Pleural Mesothelioma is the most common type of mesothelioma which is characterized by the formation of cancerous tumors in pleura which is the protective lining of lung surrounding the chest cavity and diaphragm.
A protective sheath termed as the pleura covers the chest cavity and the lungs. When mesothelioma occurs in this sheath, then the condition is known to be pleural mesothelioma. Of all the different types of mesothelioma present in the current times, this mesothelioma is known to be the most widespread one. It is commonly found in workers who are dealing with asbestos and related minerals. Asbestos cancer mesothelioma — the pleural mesothelioma is known to be a division of this core niche. In this brief article, we will try to analyze this condition.
Pleural mesothelioma is commonly known to be confused with lung cancer. It is a cancer occurring on the protective layer of the lungs. The cause of pleural mesothelioma and lung cancer are different. Advanced stages of pleural mesothelioma might lead to growth of cancerous cells in the lungs. At those stages, the symptoms of pleural mesothelioma and lung cancer are known to be the same. Unilateral — this is the mode of infection of the cancer. In other words, only a side of the chest will be infected and this is the main symptom that the patient is suffering from pleural mesothelioma.
If you used to work with asbestos, even for a short duration during those yesteryear, it is better to get yourself checked for the condition. Nodules appear in the region and with the passage of time these nodules strengthen themselves. Gradually, the entire side of the chest will be affected and the infection will start spreading to the nearby organs. The situation is a delicate one and if proper medication procedures are not subjected to the patient, then he might finally succumb to the condition. People realize that they are suffering from pleural mesothelioma only during the latter stages. By then they would be far from the point of recovery.
The effusion of the pleura — this is the first symptom that is commonly noticed. This might be accompanied with intense pain while indulging in day-to-day activities. Pain will be felt even when the person is normally breathing. This is because the original function of the pleura is to help in the lubricating of the chest cavity and the enclosed lungs. Damage to the pleura is reflected as acute pains during breathing and heaving. As with all other forms of cancer symptoms, fatigue will be profound.
The effusion of the pleura will be displayed prominently during the scans. In certain cases, the doctors might recommend analyzing the fluid present in the pleura for malignant cells. VATS or video assisted thoracoscopy is the best means to diagnose the condition. The pleural mesothelioma is known to affect the chest cavity and the lungs in predefined stages. Trimodal therapy is the best treatment option that is present in the current times. With the help of this method surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy can be subjected to the patient. Survival chances are slim, but there is room for miracles in this niche.
Pleural Mesothelioma Causes
Like other types of mesothelioma, pleural mesothelioma is also connected to asbestos exposure. Once asbestos fibers enter the body through inhalation they lodged on pleura and start changing its nature after passing one or two decades. These changes occur in the form of irritation and inflammation which results in the formation and proliferation of cancerous cells. Such developments lead to pleural thickening which further aggravates the condition by building fluid in chest cavity. Fluid building in pleural cavity put pressure on lungs and makes it difficult to breathe easily. At this stage patient feels that something is going wrong in its chest region which is creating problem in normal breathing and causing persistent pain and cough for him.
Pleural Mesothelioma Symptoms
Various symptoms of pleural mesothelioma include:
* Persistent Cough
* Persistent Pain in Chest
* Lump Formation in Chest Area
* Hemoptysis (coughing up blood)
* Dyspnea (Shortness of breath)
* Dysphagia (Difficulty in swallowing)
* Weight Loss
* Fatigue and Fever
Pleural Mesothelioma Diagnosis
In order to diagnose pleural mesothelioma imaging techniques including X-rays, MRI and CT scan are applied along with taking patients’ medical history and current health state into account. All these measures helps in diagnosing the presence of cancerous cells inside the body and level of damage already occurred to pleural lining. If necessary then biopsy can also be recommended to take out the sample of fluid building around pleura through minor surgical process. This sample is then tested into laboratory in order to trace the presence of cancerous cells inside pleural cavity.
Pleural Mesothelioma Treatment
Like other types of mesothelioma it is also treated by applying one or combination of given treatment methods:
1- Radiotherapy (using radiations to destroy cancer cells)
2- Chemotherapy (injecting chemicals directly to affected part of pleura)
3- Surgery (cutting out the damaged portion completely)
The selection of treatment method depends upon the health condition of the patient and level of damage occurred to his body. Early diagnosis makes it easier to treat mesothelioma. So if anyone is feeling above mentioned symptoms then don’t take it easy and take an appointment with your physician to find out the actual cause of this internal body disturbance.
Is There a Cure For Pleural Mesothelioma?
Pleural mesothelioma is a rather rare form of cancer that is the result of extensive asbestos exposure. The pleura, the lubricating cells of the chest and lung walls, are affected. The onset of symptoms is gradual and may take up to ten years before changes indicating this cancer develop.
While pleural disease by itself is not fatal, the complications arising from it may be fatal. For example, pleural plaque formation may cause diminished lung function, resulting in death. Oftentimes, the only symptoms are thickening of the pleural lining and formation of plaques that lead physicians to investigate further and make a diagnosis.
Pleural Mesothelioma Prognosis
If you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma, the first thing that probably runs through your mind is, “Is there is a cure?” There is a cure – as long as the disease is caught in the earlier stages of development. Pleural mesothelioma spreads quickly and can even affect your heart, despite starting off in the pleura. It is said to be fatal within a year from when the condition is diagnosed. However, early detection is the key to recovery.
Can Mesothelioma Be Treated?
Depending on how early pleural mesothelioma is detected, life-sustaining treatments may serve to extend your life. While there is no indefinite cure, the disease can certainly be controlled through treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation treatment. Surgical resection may be possible in earlier stages of the disease before the tumor spreads to other body parts and can considerably slow down the advance of the disease. Surgeries such as pneumonectomy and extrapleural pneumonectomy that are often used in treating lung cancers and lung conditions also aid in slowing down mesothelioma.
Most physicians suggest the use of chemotherapy drugs to manage malignant pleural mesothelioma. However, the Food and Drug Administration has approved only one – a combination of Cisplatin and Alimta (Pemetrexed). All other combinations are currently in clinical trials, and have no solid basis for pleural mesothelioma treatment. Chemotherapy and surgery may often be combined with radiation therapy to slow the growth of the tumor cells and prolong life.
In recent times, alternative and complementary therapies have made their way into cancer treatment approaches. While these may not be standalone treatments, therapies such as reflexology, massage and acupuncture help in increasing the effectiveness of the overall treatment program and aid in pain and anxiety management.
What To Do If You Are Diagnosed With Mesothelioma
If you’ve been diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma, discuss your treatment options with your doctor. While there is no proven cure for this disease, there are certainly steps you can take to slow it down, depending on how early it is detected.
Since mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos, you can file a mesothelioma lawsuit if your exposure occurred in the course of your job or as a result of sub-standard housing. There are several mesothelioma lawyers who will be happy to help you draw up your case and get compensation that can provide for your treatment and for your loved ones, should the treatment not go as planned. Finally, make sure you have a good support group of family or friends who can be with you through the entire course of treatment and your lawsuit. Both are stressful, and you need all the support possible as you battle it out.
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