Frequently Asked Questions: Information for Families
What area of the body does mesothelioma affect? I thought it was a lung disease, but my aunt has it in her stomach.
Mesothelioma typically develops in the pleura, the thin, protective membrane surrounding the lungs, and is referred to as pleural mesothelioma. However, the disease can develop in other areas of the body, such as the pericardium (the protective lining surrounding the heart), the reproductive organs, and the abdomen. When mesothelioma develops in a person’s abdomen, it is called peritoneal mesothelioma (the peritoneum is the protective lining that surrounds an individual’s abdominal cavity).
The name of the disease stems from the mesothelium which is the membrane that both covers and protects the majority of your internal organs. So it is conceivable that it can travel through that membrane to other locations in the body such as the stomach and is probably why your aunt developed the disease in that area. At some point during your aunt’s life she was most likely exposed to asbestos, still considered to be the primary reason that a person develops the disease.