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Mesothelioma is often associated with asbestos. Working with asbestos is the major risk factor for mesothelioma. A history of asbestos exposure at work is reported in about 70 percent to 80 percent of all cases. However, mesothelioma has been reported in some individuals without any known exposure to asbestos. While smoking does not appear to increase risk of mesothelioma, the combination of smoking and asbestos exposure is a major risk factor for developing lung cancer.