Asbestos Cancer, also called malignant mesothelioma
Malignant mesothelioma is a disease in which cancer (malignant) cells are found in the sac lining the chest (the pleura) or abdomen (the peritoneum). It is a rare form of cancer. Most people with malignant mesothelioma have worked on jobs where they breathed asbestos.
You should see a doctor if you experience shortness of breath, pain in the chest, or pain or swelling in the abdomen. If there are symptoms, your doctor may order an x-ray of the chest or abdomen.
Your doctor may look inside the chest cavity with a special instrument called a thoracoscope. A cut will be made through the chest wall and the thoracoscope will be put into the chest between two ribs. This test, called thoracoscopy, is usually done in the hospital. Before the test, the patient will be given a local anesthetic (a drug that causes a loss of feeling for a short period of time). Some pressure may be felt, but usually there is no pain.
Your doctor may also look inside the abdomen (peritoneoscopy) with a special tool called a peritoneoscope. The peritoneoscope is put into an opening made in the abdomen. This test is also usually done in the hospital. Before the test is done, a local anesthetic will be given.
If tissue that is not normal is found, the doctor will need to cut out a small piece and have it looked at under a microscope to see if there are any cancer cells. This is called a biopsy. Biopsies are usually done during the thoracoscopy or peritoneoscopy.
The chance of recovery (prognosis) depends on the size of the cancer, where the cancer is, how far the cancer has spread, your age, how the cancer cells look under the microscope, how the asbestos cancer or malignant mesothelioma responds to treatment.