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Understanding Mesothelioma

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What is mesothelioma?
Malignant mesothelioma is a cancer of the lining of the chest or abdomen.

Malignant mesothelioma is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells are found in the pleura (the thin layer of tissue that lines the chest cavity and covers the lungs) or the peritoneum (the thin layer of tissue that lines the abdomen and covers most of the organs in the abdomen).

How many types of mesothelioma are there?
By location, there are two main types of mesothelioma: Pleural mesothelioma (also known as mesothelioma of the chest) and peritoneal mesothelioma (also known as mesothelioma of the abdomen). In addition, sometimes mesothelioma can occur in the pericardium (the thin layer of tissue that lines the heart) or tunica vaginalis (the thin layer of tissue that lines the testicle).

By appearance under the microscope, there are three main types of mesothelioma: Epithelial (also known as epitheliod), Sarcomatoid and Mixed type (also known as biphasic). In the abdomen, another type of mesothelioma is the papillary type. This has a much better prognosis than other histologies.

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