1. What is mesothelioma?
A malignant mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that is found in the lining of the chest and lung (the pleura), the abdomen (the peritoneum), or the saclike space around the heart (the pericardium). Although it is rare, mesothelioma is a very serious disease that is often at an advanced stage when the diagnosis is made. In the United States, an estimated 2000 to 3000 new cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed each year. Approximately three-fourths of these cases start in the chest cavity and are called pleural mesotheliomas. Another 10% to 20% begin in the abdomen and are called peritoneal mesotheliomas. Lastly, those that start in the lining around the heart are called pericardial me