Asbestos Diseases: Pleural Mesothelioma

Asbestos Diseases: Pleural Mesothelioma

As with all types of mesothelioma, pleural mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos. It is one of the most common types of mesothelioma as well, of which there are six.

The six different types of asbestos disease are:

Asbestosis Pleural mesothelioma Peritoneal mesothelioma Testicular mesothelioma Pericardial mesothelioma Lung cancer

What is pleural mesothelioma?

Pleural mesothelioma is caused by inhalation of asbestos fibres over a very long period of time. It accounts for almost three quarters of all mesothelioma diagnoses.

When asbestos fibres are inhaled, they can travel to the pleura (the soft tissue surrounding the lungs) and can become attached. They irritate the pleura and, over time, can cause cancerous tumours to develop.

Who can be diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma?

Both men and women can be diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma, and it is most commonly seen in those aged between 50 and 70. It can take years for symptoms to fully develop though, and it is commonly misdiagnosed because it can present as a different disease.

How is pleural mesothelioma diagnosed?

A number of diagnostic tools can be used to differentiate between pleural mesothelioma and other diseases.

The following tests may be carried out:

Chest xrays CT scans PET-CT scans Thoracentesis (a surgical procedure that extracts pleural fluid from the lungs for analysis) Biopsies What are the symptoms of pleural mesothelioma?

Pleural mesothelioma has many symptoms, some of which can be easily mistaken for other cancers and diseases. Many of the below symptoms are not apparent until the later stages of pleural mesothelioma.

The main pleural mesothelioma symptoms include:

A persistent dry cough Coughing up blood Shortness of breath Extreme fatigue Laboured and painful breathing Difficulty when swallowing Lower back or rib area pain Unexplained weight loss Feeling feverish without reason How is pleural mesothelioma treated?

Most pleural mesothelioma patients are diagnosed too late into the disease to consider curative treatments. This means that most treatments are palliative and can only improve quality of life.

However, there are a number of treatments that can help to extend the lives of patients while also greatly reducing pain and discomfort. Pleural mesothelioma is still a fatal disease though.

The most commonly-used pleural mesothelioma treatments include:

Surgery Chemotherapy Radiation therapy Clinical trials – new research is constantly being carried out into pleural mesothelioma, and patients may be able to be part of clinical trials. What is the prognosis for pleural mesothelioma patients?

Every patient will have a different prognosis that will be based on the progression of their disease, their age, sex, history and many other factors.

Pleural mesothelioma patients have a 40 per cent chance of surviving after being diagnosed. This then drops to 20 per cent in the following two years. Only 10 per cent of patients survive past five years.

With palliative treatments, pleural mesothelioma can be managed and the patient’s quality of life can be improved.

The content of this site is intended to inform, not to diagnose. If you believe that you may have symptoms similar to those experienced by pleural mesothelioma patients, Northern Insulation Contractors advises you to visit your GP immediately

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