Mesothelioma.com Resources for Patients and their Families

What is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma

Malignant mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer that occurs in the thin layer of cells lining the body's internal organs, known as the mesothelium.

There are three recognized types of mesothelioma. Pleural mesothelioma is the most common form of the disease, accounting for roughly 70% of cases, and occurs in the lining of the lung known as the pleura. Peritoneal mesothelioma occurs in the lining of the abdominal cavity, known as the peritoneum and pericardial mesothelioma originates in the pericardium, which lines the heart.

An individual may be at risk to develop mesothelioma if he or she was exposed to asbestos in the workplace or at home. Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos and the inhalation of asbestos particles. In most cases, mesothelioma symptoms will not appear in an individual exposed to asbestos until many years after the exposure has occurred. Those with a past asbestos exposure history experiencing symptoms should consult a physician with experience in accurately diagnosing mesothelioma. The earlier mesothelioma is diagnosed, the more likely it is to be caught at an early stage. At earlier stages of mesothelioma progression, more treatment options are available and oftentimes a better prognosis is given.

Additional mesothelioma information and statistics can be found in this section. Read stories of hope from mesothelioma surviviors as well.

Resources for Mesothelioma Patients and Their Families

Mesothelioma Treatment

Mesothelioma Treatment

Once an individual has been diagnosed by a qualified mesothelioma doctor, the next step is to discuss mesothelioma treatment options and to develop a treatment plan. Recent scientific research has produced significant breakthroughs with regard to treatment protocols for mesothelioma patients and more options are now available for managing mesothelioma and supporting improved quality of life. Newly diagnosed mesothelioma patients often have many questions for their doctors about the treatment options that would be most effective for them. Conventional treatment options for mesothelioma include surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Recently, chemotherapy drugs including Alimta® and Cisplatin have showed promising results in some patients.

Top Mesothelioma Doctors in the Country
David Sugarbaker, M.D.

David Sugarbaker, M.D.

Professor of Surgery, Chief of General Thoracic Surgery, Director of the Lung Institute Map Marker Baylor College of Medicine
Raphael Bueno, M.D.

Raphael Bueno, M.D.

Chief, Division of Thoracic Surgery; Vice Chair of Surgery for Cancer and Translational Research Map Marker Brigham and Women's Hospital

Mesothelioma clinical trials as well as experimental treatments are other options that certain mesothelioma patients may be eligible to participate in. Our site features a comprehensive mesothelioma cancer treatment section that includes important information for patients and families. We've included resources on top mesothelioma experts such as Dr. David Sugarbaker and Dr. Raphael Bueno, as well as a comprehensive list of cancer centers where mesothelioma treatment takes place. Beyond the conventional treatments for mesothelioma, certain alternative therapies may provide assistance to mesothelioma patients. Financial assistance is available to help offset mesothelioma treatment costs. We continually update this section of our site as new mesothelioma treatment information becomes available.

Mesothelioma Survivor Stories
  • Heather Von St. James

    In 2006, at the age of 36, Heather Von St. James gave birth to her daughter, Lily Rose. Just three months later, she was diagnosed with mesothelioma–startling news for someone so young. Heather had been exposed to asbestos second-hand as a child when her father would return home from work with his clothing covered in asbestos dust. Heather often wore his coat, and in the process she unwittingly breathed in the fibers. With strong faith, support from a host of family and friends, and a vibrant sense of humor, Heather emerged from a multi-month course of treatment healthy and cancer-free.

  • Mavis Nye

    Mavis describes herself as an ordinary woman who married a shipwright. For 48 years, she washed her husband’s clothes when he came home from work, never knowing that the dust on his jacket was full of deadly asbestos. In June 2009, Mavis was diagnosed with mesothelioma and given only three months to live. Chemotherapy worked to extend her life for another year beyond that, but eventually the tumors started growing again. However, she was given a new lease on life through an immunotherapy trial, which has kept her cancer free much longer than expected.

  • Paul Kraus
    Paul Kraus

    Paul Kraus has lived with peritoneal mesothelioma for nearly two decades. Born into a Nazi labor camp in Austria, he escaped as an infant with his mother and brother and soon emigrated with his family to Australia. Asbestos is prevalent in Australia, and as a result, the country suffers from some of the highest rates of mesothelioma in the world. Mr. Kraus was exposed as a youth on a summer job he took in 1962. The cancer was latent until 1997 at which time he was diagnosed and given just weeks to live.

  • Stephen Jay Gould
    Stephen Jay Gould

    One of the most popular scientific authors of recent times, evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould, authored more than 20 books on a variety of scientific subjects, and published hundreds of essays in Natural History magazine. Gould lived for twenty years after being diagnosed with mesothelioma in 1982. After his diagnosis, he wrote an essay, The Median Isn’t the Message, about his reaction to the news and to the realization that half of all mesothelioma patients died within eight months of diagnosis. His essay has been cited as a source of comfort and hope by many cancer victims.

Asbestos Exposure and Cancer

Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos exposure is the primary cause of mesothelioma cancer. Inhaled or ingested asbestos fibers may cause an inflammation of internal tissue and disrupt organ function which leads to the development of mesothelioma. Asbestos products were used extensively in the 20th century throughout the United States, in a wide variety of applications. Asbestos companies continued to produce these products even after they were known to be hazardous to workers. These products were responsible for asbestos exposure sustained by the individuals who manufactured them as well as those who used them. Renovation and construction both at home and in schools also poses high risk areas for exposure. People also may have been exposed to asbestos-contaminated talc in baby powder

Many workers were put at risk at commercial and industrial locations including refineries, power plants, steel mills, auto production facilities and large construction sites. Some of the occupations of workers at risk include electricians, plumbers, boilermakers, carpenters, mechanics, machinists and more. Additionally, if you lived with someone who was regularly exposed to asbestos and washed their clothes, you could be at risk for second hand asbestos exposure.

Veterans and Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma Veterans

Although rare, mesothelioma affects veterans from all branches of service: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard. As mesothelioma has a long latency period and can remain dormant for several decades, veterans who served our country from 1930 through 1980 are just now being diagnosed with the disease.

Navy veterans who worked in navy shipyards and or served on our nation's aircraft carriers, battleships, destroyers, submarines and warship from WWII through the Vietnam War were exposed to high concentrations of deadly asbestos and are at a high risk for developing asbestos related cancer. Boiler rooms, engine rooms, sleeping quarters, and other areas of naval vessels were the most common areas where asbestos was present. Some prominent shipyards where asbestos was prevalent include Brooklyn Navy Yard, Norfolk Navy Shipyard, Long Beach Naval Shipyard and Hunters Point Naval Shipyard. Financial assistance and help with VA Benefits is available to veterans diagnosed with mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma Legal Help

Mesothelioma Lawyer

Asbestos manufacturers and distributors made a concerted effort to hide the dangers of asbestos from the public, while at the same time profiting heavily from the sale and manufacture of harmful asbestos products. Those suffering from Mesothelioma can seek compensation from the manufacturers of asbestos and asbestos-containing products by hiring a competent mesothelioma lawyer.

When deciding whether or not you should pursue your legal rights, you should think about the following three things. First, asbestos manufacturers had knowledge of the dangers of asbestos and knowingly put hardworking men and women at risk. Second, treatment for mesothelioma can be very expensive. Third, by exercising your legal rights, you can protect your loved ones in the future.

Once you make the decision to pursue your rights, a competent asbestos attorney will maximize recovery from both viable and bankrupt asbestos defendants. Over 65 asbestos trusts have been established holding billions of dollars combined across them. These asbestos trust funds have been set aside to help compensate those workers who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer or other asbestos related diseases. The legal process to compensate mesothelioma victims is not overly burdensome and should be strongly considered to help offset treatment costs and to provide financial security for loved ones.

Upcoming Events

9/1/2017
Fleet Feet Sports Maine Running, Portland, ME

Kick Out Mesothelioma 5-Miler & 2.5 Mile Walk

“In memory of John W. Griffin (1941-2003), a pipefitter, Navy veteran, & City Councilor who passed away in 2003 after a 1 month diagnosis of cancer, including mesothelioma. All proceeds will benefit the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation. Please visit the event's page below for more information.”


September 03, 2017
Sands Expo and Convention Center, Singapore

XXI World Congress on Safety and Health at Work

“Each year the XXI World Congress is held in a different city. This year it's held in Singapore. It offers a platform for the exchange of information and views to experts in occupational safety and health, representatives of enterprises and workers (the social partners), decision-makers in governments and public authorities, and anyone else active in the area of occupational safety and health. Please visit the event's page below for more information.”

Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance Blog

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Mesothelioma News

August 15, 2017
Watertown, NY

Hazardous Substances Spilled During Asbestos Search at Former Paper Mill

“Hazardous materials were leaked at a former paper mill near Fort Drum in Upstate NY while searching for asbestos. Read more at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance.”


August 10, 2017
Ambler, Pennsylvania

Next Steps for Ambler Asbestos Superfund Site

“The EPA is finishing its cleanup efforts at the Ambler Asbestos Superfund Site in Pennsylvania and plans to outline steps for what comes next. Read more at Mesothelioma.com.”

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