Mesothelioma

What is mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer found in the lining of the lungs, chest or abdomen.

What causes mesothelioma?
The major risk factor for developing mesothelioma is previous exposure to asbestos, tiny fibers that have been used in insulation and heating homes. Their use is limited these days, and there are now strict safety guidelines if working with or around asbestos. However, the negative effects of asbestos were not known in previous decades when their use was much more prevalent, so older people exposed to asbestos in their younger years may be at risk. It can take decades for asbestos-related cancers to develop, so even if you were ever exposed to asbestos more than 20 years ago, you can still be at risk.

Unlike lung cancer, smoking tobacco does not cause mesothelioma however studies have shown that smoking can increase the risk of developing asbestos-related cancers.

What are the symptoms of mesothelioma?
• Fluid collecting in lung or abdomen
• Trouble breathing
• Pain in chest area
• Pain or swelling in the abdomen
• Lump in the abdomen

How is mesothelioma diagnosed?
At KHCC, a variety of diagnostic techniques are used to accurately detect and stage mesothelioma including:
• CT/PET scans to identify any abnormal functioning of organs or tissues
• Endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) to get images of the lungs and the surrounding areas to see if there are any tumors. The EBUS technique can also be used to obtain a biopsy of the lung tissue
• Pulmonary function tests (PFT) to monitor your breathing and evaluate how well your lungs are functioning
• Sputum cytology to examine mucus under a microscope to detect any abnormalities
• Bronchoscopy to look inside the lung’s airways
• Transthoracic needle biopsy to remove a piece of lung tissue in order to examine under a microscope for any abnormal cells
• Blood tests, including complete blood count (CBC) test

How is mesothelioma treated at KHCC?
At KHCC, a team of highly specialized oncologists, surgeons and pulmonary specialists take care of mesothelioma patients. Depending on the size of the tumor and stage of diagnosis, treatment options may vary. Treatment options include surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

Physicians
At KHCC, mesothelioma patients receive top quality care through a multidisciplinary team of specialists that is entirely devoted to diagnosing and treating mesothelioma and other cancers that affect the lungs and chest.

Supportive Care
The lung cancer multidisciplinary clinic works in close cooperation with other departments at KHCC so that mesothelioma cancer patients receive the most comprehensive care possible. Supportive care services at KHCC include: