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What are the different types of mesothelioma?

Pleural mesothelioma
Pleural mesothelioma is a cancer of the cells that affects the skin or inner lining (known medically as the pleura), on the outside of the lungs and on the inside of the ribs. This is caused only by exposure to asbestos fibers found in products made mostly by U.S. corporations. The exposure could have occurred many, many years ago because it takes several years for the disease to show up. Pleural mesothelioma is the most common type of mesothelioma and chances are that if you have malignant mesothelioma, this is the type you have.

Peritoneal mesothelioma
Peritoneal mesothelioma is a cancer of the lining of the abdominal cavity and is less common than the pleural form of mesothelioma, comprising approximately one-fifth to one-third of the total number of mesothelioma cases diagnosed.  According to the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program (SEER) database, these diagnoses are approximately 54.7% male versus 45.3% female, with a median age of 65 to 69. The latency period appears to be shorter for asbestos-exposed individuals with symptoms appearing 20 to 30 years after exposure rather than the 30 to 40 year latency more commonly associated with pleural mesothelioma.

Pericardial mesothelioma
The rarest form of asbestos-related cancer, pericardial mesothelioma, attacks the lining that surrounds the heart, known as the pericardium. Although pericardial mesothelioma accounts for the lowest number of asbestos-related cancers diagnosed each year, between 5% and 15% of cases are associated with long-term exposure to asbestos. Much like the other varieties of mesothelioma, this type does not typically manifest itself for decades.

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