The mesothelium is a protective lining that covers most internal organs in the body. Thanks to this lining, organs can move against each other as needed. Mesothelioma is a cancer of any part of the mesothelium. While it most often starts in the lungs, mesothelioma can also affect other areas, including the chest, abdomen, heart and testicles.

Mesothelioma at UK Markey Cancer Center

Markey's mesothelioma team provides expert consultation and ongoing care for patients with malignant mesothelioma.

Using advanced technology and leading-edge medical and surgical interventions, the mesothelioma team provides advanced and timely diagnosis and individualized, ongoing care for patients. Each patient is cared for by a team of specialists who meet regularly to discuss individual patient cases and treatment plans. This multidisciplinary team will work with you and your doctor to coordinate a care plan designed to offer the best outcomes.

Markey has provided advanced cancer care for more than 30 years, and we are proud to be the only cancer center in Kentucky designated by the National Cancer Institute. Since 2017, Markey Cancer Center has been nationally recognized as a top 50 cancer center by U.S. News & World Report.

Mesothelioma can cause a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Abdominal lumps, pain, or swelling
  • Abnormal heart rhythm
  • Anemia (low blood count)
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Chest pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Low blood pressure
  • Night sweats
  • Pain focused under the rib cage
  • Swallowing difficulties
  • Unexplainable weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness

The most common mesothelioma, found in the chest, is known as pleural mesothelioma. According to the American Cancer Society, mesothelioma contained in the pleura has a five-year relative survival rate of 18 percent. When mesothelioma spreads to distant areas, five-year survival is 7 percent.

You can lower your general risk of cancer by taking steps to build a healthy lifestyle. Here are some ways you can lower your risk, as well as improve your overall basic health:

  • Avoid using tobacco products. Tobacco has been tied to multiple cancers, and it is responsible for 90 percent of lung cancer deaths.
  • Stay physically active. Your physical activity is related to risk for colon and breast cancer. Excess weight gained from inactivity increases the risk of multiple cancers.
  • Limit alcohol consumption. It is important to be mindful of how much alcohol you drink. Alcohol intake, even in moderate amounts, can increase the risk for colon, breast, esophageal and oropharyngeal cancer.
  • Learn about screenings. Your primary care doctor can recommend appropriate cancer screenings based on your age, personal risk and family history.

When it comes to mesothelioma, the most important preventive step is avoiding asbestos.

Asbestos exposure causes most mesothelioma cases. When you breathe in asbestos, the fibers move into the lungs and potentially enter the lining of the lungs or chest. This results in mesothelioma.

Though asbestos is the main risk factor for mesothelioma, there are other risk factors. These include:

  • Being male or age 65 or older
  • Exposure to high doses of radiation during treatment for other types of cancer
  • Mutation of the BAP1 gene

Some studies have also raised the possibility that infection with simian virus 40, also known as SV40, could be linked to mesothelioma, but most experts have agreed that this research is not yet conclusive.

  • For your first visit, you will be directed to the multidisciplinary clinic on the first floor of the Whitney-Hendrickson Building.
  • You can register at the front desk or registration area, where a Markey team member will help guide you through your appointment.
  • Several parking options are available to patients of Markey Cancer Center.
  • Please remember to bring your patient packet with the completed forms. These items will help your doctor learn more about your case and determine the best plan for your care.
  • To meet our patient needs, UK HealthCare accepts many forms of insurance.

Clinical trials are research studies aimed at evaluating medical, surgical or behavioral interventions to determine if a new treatment is safe and effective. At Markey, we are advancing cancer care and research to prevent, detect and treat one patient at a time. As a patient at Markey, you have a team of people looking at your individual case, applying the most recent cancer knowledge to give you the best chance of survival.

Markey has more open clinical trials than any other cancer center in the region, giving you access to some of the most advanced options available. Learn more about ongoing clinical trials for treating mesothelioma below.

Search Our Ongoing Clinical Trials

NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center - A Cancer Center Designated by the National Cancer Institute

Markey Cancer Center is designated by the National Cancer Institute as a Comprehensive Cancer Center – a distinction that recognizes our commitment to accelerating precision cancer research and care to patients. We are the first and only NCI-Comprehensive Cancer Center in Kentucky, and one of 57 in the nation.