Skip directly to searchSkip directly to the site navigationSkip directly to the page's main content


Mesothelioma is a relatively rare form of cancer that has been primarily associated with long term occupational exposure to asbestos. Mesothelioma develops from cancerous cells originating in the mesothelium, the protective lining that covers many of the internal organs of the body. The most common anatomic site for the development of mesothelioma is the pleura (the outer lining of the lungs and internal chest wall), but it can also arise in the peritoneum (the lining of the abdominal cavity), and the pericardium (the sac that surrounds the heart). The vast majority of cases occur in males with a work history of prolonged exposure to asbestos. Mesothelioma can be difficult to diagnose and most cases are not discovered until the cancer has spread into the body, making treatment difficult and survival relatively poor.
Mesothelioma is fairly rare in the United States and in New Mexico. About 15 new cases of acute mesothelioma were diagnosed in New Mexico year 2013.
Men are more exposed more often to asbestos, hence they are more likely to develop mesothelioma than women.
Factors that may increase the risk of acute mesothelioma include:
  • Asbestos exposure:The primary cause of mesothelioma is inhaling or swallowing asbestos fibers.
  • SmokingSmoking by itself do not increase the risk of mesothelioma, but the combination of smoking and asbestos exposure highly increases the risk of certain types of cancer in the lungs.
  • Zeolite exposure
  • Exposure to radiation
  • Genetics
Exposure to asbestos is the main risk factor for developing mesothelioma so you can avoid it by limiting your exposure to asbestos at home, in public buildings, and at work. People who work with high levels of asbestos should shower and change clothes before leaving work.
The NM EPHT website is supported by Cooperative Agreement Number, 6 NUE1EH001354 (previously, 5 U38EH000949), funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of CDC or do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services, nor does the mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government. The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: " Retrieved Tue, 25 January 2022 0:04:35 from New Mexico EPHT Tracking Public Web site: ".

Content updated: Thu, 4 Jun 2020 16:26:03 MDT