This is a malignant tumour that is mainly found in the pleura (lining of the lung) but it can also be found in the lining of the abdominal cavity or the lining around the heart. Mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer and it is invariably fatal.
Mesothelioma is nearly always caused by asbestos exposure; there are only a handful of reported cases where there has been no known exposure. Unlike other forms of asbestos related conditions the level of asbestos exposure necessary for contracting the tumour is very low.
The time between exposure to the asbestos and onset of the condition can be anywhere between 10 and 50 years although many cases materialise 20 or more years after the exposure.