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What is Mesothelioma?

Malignant mesothelioma is a rare disease in which cancerous cells are found in the pleura or peritoneum.

  • The pleura is a thin layer of tissue that lines the chest cavity and covers the lungs.
  • The peritoneum is a thin layer of tissue that lines the abdomen and covers most of the organs in the abdomen.

Most people diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma have worked in jobs where they were exposed to asbestos. Family members also may experience exposure to asbestos in the home from particles on a loved one's clothing, etc.

Mesothelioma Treatment Options

Therapy depends on accurate diagnosis (imaging guided biopsy, cytology or pleuroscopic biopsy) and staging (which is often done with chest Computerized Tomography (CT), PET CT and mediastinoscopy) and the overall functional status of the patient.

Surgery is the best treatment option for early stages of the mesothelioma. Fox Chase surgeons, such as Walter J. Scott, MD, FACS, offer an individualized tailored surgical approach that integrates the patient functional status and stage. Surgery is often augmented by adjuvant Radiation followed by chemotherapy.

Chemotherapy is the mainstay of treatment for latter stages of mesothelioma. Recent lung cancer clinical trials have shown that chemotherapy increases survival rates among patients with mesothelioma.

Radiation therapy, chemotherapy or both also may be used alone or in combination with surgery.

Find a Clinical Trial

Researchers at lung cancer treatment centers like Fox Chase, including Joseph Testa, PhD, are currently investigating the role of specialized proteins (detectable on a blood test). These proteins may be a means of early detection and treatment monitoring for mesothelioma. Read more about Clinical Trials »

Pain Management for Mesothelioma

Patients often experience pain when their lungs collapse. Fox Chase Cancer Center offers comprehensive pain relief for lung cancer patients.

For more information about lung cancer treatment and prevention at Fox Chase Cancer Center or to make an appointment, call 1-888-FOX CHASE (1-888-369-2427).