos cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma.