What is mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is an aggressive type of cancer that occurs in the thin layer of tissue called the mesothelium that covers most internal organs. It is divided into different types based on what part of the mesothelium is affected. Mesothelioma most often affects the tissue that surrounds the lungs, called the pleura. Most mesotheliomas are thought to be related to asbestos exposure. 

The three main types of mesothelioma are:

  • Epithelioid – makes up more than half of mesotheliomas
  • Sarcomatoid (fibrous)
  • Mixed (biphasic)

More information about Mesothelioma (American Cancer Society)

What mesothelioma is not:

Mesothelioma should not be confused with other lung cancers and lung conditions because these cancers can have different symptoms, outlooks, and treatments.


It’s possible that you could have one or more of the following tests (but not all of these will apply to your condition):

  • Imaging: computerized tomography (CT) scan, positron emission tomography (PET) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Blood tests
  • Tissue or fluid biopsy
  • Treatment

Depending on your unique set of conditions and how far the disease has spread, your treatment could include one or more of the following treatments (but not all of these will apply to your condition):

  • Surgery
  • Radiation
  • Chemotherapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • Clinical trial
  • Follow-up care including imaging, blood tests and physical exams

Your full team of care providers will work closely together to review your diagnostic tests, identify the best course of treatment particular to you, and help you understand your diagnosis and what to expect with any treatment you have.