Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that develops from cells of the mesothelium, the lining that covers many of the internal organs of the body. There are approximately 2,000 cases of mesothelioma diagnosed in the United States every year. Sites of mesothelioma are typically the pleural cavity (outer lining of the lungs and chest wall) and peritoneal area (abdomen). Rare sites can also include the testis and the heart. Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos. Asbestos was put into thousands of industrial and consumer products even after many companies knew that it was dangerous. Signs and symptoms of mesothelioma may include shortness of breath due to pleural effusion (fluid between the lung and the chest wall), chest wall pain and weight loss.
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