What you need to know

It is recommended that you:

  • See a specialist who is a member of a multidisciplinary team. You can ask your GP to refer you.
  • All specialists listed on Canrefer are members of a multidisciplinary team.

What is mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a cancer that occurs in the lining (pleura) of the lungs or chest and less often in the lining (peritoneum) of the abdomen or tummy. Mesothelioma starts when the cells in the lining of the lung or abdomen become abnormal. These cells divide and grow to form a cancer.

People who have been exposed to asbestos are at risk for developing mesothelioma.

Graphic of a human body highlighting the lungs

Who do I see for diagnosis and treatment?

If your GP suspects you have mesothelioma, they will refer you to a lung specialist (respiratory physician).

The lung specialist should:

  • Have experience in treating mesothelioma
  • Be an active member of a multidisciplinary team.

All the specialists listed on Canrefer are members of a multidisciplinary team.

Why are multidisciplinary teams important?

A multidisciplinary team is a team of doctors, nurses and other health professionals. Team members meet regularly to discuss their patients. They plan treatment for new cancer patients and review treatment for existing patients.

Multidisciplinary teams are important. Team members work together to decide the best treatments for patients.

You can ask your GP to refer you to a specialist who is part of a multidisciplinary team. Talk to your GP about this.

All specialists on Canrefer are members of a multidisciplinary team.

What tests do I need?

You may have some of the tests listed below to diagnose mesothelioma. The most common tests are:

  • Physical examination
  • Blood test
  • Imaging - X-Ray, CT scan or PET scan
  • Endoscopic ultrasound
  • Bronchoscopy
  • Biopsy
  • Pleural or peritoneal aspiration

What treatment will I have?

Treatments for mesothelioma may include one or all types of these cancer treatments:

  • surgery
  • chemotherapy
  • radiotherapy

Where will I have treatment?

If treatment for your mesothelioma is specialised and complex, you may need to travel to have a part of your treatment. Your Local Health District will have an arrangement in place for this.

You may be able to have parts of your treatment closer to home. Please discuss this with your treating specialist.

Travel assistance for rural patients

If you live in a rural area and need help to travel for your treatment visit NSW Government IPTAAS for more information.

How common is mesothelioma in NSW?

Mesothelioma was diagnosed in:

  • 231
    People in NSW in 2012
  • 224
    People in NSW in 2011
  • 227
    People in NSW in 2010

Data Source: Annual NSW cancer incidence and mortality dataset, 2012 (sourced from the NSW Cancer Registry)

Cancer information and support

Speak to a specialist health professional about anything to do with cancer.

Phone 13 11 20.

Cancer Council NSW
Questions for your specialist

Find out some key questions to ask your specialist at your first appointment.

Questions you can ask
Booklet about pleural mesothelioma

Understanding Pleural Mesothelioma is a booklet for people with cancer, their families and friends. 

Cancer Council NSW
Peritoneal mesothelioma fact sheet

Understanding Peritoneal Mesothelioma is a fact sheet for people affected by cancer, their families and friends. 

Cancer Council NSW