Malignant mesothelioma is a disease in which cancer cells are found in the pleura, the thin layer of tissue that lines the chest cavity and covers the lungs or the peritoneum, the thin layer of tissue that lines the abdomen and covers most of the organs in the abdomen.
Many people with malignant mesothelioma have worked or lived in places where they inhaled or swallowed asbestos. After being exposed to asbestos, it usually takes a long time for malignant mesothelioma to form. Other risk factors for malignant mesothelioma include:
- Living with a person who works near asbestos.
- Being exposed to a certain virus.