Pleural mesothelioma is a form of cancer which affects the lungs and the surrounding protective lining known as the pleura or pleural membrane. Pleural mesothelioma is the most common type of mesothelioma cancer, occurring in about two-thirds of all mesothelioma patients.
The cause of pleural mesothelioma has been extensively and almost exclusively attributed to the exposure to asbestos, a material or chemical that is used in various different kinds of industrial applications. If you need legal advice and assistance, contact mesothelioma lawyers.
Pleural Mesothelioma Symptoms
The symptoms associated with pleural mesothelioma will naturally revolve around pulmonary and respiratory conditions and concerns. However, the issue that results from the symptoms experienced by pleural mesothelioma patients is two –fold; firstly, the symptoms themselves will often times resemble or mimic those associated with less dire diseases or health problems, particularly the flu and pneumonia. Lastly, the symptoms for pleural mesothelioma will usually not manifest until many years after the initial exposure to asbestos.
Mesothelioma is a cancer that is considered to have latent effects, causing symptoms to develop later in its progression, typically when the disease has advanced to the later and most fatal stages. Among the various symptoms associated with pleural mesothelioma, some of the most common may be:
1. Persistent cough that is dry and produces little to no phlegm
2. The presence of blood while coughing
3. Shortness of breath, both during exercise and while resting
4. Persistent pain the chest area, at times also affecting the rib area
7. Unexplained or sudden weight loss
Pleural Mesothelioma Diagnosis
Mesothelioma in general is considered a difficult disease to diagnose. The reason for this is that most mesothelioma patients will not experience any symptoms until years after being exposed to asbestos.
Because the symptoms are latent and often time resemble those associated with other illnesses, diagnosis of pleural mesothelioma is not made until the cancer has progressed to the later stages. Symptoms of the disease will prove to be inconclusive in determining the presence of the cancer, and thus, will require for proper diagnostic tests.
The most commonly used methods are a CT scan or x-rays and a biopsy. The x-rays or CT scan can help detect the presence of tumors or malignant nodules forming in the pleural membrane, while the biopsy will help detect the presence or malignant cancer cells.
Pleural Mesothelioma Prognosis
As it will prove to be the case with most patients diagnosed with mesothelioma, the prognosis will usually not be favorable. As with all disease, the sooner that pleural mesothelioma is detected and diagnose, the better the prognosis will be.
Unfortunately, most pleural mesothelioma patients are diagnosed with the disease already progressing into the later stages. Furthermore, early detection also allows for more treatment options which can substantially not only increase the patient’s quality of life, but also life expectancy.
Patients that are diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma in the earlier stages will often times survive for over five years after diagnosis. However, this is only about five percent of the total number of patients diagnosed with the disease.
About 10% of patients will have a life expectancy between three and five years. Unfortunately, most patients diagnosed with this kind of cancer will usually have a life expectancy of up to one year from diagnosis.