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What is mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma starts in cells of the mesothelium. A cancerous (malignant) tumour is a group of cancer cells that can grow into and destroy nearby tissue. It can also spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body.
The mesothelium is a membrane that covers and protects most of your internal organs. It is made up of 2 layers. The inner layer wraps around different organs, including the lungs, heart and stomach. The outer layer forms a sac around the inner layer. There is a small amount of fluid between the 2 layers so that the organs can move easily.
The mesothelium has different names, depending on where it is in the body. The mesothelium that protects and cushions the lungs is called the pleura. The inner layer that covers the lungs is called the visceral pleura. The outer layer that lines the inside wall of the chest is called the parietal pleura.