Miles for Meso is a Mesothelioma Awareness Day race and fun run/walk dedicated to building awareness and funding research.

Learn more about our impact

What Is Mesothelioma?

Bookmark and Share

What is Mesothelioma?

Malignant mesothelioma is a rare form of asbestos cancer that most often attacks the lungs and abdomen.

Most have never heard of malignant mesothelioma. Understanding this medically complicated asbestos cancer can be an overwhelming process. Each year, nearly 3,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma. Virtually all cases are linked to asbestos.

There are three main types of malignant mesothelioma: Pleural Mesothelioma, Pericardial Mesothelioma, and Peritoneal Mesothelioma.  Mesothelioma is a rare, deadly cancer caused by asbestos exposure. Though in some cases it can be benign, most commonly it is malignant (cancerous). Malignant mesothelioma can affect the lungs, heart, and abdomen.


The most common form of malignant mesothelioma, representing about 75% of the cases of the disease, is called pleural mesothelioma. The cancer forms in the pleura, the protective lining around the lungs. This can cause fluid to collect around the lungs and can be quite painful – which is often one of the first symptoms to appear in pleural mesothelioma.


When malignant mesothelioma appears in the abdomen, it is referred to as peritoneal mesothelioma. It is sometimes called Abdominal Mesothelioma. This accounts for around 20% of mesothelioma cases diagnosed each year. In rare cases, Peritoneal Mesothelioma is also found in the testicles.


Pericardial mesothelioma attacks the heart and is by far the rarest form of the disease. The fluid that collects around the heart can cause serious heart problems, beginning with chest pain.