The most common kind of mesothelioma is pleural mesothelioma. It is a rare malignancy that builds up in the mesothelial cells that compose the mesothelium, which is a membrane that connects a number of internal organs. In patients diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma, the growth of the tumor happens in the lining of the lungs, known as pleura or pleural membrane.
The pleura consists of two layers which support and safeguard the lungs and chest cavity that include the outer layer (parietal layer) that connects the whole chest cavity and the diaphragm, and the inner layer (visceral layer), which spans over the lungs. The disease normally develops in one of the aforementioned layers, but can spread to the other layer. Akin to other mesothelioma malignancy, pleural mesothelioma is caused by asbestos exposure.
Pleural Mesothelioma Symptoms
When asbestos fibers get trapped inside the body and trigger the initiation of the cancer process, we typically see in a first phase a thickening of the pleural membrane layers (pleural thickening) that is specifically caused by the accumulation of fluids. Eventually, the amount of fluid that build over up over the cource of time will impair the respiratory system which results in complications to breathe normally.
Listed below are some of the symptoms of pleural mesothelioma :
- Constant dry cough
- Coughing up blood
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Shortness of breath that occurs even while at rest
- Continuous pain in the rib area or chest, or excruciating pain while breathing
- Swelling under the skin on the chest
- Night sweats or fever
- Inexplicable weight loss
Pleural mesothelioma is not easy to detect since symptoms do not typically occur timely after the initial asbestos exposure. A diagnosis is done on the basis of a biopsy, which is eventually necessary to verify the presence of a mass. Following a medical record evaluation and physical exams, patients have to usually go through a number of medical procedures like imaging tests that includes CT scans or x-rays to verify the location of the tumor. A patient is also likely to undergo tissue and fluid tests, also known as biopsies, to determine the type and grade of the cancer.
Continuous progress in the development of new drugs and discovery methods give hope for patients that were diagnosed with this health condition. In view of the fact that this type of cancer is the most commonly diagnosed kind of mesothelioma, the available treatment options for pleural mesothelioma are more advanced and optimized than those available for other types of this illness.
The three typically used pleural mesothelioma treatments are the following :
Surgery - to remove the primary mesothelioma tumor and in close proximity tissues that surround cancer cells then attempt to control or halt tumor growth. Typically done in combination with radiation or chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy - a conventional pleural mesothelioma treatment that makes use of anticancer chemicals to try to destroy cancerous cells.
Radiation therapy - otherwise known as "radiotherapy" which entails the restricted utilization of high-dose radiation to the pleural mesothelioma cancer tumors. This process works by targeting the mesothelioma cancer cells in the treated area.