Mesothelioma is a rare cancer of the chest lining, most often caused by asbestos exposure. It accounts for about 5 percent of all lung cancer cases. Mesothelioma develops over a long period time, from 30 to 50 years between being exposed to asbestos to getting the cancer.
Most people who develop mesothelioma worked in places where they inhaled asbestos particles.
Once mesothelioma has been diagnosed, it is staged, which tells the patient and doctors how large the tumor is and where is has progressed beyond the initial site.
Lung cancer specialists at Johns Hopkins use surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, or all three to treat mesothelioma.
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