Pleural
Mesothelioma

If you have been diagnosed with Mesothelioma or Lung Cancer you could be entitled to significant compensation from both the Asbestos Trust Funds and asbestos product manufactures.

Contact us now for a FREE consultation.

Free Case Review

Pleural
Mesothelioma

If you have been diagnosed with Mesothelioma or Lung Cancer you could be entitled to significant compensation from both the Asbestos Trust Funds and asbestos product manufactures.

Contact us now for a FREE consultation.

Free Case Review

Pleural Mesothelioma:
Symptoms, Prognosis & Treatment

Pleural Mesothelioma Information

An aggressive and rare cancer, pleural mesothelioma affects the lining of the lungs. The lung’s lining is known as the pleura, where the name comes from. The pleura is meant to protect the lungs and the chest walls, and as is true with other types of mesotheliomas, asbestos exposure is the only known risk factor to develop this type.

The most common type of this cancer, pleural mesothelioma makes up 70-79% of cases. There are around 3,000 patients diagnosed with mesothelioma each year in the U.S.
There are four types of mesotheliomas based on where they affect the body and the tumor location. Along with pleural, other types are:

The cancer is further categorized during diagnosis based on the type of cell making up the tumor. It can be epithelioid, sarcomatoid, or biphasic. Biphasic is a combination of both cell types.

Pleural Mesothelioma Symptoms

Malignant pleural mesothelioma may not cause any symptoms until it’s progressed. The most common symptoms can include problems breathing, back pain, nerve pain, and swelling.

Other symptoms that may occur, especially in the later stage of this cancer, include:

Since symptoms may not be apparent until late-stage pleural mesothelioma, if someone knows they have a history of asbestos exposure, they should let their healthcare provider know. They can monitor them and look for red flags that occur earlier, sometimes well before mesothelioma.

One example is pleural plaques. They usually occur 20 to 30 years after you’re exposed to asbestos, and they’re often benign, requiring no treatment. Pleural plaques are thickened pleura tissue, and while you can live for many years without them causing problems, they can be a sign of asbestos exposure that your healthcare provider can monitor.

Since symptoms may not be apparent until late-stage pleural mesothelioma, if someone knows they have a history of asbestos exposure, they should let their healthcare provider know. They can monitor them and look for red flags that occur earlier, sometimes well before mesothelioma.

One example is pleural plaques. They usually occur 20 to 30 years after you’re exposed to asbestos, and they’re often benign, requiring no treatment. Pleural plaques are thickened pleura tissue, and while you can live for many years without them causing problems, they can be a sign of asbestos exposure that your healthcare provider can monitor.

A pleural effusion is something else that can occur following asbestos exposure or with pleural mesothelioma. A pleural effusion is excess chest fluid that builds up between the layers of the pleura. There’s always a little fluid between these layers, but too much creates pressure on the lungs, which can cause chest pain.

The pain may be worse with deep breaths or coughing.Pleural thickening around the lungs is a sign of asbestos exposure. It occurs as scarring makes portions of the pleura stiff and thick.

Why Does Pleural Mesothelioma Occur?

Malignant pleural mesothelioma occurs because of asbestos exposure. Asbestos is a cheap, durable, heat-resistant mineral, so it was used for various purposes until 1980 when it was banned. Even though it was banned, people had already been working around it for extended periods, and buildings may still have asbestos.

The asbestos fibers could break off, pointing and sharp like tiny needles. When exposed to the fibers, people nearby could breathe them in, where they’d get stuck in the lungs. The fibers can move to the pleural lining, creating ongoing irritation. That irritation then creates scar tissue, inflammation, and mutations to DNA, leading to cancer.

Most people were exposed to asbestos because of their jobs, which is known as occupational asbestos exposure. This is the number one cause of mesothelioma.

Occupations where there was a lot of risk of exposure include:

Veterans

Asbestos was widely used in construction and machinery materials by the U.S. military, and veterans who worked in shipyards had the most significant exposure.

Construction workers

Construction used asbestos more than any other industry, making it high-risk.

Industrial workers

People who worked at industrial sites and applied industrial insulation often had major asbestos exposure.

Firefighters

Exposure occurred in burning buildings, but firefighting equipment, including masks and ventilators, were made with asbestos.

Power plant workers

Asbestos was used in electrical panels and insulation applications.

It’s not just direct exposure that can raise the risk of pleural mesothelioma. The fibers could be carried home on clothing and other items, and that can lead to secondary exposure.

The Latency Period

Pleural mesothelioma, as with other types of this cancer, has a long latency period. That means that there can be decades between asbestos exposure and the development of mesothelioma. It can often take 20 to 60 years for mesothelioma to develop after an initial asbestos exposure. Most of the people diagnosed are 70 and older because of this.

Diagnosing Pleural Mesothelioma

The diagnostic process for pleural mesothelioma usually starts with a doctor ordering an X-ray after you’ve mentioned symptoms or asbestos exposure. X-rays can show a fluid buildup; sometimes, they can show tumors around the lung. If your primary care provider thinks it’s necessary, they’ll refer you to a specialist for more testing.

A biopsy of the affected tissue is needed to confirm a mesothelioma diagnosis and determine the cell type. The most common type of mesothelioma comprises epithelial or epithelioid cells, and it responds best to treatment. Sarcomatoid is the least common type, the most aggressive, and the toughest to treat. Most sarcomatoid cases are in patients with pleural mesothelioma. Blood tests can show specific cancer biomarkers but can’t diagnose a condition independently. Imaging scans can be used initially and then after a biopsy to show if the cancer has spread.

Pleural Mesothelioma
Prognosis

Everyone’s situation will differ based on individual factors, but the earlier pleural mesothelioma is found and treated, the better the prognosis.

pleural mesothelioma is still localized just around the tissue lining of a single lung.

Means the cancerous cells have spread to nearby lymph nodes.

Pleural mesothelioma indicates its spread to tissues nearby and distant lymph nodes.

Is when the cancer has spread to distant organs.

The prognosis is usually poor for pleural mesothelioma, with a median survival of 8-14 months and a five-year survival rate of 20% for early cases with tumors that remain localized. For all stages combined, five-year survival is 12%, but some patients have lived ten years or more with treatment.

The difficulty with pleural mesothelioma is that it tends to be resistant to current therapies, and it progresses quickly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are brief answers to some of people’s most commonly asked questions about pleural mesothelioma.

For most patients with pleural mesothelioma, the life expectancy is around a year. If you’re diagnosed early, and you can be treated aggressively, the average is around 22 months. Some people with pleural mesothelioma live much longer than this.

At any stage, pleural malignant mesothelioma isn’t considered curable, but it is treatable. Treatments can increase your lifespan, comfort level, and overall quality of life. There are ongoing clinical trials, increasing the hope of a future cure.

Often, there aren’t early warning signs of pleural mesothelioma. Sometimes, you might notice the feeling of having something stuck in your throat, chest pain, a dry cough, or shortness of breath, but many people don’t have these symptoms until the disease has spread.

Pain can be a symptom of pleural mesothelioma, especially in more advanced stages. The pain may feel dull and can be caused by fluid buildup or tumors putting pressure on the chest or organs in the abdomen. Muscle and bone pain can also occur if the mesothelioma is metastatic.

A chest X-ray can’t definitively diagnose mesothelioma, but it can show things that might indicate its presence, such as pleural thickening, fluid buildup, or other lung irregularities.

It’s much more common for older people to be diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma. The average age for a diagnosis is 72.

Free Case review

Fill out the form below and get your free case review

MENU