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Malignant Mesothelioma

General Discussion
Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that affects the membrane that covers and protects various internal organs of the body (mesothelium). The mesothelium is composed of two layers of specialized cells known as mesothelial cells. One layer directly surrounds an organ; the other forms a protective sac around the organ. The most common form of mesothelioma affects the membrane or sac that lines the lungs (pleura). Other common sites include the membrane lining the stomach (peritoneum) and the membrane lining the heart (pericardium).

The term "cancer" refers to a group of diseases characterized by abnormal, uncontrolled cellular growth (e.g., mesothelial cells) that invades surrounding tissues and may spread (metastasize) to distant bodily tissues or organs via the bloodstream, the lymphatic system, or other means. Different forms of cancer, including mesothelioma, may be classified based upon the cell type involved, the specific nature of the malignancy, the tissues or organs affected, and the disease's clinical course. Symptoms of mesothelioma vary depending upon the location, type and stage of the cancer. Approximately 70 to 80 percent of cases of mesothelioma result from exposure to asbestos. Symptoms of mesothelioma may not appear until up to 50 years after initial exposure to asbestos. However, after symptoms began apparent, mesothelioma may rapidly progress to cause life-threatening complications.

American Cancer Society, Inc.

1599 Clifton Road NE

Atlanta, GA 30329


Tel: 4043203333

Tel: 8002272345

Internet: http://www.cancer.org

American Lung Association

61 Broadway, 6th Floor

New York, NY 10006


Tel: 2123158700

Fax: 2123158870

Tel: 8005864872

Internet: http://www.lungusa.org

National Cancer Institute

6116 Executive Blvd, MSC 8322, Room 3036A

Bethesda, MD 20892-8322


Tel: 3014353848

Tel: 8004226237

TDD: 8003328615

Internet: http://www.cancer.gov

Canadian Cancer Society

10 Alcorn Avenue

Suite 200


Toronto, M4V 3B1


Tel: (416) 961-7223

Fax: (416) 961-4189

Tel: (888) 939-3333

Email: ccs@cancer.ca

Internet: http://www.cancer.ca/

Cancer Care, Inc.

275 Seventh Avenue

New York, NY 10001

Tel: (212)302-2400

Fax: (212)719-0263

Tel: (800)813-4673

Email: info@cancercare.org

Internet: http://www.cancercare.org

Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation, Inc.

3944 State Street

Suite 340

Santa Barbara, CA 93190-1840


Tel: 8055638400

Fax: 8055638411

Tel: 8773636376

Email: j-wayne@marf.org

Internet: http://www.curemeso.org

Rare Cancer Alliance

1649 North Pacana Way

Green Valley, AZ 85614


Tel: 5206255495

Fax: 6155264921

Email: sharon.lane@rare-cancer.org

Internet: http://www.rare-cancer.org

Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization

1525 Aviation Boulevard

Suite 318

Redondo Beach, CA 90278

Tel: (310)480-2989

Fax: (310)798-9235

Email: info@AsbestosDiseaseAwareness.org

Internet: http://www.asbestosdiseaseawareness.org

Friends of Cancer Research

2231 Crystal Drive

Suite 200

Arlington, VA 22202

Tel: (703)302-1503

Fax: (703)302-1568

Email: info@focr.org

Internet: http://www.focr.org


American Society of Clinical Oncology

2318 Mill Road

Suite 800

Alexandria, VA 22314

Tel: (571)483-1780

Fax: (571)366-9537

Tel: (888)651-3038

Email: contactus@cancer.net

Internet: http://www.cancer.net/patient

Wellness Community

919 18th Street N.W.

Suite 54

Washington, DC 20006

Tel: (202)659-9709

Fax: (202)659-9301

Tel: (888)793-9355

Email: help@thewellnesscommunity.org

Internet: http://www.thewellnesscommunity.org

Lance Armstrong Foundation

PO Box 161550

Austin, TX 78716-1150

Tel: (512)236-8820

Fax: (512)236-8482

Tel: (866)235-7205

Internet: http://www.livestrong.org

Mesothelioma Cancer Center

3208 E Colonial Drive

Suite 180

Orlando, FL 32803

Tel: (407)965-5755

Fax: (866)543-2270

Tel: (800)272-3786

Email: webmaster@asbestos.com

Internet: http://www.asbestos.com

For a Complete Report
This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc. ® (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be obtained for a small fee by visiting the NORD website. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational treatments (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, see http://www.rarediseases.org/search/rdblist.html

The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only. NORD recommends that affected individuals seek the advice or counsel of their own personal physicians.

It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report.

This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's re[br]s are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Re[br]s section for the most current information about this disorder.

For additional information and assistance about rare disorders, please contact the National Organization for Rare Disorders at P.O. Box 1968, Danbury, CT 06813-1968; phone (203) 744-0100; web site www.rarediseases.org or email orphan@rarediseases.org

Last Updated:  5/20/2008

Copyright  2004, 2006 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.
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