Get Help With Malignant Mesothelioma​

Top 10 Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Mesothelioma

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    Have you or someone you know been diagnosed with mesothelioma?

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      What is your diagnosis?

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          What is your diagnosis?

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          Real Answers — and Real Help — for People With Mesothelioma.

          If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you want answers. You want to know where the best treatment options are and what can be done to help extend and maintain the best quality of life. 

          In our Mesothelioma Care Kit and Package, you can find answers,  valuable resources,  and more — for free.

          Our Mesothelioma Care Package provides the latest information on top treatment options and ways others have improved life expectancy.

          Get help for you and your family now.

          Getting a proper diagnosis.

          Diagnosing mesothelioma can be difficult for a number of reasons. Symptoms often take a long time to appear, typically 10 to 50 years or more after exposure to asbestos, the symptoms of mesothelioma are common in several other illnesses. Because the symptoms are nonspecific, most patients are diagnosed with the disease at an advanced stage. Once diagnosed, your doctor will have identified one of three types of mesothelioma: pleural, peritoneal or pericardial. Each has its own distinct set of symptoms.

          Pleural Mesothelioma

          Pleural Mesothelioma affects the protective lining of the lungs, the pleura. It’s the most common location where the disease occurs — about 75 percent of all diagnosed cases are pleural. Those diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma will typically have the most treatment options available.

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          Peritoneal Mesothelioma

          Peritoneal mesothelioma affects the protective lining of the abdominal cavity, the area of your body containing several organs including the stomach, intestines, kidneys, and liver. It’s the second most common location where mesothelioma grows—about 20 to 24 percent of all mesotheliomas occur here.

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          Pericardial Mesothelioma

          Pericardial mesothelioma affects the protective lining of the heart. It’s one of the rarest locations where mesothelioma occurs and accounts for about 1 percent of all cases. Because it’s rare, doctors don’t get to treat many patients with mesothelioma in this location and haven’t had as many chances to create effective treatments.

          Testicular Mesothelioma

          Testicular Mesothelioma, in the tunica vaginalis — the membrane that surrounds the testes makes up less than 1 percent of diagnosed cases. It can be diagnosed by the appearance of a lump in the scrotum, swelling of the testicles and pain in that area. Due to its rarity, physicians have limited experience treating patients with mesothelioma in this location, leading to fewer opportunities to develop effective treatments.

          Pleural Mesothelioma accounts for about 75% of all mesothelioma diagnoses.

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          The 4 Stages of Mesothelioma

          Knowing your cancer stage is an important part of your diagnosis because it determines how effective your treatment will be. Although there isn’t a specific staging system for mesothelioma, doctors have used a number of systems — TNM, Butchart, and Brigham — to divide the spread of cancer into 4 stages. For the most part, the earlier the stage, the less mesothelioma has spread, the easier it is for surgeons to remove — and the better your prognosis will be.

          Stage 1
          • This stage indicates the tumor is only in the mesothelium where it originated and hasn’t yet spread.
          • A stage-one mesothelioma diagnosis means a patient should respond well to treatment and should enjoy a better prognosis than patients with more advanced diagnoses.
          Stage 2
          • At stage two, the tumor has grown larger and may have spread to organs outside the area of where it first appeared in the mesothelium.
          • There isn’t a substantial difference in prognosis between stage-one and stage-two patients and curative surgery is still an option.
          Stage 3
          • At stage three, the tumor has spread throughout one side of a patient's body and possibly other areas including nearby lymph nodes, the esophagus, the chest wall, ribs, or heart.
          • Curative treatments including chemotherapy may no longer be effective at this stage, but surgery may still be an option. Palliative treatment will likely be the best option to improve your quality of life.
          Stage 4
          • At stage four, the tumor has spread to both sides of the body. It may have invaded the brain, bone cells, far away lymph nodes, and other organ tissues.
          • Because it has spread so far, curative treatments such as surgery and chemotherapy are not effective in removing stage four mesothelioma. Doctors will instead use palliative treatment to relieve discomfort caused by symptoms. They may also enroll a patient in a clinical trial where they’ll use new treatments to try and improve a prognosis.

          Mesothelioma Treatment Options

          Mesothelioma treatment falls into one of two categories: curative or palliative. A mesothelioma specialist will prescribe the optimal treatment option based upon your diagnosis and staging.

          Curative Treatment

          Curative treatments seek to extend survival time by removing as much of the mesothelioma as possible. Typically multiple curative treatments are combined to achieve better results.

          Palliative Treatment

          Palliative treatment addresses the symptoms of mesothelioma rather than the cancer itself. By easing symptoms such as chest or abdominal pain, doctors can help improve your quality of life.

          Doctors never use a one-size-fits-all approach for mesothelioma treatment because the disease affects each patient so differently. Factors like the cancer stage, cell type, and location of the mesothelioma all play an important role in your treatment and will help determine how your doctor uses treatments like surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy.


          Surgery is most effective if you’re diagnosed with stage 1 or stage 2 mesothelioma as the disease hasn’t spread far beyond the lining of the lungs, abdomen, or heart. For stage 3 or 4 mesothelioma, doctors use surgery to remove obstructive tumors and improve quality of life.


          Doctors use chemotherapy to shrink tumors, making their removal with surgery easier and more efficient. They also use it as a palliative measure to shrink tumors that restrict breathing or cause excessive abdominal pain.

          Radiation Therapy

          Like chemotherapy, radiation therapy helps doctors remove tumors and relieve discomfort caused by their obstructive growth.

          Multimodal Therapy

          Multimodal therapy is a combination of two or more treatments. Doctors have greatly increased the life expectancy of patients with pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma using multimodal therapy.

          Emerging Treatments

          Emerging treatments can benefit patients diagnosed with any stage of mesothelioma but may especially improve the prognosis for those with advanced-stage mesothelioma. 

          You or your loved one might have more treatment options than you think.

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          Improving Your Prognosis

          Your prognosis, an estimate your doctor makes on how your diagnosis will progress based upon how similar diagnoses have affected other people in the past. Factors including the cancer stage, cell type, and location of the mesothelioma all play an important role in determining which treatments your doctor recommends.

          It’s important to remember that your prognosis isn’t set in stone. You can take action to change it by:

          • Getting more exercise and eating healthy
          • Reviewing all your treatment options
          • Seeing a top mesothelioma specialist