Mesothelioma is cancer of the mesothelium. The mesothelium is the membrane that protects and lubricates your internal organs. Asbestos fibers are very sharp and tiny. They work their way into the mesothelium, and your immune system can't get rid of them. There they shred the mesothelium and cause inflammation. Eventually this progresses into tumors and cancer.

There are several types of mesothelioma that can occur due to asbestos exposure. These are discussed in more detail below.

Pleural Mesothelioma

Pleural mesothelioma is the most common type of mesothelioma. It affects the mesothelium around your lungs called the pleura.

Many people confuse pleural mesothelioma with lung cancer. Because the symptoms of mesothelioma can take decades to appear, pleural mesothelioma is often initially misdiagnosed as:

  • Cold
  • Flu
  • Laryngitis
  • Pneumonia
  • Whooping cough
  • Broken or bruised ribs

Symptoms include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rasping
  • Persistent coughing
  • Coughing up blood
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Fever
  • Weight loss

Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Peritoneal mesothelioma affects the protective lining of your abdominal cavity and internal organs, called the peritoneum. It is caused by ingesting asbestos fibers. In rare cases it affects an outpouching of the peritoneum that covers the scrotum causing tunica vaginalis testis which affects the testicles.

In cases of peritoneal mesothelioma, fluid quickly accumulates in the abdominal area causing swelling and abdominal pain. It can also cause shortness of breath and coughing. Symptoms include:

  • Abdominal swelling
  • Stomach pain
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Weakness
  • Chest pain
  • Breathing problems
  • Fever
  • Anemia
  • Blood clotting abnormalities

Pericardial Mesothelioma

Pericardial mesothelioma affects the protective membrane around the heart. It is the least common of the three primary types of mesothelioma. By the time symptoms become noticeable the damage is usually irreparable. Symptoms include:

  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Persistent coughing
  • Heart palpitations
  • Irregular heart beat


All types of mesothelioma are fatal. There is no cure. Research has led to more effective treatments, and mesothelioma patients are living longer than ever when they receive the most advanced care. However, you must be in the early stages of the disease to be eligible for the most advanced treatments.

Mesothelioma is a very painful disease. Pain management is an essential part of treatment, and for some patients the only treatment. As the disease progresses the pain becomes more difficult to control and eventually no amount of medication can alleviate suffering.

If you believe that you've become ill because of asbestos exposure in the workplace, call (877) 724-7017 or email our lawyers today for your free consultation. Find out how our Mobile, Alabama, injury firm can help you get the compensation you need.