Malignant Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive form of cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, abdomen, or heart. The main risk factor for developing this disease is exposure to asbestos fibers, a naturally occurring mineral commonly used in the past in the construction and shipbuilding industries.
It can take several decades to develop. Symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain, and abdominal swelling. The prognosis is generally poor, with limited treatment options and a median survival time of less than a year.
Other potential risk factors include:
- Asbestos exposure
- Age (typically over 60 years)
- Gender (more common in men)
- Family history
- Occupational exposure (e.g. in construction, shipyard work)
- Inflammatory lung disease.