Mesothelioma is a rare cancer that affects the cells that make up the mesothelium. The mesothelium is the lining or membrane that covers and protects various internal organs in the body including the lungs, abdomen, heart and testes. Mesothelioma most commonly originates in the pleura (the membrane that lines the lungs and chest cavity) and less commonly in the peritoneum (the membrane that lines the inside of the abdomen). Mesothelioma can also very rarely originate in the pericardium (the membrane that lines the heart) or the tunica vaginalis (the membrane that lines the testes).1 While several causes of mesothelioma have been identified, approximately 70% - 90% of cases can be attributed to asbestos exposure.1 Only 5% - 10% of mesothelioma patients live beyond five years2 and it is predicted that around 90,000 deaths worldwide will occur from the cancer by 2050.3
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