Stanford Hospital Mesothelioma: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, and Legal Options

The Silent Killer that Affects Thousands Every Year

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on Stanford Hospital Mesothelioma. Before diving into the details, we want to address the severity of this issue. Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive form of cancer that often goes unnoticed until it’s too late. Being diagnosed with it is a life-changing event that can impact not just the patient but also their family and loved ones.

At Stanford Hospital, our team of experts works tirelessly to provide the best possible care and support for patients with mesothelioma. Through this guide, we hope to spread awareness about this silent killer and provide valuable information to those affected by it.

What is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects the lining of organs, known as the mesothelium. It is commonly associated with exposure to asbestos, which is a naturally occurring mineral used in various industries due to its heat-resistant properties. When asbestos fibers are inhaled or ingested, they can accumulate in the mesothelium, causing scarring, inflammation, and eventually cancer.

What are the Causes of Mesothelioma?

As mentioned earlier, exposure to asbestos is the primary cause of mesothelioma. It can occur in various settings, including:

Occupational Exposure Non-Occupational Exposure
Construction workers Family members of workers exposed to asbestos
Shipyard workers Residents living near asbestos mines or factories
Mechanics DIY home renovators

What are the Symptoms of Mesothelioma?

The symptoms of mesothelioma can vary depending on the location of the cancer. The most common type is pleural mesothelioma, which affects the lining of the lungs. The symptoms of pleural mesothelioma include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Persistent coughing
  • Fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss

Other types of mesothelioma, such as peritoneal (abdominal) and pericardial (heart), have their own set of symptoms.

How is Mesothelioma Diagnosed?

Medical History and Physical Exam

Doctors typically start by reviewing the patient’s medical history and conducting a physical exam. They will ask about any symptoms and potential exposure to asbestos.

Imaging Tests

If mesothelioma is suspected, doctors will use imaging tests such as X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs to get a closer look at the affected area.


The definitive diagnosis of mesothelioma requires a biopsy, which involves removing a small piece of tissue for examination under a microscope. There are several types of biopsies, including:

  • Needle biopsy
  • Thoracoscopy (for pleural mesothelioma)
  • Paracentesis (for peritoneal mesothelioma)
  • Pericardiocentesis (for pericardial mesothelioma)

What are the Treatment Options for Mesothelioma?

The treatment for mesothelioma depends on the stage of the cancer and the overall health of the patient. The most common treatments include:


Surgical options for mesothelioma include:

  • Extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP)
  • Pleurectomy/decortication (P/D)
  • Peritonectomy (for peritoneal mesothelioma)


Chemotherapy is a common treatment for mesothelioma that involves the use of drugs to kill cancer cells.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells. It can be used alone or in combination with other treatments.

Legal Options for Mesothelioma Patients

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure, you may be entitled to compensation. Many companies that used asbestos were aware of its dangers but failed to protect their workers or inform them of the risks. As a result, mesothelioma patients and their families have pursued legal action to hold these companies accountable.


What is the Prognosis for Mesothelioma?

Unfortunately, mesothelioma has a poor prognosis. The survival rate is low, and most patients live for less than a year after the diagnosis.

Can Mesothelioma be Cured?

While there is no cure for mesothelioma, early detection and treatment can significantly improve the chances of survival.

What Should I Do if I’ve Been Exposed to Asbestos?

If you’ve been exposed to asbestos, it’s essential to speak to your doctor and get regular check-ups to monitor any potential health issues. It’s also important to take steps to minimize your exposure to asbestos in the future.

Can Mesothelioma be Prevented?

The most effective way to prevent mesothelioma is to avoid exposure to asbestos. If you work in an industry where asbestos is present, make sure to follow safety guidelines and wear appropriate protective gear.

Is Mesothelioma Always Caused by Asbestos?

While asbestos exposure is the primary cause of mesothelioma, other factors such as radiation, genetics, and SV40 virus may also play a role in rare cases.

How Long Does it Take for Mesothelioma to Develop?

Mesothelioma can take anywhere from 20 to 50 years to develop after the initial exposure to asbestos.

Is Mesothelioma Contagious?

No, mesothelioma is not contagious and cannot be passed from one person to another.

What is the Difference Between Mesothelioma and Lung Cancer?

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects the mesothelium, while lung cancer begins in the lung tissue. While both types of cancer may have similar symptoms, they are diagnosed and treated differently.

Does Smoking Increase the Risk of Mesothelioma?

While smoking does not directly cause mesothelioma, it can increase the risk of developing other types of lung cancer.

What is the Average Settlement for a Mesothelioma Lawsuit?

The amount of compensation in a mesothelioma lawsuit varies depending on various factors such as the extent of the cancer, the age and health of the patient, and the company responsible for the asbestos exposure. It’s best to consult with a mesothelioma lawyer for a better understanding of the potential compensation.

What is the Statute of Limitations for Mesothelioma Lawsuits?

The statute of limitations for mesothelioma lawsuits varies from state to state. It’s best to consult with a mesothelioma lawyer as soon as possible to understand your legal options.

Can I File a Mesothelioma Lawsuit if I am a Smoker?

Yes, being a smoker does not disqualify you from filing a mesothelioma lawsuit if you were exposed to asbestos.

How Can I Find the Best Mesothelioma Lawyer?

It’s crucial to find a mesothelioma lawyer with experience and a proven track record of success. You can start by researching online and reading reviews from past clients. It’s also important to schedule a consultation to discuss your case and ask any questions you may have about the legal process.

Final Thoughts

Stanford Hospital is committed to providing the highest quality of care and support for mesothelioma patients. We hope this comprehensive guide has shed light on this rare and deadly cancer and provided valuable information to those affected by it. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, please do not hesitate to reach out to our team for assistance.

Take Action Today

Whether it’s seeking medical care, pursuing legal action or simply educating others, there are many ways to take action against mesothelioma. We encourage you to take the first step and make a difference.

Closing Disclaimer

While we have made every effort to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information provided in this guide, it should not be considered medical or legal advice. Please consult with your doctor and lawyer for personalized advice on your specific situation. Additionally, mesothelioma cases can vary greatly, and no two cases are the same. The information provided in this guide should not be used as a substitute for professional medical or legal advice.