Mesothelioma is a cancer caused by asbestos and is not related to smoking. When inhaled asbestos fibres can penetrate the lung causing cancer in the lining of the lung (pleura), or penetrate the bowel or stomach causing cancer in the lining of the abdomen (peritoneum).
It is thought that the incidence of mesothelioma in Australia will not peak until sometime between 2015 and 2020 and beyond. Asbestos is the only known cause of mesothelioma in Australia.
Mesothelioma is an incurable malignancy which affects the parietal layer (lining) of the pleura. It may also affect the abdominal cavity (the peritoneum). The majority of cases affect the pleura. As the disease progresses the pleura or the peritoneum thickens from the calibre of a cigarette paper to form a hard tumour mass often between 0.5 and 1.0 em thick. This tissue compresses the lung and the lung and gastrointestinal tract. This may cause intestinal obstruction.
Source:- Asbestosis & Mesothelioma Association of Australia (AMAA) on 1800 017 758