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What is mesothelioma?

This information explains what mesothelioma is and who might be at risk.

Your chest contains two thin layers of cells that line the outside of the lung and the inside of the chest, called the pleura, or pleural membrane.

Each layer is about as thin as the skin of a balloon, The outer layer lines the inside of the rib cage and the inner layer covers the lungs. The space between the two layers is called the pleural space and it normally contains a small amount of fluid. This fluid lubricates the two surfaces and lets your lungs and chest wall move and expand as you breathe in and out.

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that begins to grow in this pleural membrane. Less commonly, mesothelioma can affect a similar lining around the abdomen or heart. This information focuses on mesothelioma of the chest often called malignant pleural Mesothelioma .

Usually Mesothelioma affects only one side of the chest. As the Mesothelioma cancer cells grow and multiply they form clumps that are known as tumors. Sometimes there be a single large tumor. More commonly , there are lots of small tumors scattered throughout your pleural membrane which cause it to become thicker.

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