If you have recently been affected by a pleural mesothelioma diagnosis, it is possible that you may not know much about this rare disease and need basic questions answered, such as “What is mesothelioma?”
Pleural mesothelioma affects the mesothelium, a membrane that covers many of the body's internal organs. Pleural mesothelioma is the most common form of the disease, accounting for 75 percent of all mesothelioma cases.
Comparatively, peritoneal mesothelioma affects the abdomen, and pericardial mesothelioma affects the mesothelium sac surrounding the heart. These two types of mesothelioma combine to make up the majority of the remaining 25 percent of diagnoses.
Pleural mesothelioma is almost exclusively caused by asbestos exposure when fibers are inhaled and become lodged in body tissue. Over the years, the fibers aggravate the area and eventually lead to the development of pleural mesothelioma.
While the overall rate of mesothelioma cases in the United States increased from the 1970s through the early 1990s, it has since reversed course and slowly decreased.(American Cancer Society)
Pleural Mesothelioma Symptoms
Early symptoms of pleural mesothelioma can resemble those of cold or other common ailments. Some symptoms of malignant mesothelioma include lower back pain, discomfort in the side of the chest, coughing, sweating, fever, exhaustion and weakness, weight loss, difficulty swallowing, swelling of the face and arms, and hoarseness, according to the National Cancer Institute.
Pleural mesothelioma symptoms are often ignored initially, so they can persist for months before anything more serious is suspected and medical care pursued. The early diagnosis of mesothelioma may help doctors treat pleural mesothelioma more effectively and possibly increase life expectancy of a pleural mesothelioma patient.
Pleural Mesothelioma Diagnosis
Once diagnosed, the most common and established forms of treatment for pleural mesothelioma are surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation. Once the location, tumor size, and stage of the cancer are determined, a doctor will suggest the best pleural mesothelioma treatment options available for the patient.
Typically, a doctor will suggest palliative treatments to help the pleural mesothelioma patient feel as comfortable as possible. Some common palliative treatments for pleural mesothelioma include:
- Thoracentesis: Draining fluid from the chest to reduce shortness of breath
- Pleurodesis: Injecting drugs into the chest that create scar tissue to prevent fluid from entering
Legal Help for Pleural Mesothelioma Cases
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma and think the illness can be linked to asbestos exposure caused by a product or former employer, contact a mesothelioma lawyer today to learn more about pursuing a mesothelioma lawsuit.