Glossary of Mesothelioma Terms

Asbestos—A fibrous mineral often used in past construction, engineering and scientific industries for various insulation purposes. Benign—A tumor or growth that does not exhibit cancerous cells, usually removed through surgical procedures. Biopsy—A collection of a tissue sample conducted in order to determine the presence of cancerous cells. Clinical Trial—A study to determine the effectiveness of a new drug or method of treatment. Clinical trials can also be conducted as a means of observing the progression of a disease or illness. Epidemiology—The study of health events and characteristics within a society. Epidemiology is one of the main methods of public health research, and aids in identifying risk factors for disease, as well as targets for preventative medicine. Histology—The microscopic examination of cellular anatomy and is an important aspect in the definitive diagnosis of a disease. Immunohistochemistry—More commonly referred to as IHC, helps doctors and scientists differentiate between histological subtypes of mesothelioma. IHC does this through the use of antigens, which help to trigger the production of antibodies by the immune system Latency Period—The latency period for mesothelioma is the length of time that passes from when the patient was first exposed to asbestos up until the onset of symptoms. Malignancy—the tendency of a medical condition, namely tumors, to become progressively worse, resulting from rapid and abnormal cell growth. Metastasize—The spread of cancerous cells to locations of the body or systems beyond the tumor’s point of origin. Mesothelioma—A rare form of cancer that develops from the protective lining that covers many of the body's internal organs known as the mesothelium. Multimodal Treatments—A combination of traditional cancer treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Multimodal methods can also involve the use of traditional methods with alternative and complementary treatments. Palliative—Treatments or drugs that assist patients with easing their symptoms, not intended to cure the cancer or disease itself. Pericardial Mesothelioma—A form of malignant mesothelioma that affects the lining of the heart or chest cavity. Peritoneal Mesothelioma—Malignant mesothelioma affecting the lining of the abdomen. Pleural Mesothelioma—The most common type of malignant mesothelioma which affects the lining of the lungs. Prognosis—Refers to the likely outcome of the patient’s particular case, including treatment options, life expectancy, and statistical survival rates. Stages—Cancer is diagnosed in stages which increase in numerical order in correlation to the progression of the malignancy beyond its point of origin. Survival Rate—An analysis of survival indicating the percentage of people alive for a given period of time following the diagnosis of an illness or disease. Survival rates are usually used to help determine a patient’s prognosis.