Mesothelioma as defined by Wikipedia is, more precisely malignant mesothelioma, is a rare form of cancer that develops from the protective lining that covers many of the body’s internal organs, the mesothelium. It is almost always caused by exposure to asbestos. Its most common site is the pleura (outer lining of the lungs and internal chest wall), but it may also occur in the peritoneum (the lining of the abdominal cavity), the heart, the pericardium (a sac that surrounds the heart) or tunica vaginalis.
In most cases people who have developed mesothelioma have worked on jobs where they inhaled asbestos fibers, or they have been exposed to asbestos dust and particles in other ways. Asbestos exposure can also spread to family members who come into contact with the clothing of a family member who worked with asbestos; this can put a person at risk for developing mesothelioma.
Warning signs and symptoms of mesothelioma may take years to appear. In some cases warning signs may not appear for 15 to 40 years after initial exposure to asbestos, which makes it extremely difficult to obtain proper care and treatment. Some of the symptoms of mesothelioma are closely related to other common illnesses and most mesothelioma patients are often wrongly diagnosed and in turn mistreated.
According to the National Cancer Institute, U.S. National Institutes of Health, the prognosis (chance of recovery) and treatment options depend on the following: