What is mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a cancer that most commonly starts in the layers of tissue that cover each lung (the pleura). Read more about how common it is, what it is and who gets it.

Symptoms of mesothelioma

There aren't many symptoms in the early stages of mesothelioma. Symptoms of pleural mesothelioma can include chest pain, shortness of breath and extreme tiredness.

Getting diagnosed with mesothelioma

You usually start by seeing your GP who might refer you to a specialist. Or you might go to Accident and Emergency (A&E) if you suddenly have severe symptoms.

Survival for mesothelioma

Survival depends on many factors including the stage and type of your mesothelioma. The statistics for mesothelioma survival can only be used as a general guide.

Treatment for mesothelioma

Unfortunately, mesothelioma can be difficult to treat as it is often found when it is advanced. The treatment you have depends on the stage and type of your mesothelioma.

Stages of mesothelioma

The staging system most commonly used in the UK for pleural mesothelioma is called the International Mesothelioma Interest Group (IMIG) system. 

Types and grades of mesothelioma

There are 3 main types of mesothelioma. The grade gives your doctor an idea of how the cancer might behave. Knowing this helps your doctor to decide which treatment you need.

Research and clinical trials for mesothelioma

Researchers around the world are looking into the diagnosis and treatment of mesothelioma. You can read about the research and how to find a clinical trial.

Living with mesothelioma

Practical and emotional support are available to help you cope with a diagnosis of mesothelioma, both during and after treatment.

Risks and causes of mesothelioma

Asbestos causes most cases of pleural mesothelioma. Learn more about the causes of mesothelioma and who is more likely to get it.

Last reviewed: 
17 May 2023
Next review due: 
17 Apr 2026