Mesothelioma is an aggressive and devastating illness. The cancer surrounds vital organs and, by the time it is detected, it has often spread so far that it can no longer be addressed with surgical intervention.
Mesothelioma is difficult to diagnose. It has many symptoms - like shortness of breath, tiredness or chest pain - that are common to less serious diseases. Since the disease is relatively rare (it is only caused by exposure to asbestos fibers) doctors don't often identify it as a possibility until other options have been ruled out. By then, the cancer has spread even further.