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Types of Mesothelioma Asbestos FibersMalignant mesothelioma is a highly lethal cancer caused by even brief or minimal asbestos exposure. Many Americans spent years of their lives working and living in close proximity to asbestos without even realizing the danger that they were being exposed to. There is no cure for mesothelioma, which may appear decades after the asbestos exposure. Medical science has identified three varieties of mesothelioma, all of which are associated with asbestos exposure. These are: Pleural Mesothelioma Peritoneal Mesothelioma Pericardial Mesothelioma Typically, mesothelioma attacks the lungs or abdomen. It is thought to be caused by the inhalation or accidental swallowing of tiny asbestos particles in the air. The disease sometimes affects the heart as well, though the causes of this variety of mesothelioma are less clear.