Cancer- causing toxins and pollutants surround us, and play a huge role in cancer formation. We now know that asbestos exposure causes mesothelioma, a cancer that attacks the lining of the lungs, the abdomen, sometimes the tissue surrounding the heart, and rarely, the testes.

People who have worked around asbestos may develop mesothelioma years after exposure. It’s a slow growing, sneaky disease that easily can be misdiagnosed until well advanced. At that point, physicians treat to prolong life and manage symptoms.

I bring this disease to your attention because I received an email from an Outreach Coordinator for She requested I share this website to help get the word out about mesothelioma. I am glad she contacted me, because the more we know about cancer, its causes, treatments, and available resources, the longer and better our quality of life.

I visited the site and recommend it as an excellent resource. Here are some important highlights.


If you have been exposed to asbestos, do not ignore these symptoms. You want to be correctly diagnosed and successfully treated ASAP.

  • Pleural Mesothelioma – involves the lining of the lung cavity (pleura). Many symptoms are due to increased build-up of fluid in the area.

Shortness of breath            Chest pains            Wheezing            Coughing            Stomach discomfort

  • Peritoneal mesothelioma – involves the lining of the walls of the abdominal cavity (peritoneum).

Build-up of fluid in that space (sometimes called ascites – “dropsy” is the really old term for that) can cause:

Decreased appetite            Weight loss            Fatigue            Indigestion

  • Pericardial mesothelioma – involves tissue around (“peri”) the heart.

Trouble breathing            Shortness of breath            Chest pain            Fatigue and fever            Heart murmurs

As a nurse/patient, I can tell you at times you must be very clear with your physician.

“I need you to rule out mesothelioma because I’m having these symptoms and have worked with asbestos.”

If your physician does not respond to your reasonable, educated, request, use the locator search engine on this website to find a physician or treatment center near you that specializes in mesothelioma.

This website addresses many other aspects of living with mesothelioma. They include: trusts and other compensation mechanisms established by companies, veterans’ benefits, information about clinical trials, and more.

Especially for Caregivers

Caregiving is an enormous challenge and blessing, which is why I devote a separate blog stream just for caregivers. I was pleased to see this site has a section devoted to Caregiving: Since caregivers are essential, but often in need of information and support, the site offers free booklets and an invitation to chat live with a “real person” 24/7.

You Have More Power Than You Know

You are not powerless when dealing with cancer. Our life-style choices will direct how successively we prevent or live with disease. Now more than ever, information supplies us with weaponry, and websites such as this are our armory.

In upcoming blogs, I will write more about preventing, curing, and managing cancer that delves deeper into the impact of our environment (both external and internal), nutrition, and managing stress. For now, I believe it is good to know about mesothelioma that is, unfortunately, more common than we would like.