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What is Pleural Mesothelioma?

Pleural Mesothelioma is a non-small cell cancer of the pleural lining surrounding the lung and chest wall. The only known cause of pleural Mesothelioma is genetic damage caused by exposure to asbestos fibers. Diagnosis of malignant pleural Mesothelioma is difficult because its early symptoms are commonly persistent cough, trouble catching your breath, and chest pain.

Pleural Mesothelioma originates in the lining around your lungs. The pleural protects the lungs and provides the space for the lungs to expand and contract efficiently. If you breathe Asbestos into your lungs, the fibers stick into your lung tissue and travel to the pleural lining resulting in cancer.

Asbestos fiber migration in the lungs is possible because lung tissue has the surface area of a football field that fits inside your chest. Tiny asbestos fibers travel through that delicate lung tissue and become stuck in the pleura's tough Mesothelial tissue.

Pleural Mesothelioma is challenging to identify in its initial stages. It can take up to 12 to 65 years for Asbestos fibers to cause enough damage to create a tumor. That tumor in the lung and surrounding tissues will need even more time to be large enough to be visualized by X-rays or CT scans.

Pleural Mesothelioma is an infrequent diagnosis, with less than 3,000 new cases diagnosed in the United States each year. Generally Mesothelioma has low survival rates, but new treatments like immunotherapy are being developed and extending life expectancy.

Pleural Mesothelioma Facts‍

COMMON TYPE

Pleural Mesothelioma is the most common Mesothelioma type.

WHERE THE CANCER OCCURS

Pleural Mesothelioma cancer occurs in the lining of the lungs called the pleural membrane.

MISTAKEN DIAGNOSIS

Frequently Pleural Mesothelioma is mistaken for illnesses such as flu and pneumonia.

HOW IS IT DIAGNOSED?

Pleural Mesothelioma is diagnosed by fluid or tissue samples using a needle biopsy.

Symptoms of Pleural Mesothelioma

The symptoms of Pleural Mesothelioma are common and can be easily confused with respiratory diseases such as influenza, bronchitis, or pneumonia. Those symptoms frequently include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing and trouble swallowing
  • Chest pain
  • Fever
  • Coughing up blood
  • Accumulation fluid in the chest cavity

Since these symptoms are common, pleural Mesothelioma is often only diagnosed once it has already entered Stage 3/Stage 4, meaning it has already metastasized. As pleural Mesothelioma advances, the symptoms become more severe:

  • A build-up of liquid in the pleural lining (Pleural effusion)
  • Trouble eating or drinking
  • Visual and hearing loss
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weight loss and weakness

Early Discovery of Pleural Mesothelioma can significantly improve a Mesothelioma patient's prognosis and treatment options. The way to increase the odds of early diagnosis is to make sure your doctor knows your history of Asbestos exposure. Keep all annual doctor's wellness visits. If your doctor is aware of your exposure history, they will be more likely to order follow-up testing.


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Mesothelioma Stages

A person diagnosed with mesothelioma could be expected to live between 6 and 50+ months. There are many factors which contribute to a life expectancy estimation at the time of diagnosis.

The most important factor doctors consider as a part of determining a patient's prognosis is the stage of the cancer (1 through 4 - with stage 4 being the most advanced).

Stage 1 patients have the longest life expectancy as the cancer is still localized and are often eligible for aggressive treatments, including surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.

Conversely, stage 4 patients have more limited treatment options as cancer has begun to spread to other parts of the body, as well as tissues and lymph nodes.

However, no one can predict precisely how long a person will live with mesothelioma. Some patients have truly beaten the odds and survived far longer than their original prognosis. No two mesothelioma cases are alike, and many other factors such as overall health, gender, age, and genetics play a significant part in survival rates.

Mesothelioma Stage 1

Stage 1

Mesothelioma is only in one general location. Cancer has not yet started to spread to other organs, tissues, or lymph nodes. In this stage, surgery may be an option for removing the smaller tumor(s).

Mesothelioma Stage 2

Stage 2

Mesothelioma tumors have increased in size and possibly spread to nearby lymph nodes. Patients may still have the option of surgery in this stage of Mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma Stage 3

Stage 3

Mesothelioma cancer has invaded the surrounding area where it initially developed. Surgery is an option, and some experimental treatments may be available.

Mesothelioma Stage 4

Stage 4

Mesothelioma has invaded other areas of the body. Other organs and tissues throughout the body are now affected. Chemotherapy and immunotherapy may be used to shrink the tumor before surgery is attempted.

Mesothelioma Compensation

If you been diagnosed with Pleural Mesothelioma, or if a family member has died from Mesothelioma, Flint Law Firm will be able to help you obtain compensation. The process of maximizing this Asbestos compensation for you and your family can begin in just a few months.

Flint Law Firm have a top national rated mesothelioma lawyers litigation team in case you decide to file a lawsuit. We have recovered over 2 billion dollars for our clients.

Compensation For Family Members of a Mesothelioma Victim

Mesothelioma Compensation For Recently Diagnosed Patients Family Member Passed

Compensation For People Recently Diagnosed With Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma Compensation For Recently Diagnosed Patients I Was Diagnosed

Pleural Mesothelioma Treatment Options

Currently, there are multiple medical procedures to treat Mesothelioma. The most invasive procedure is surgery.

  • Surgical removal of the tumor with a margin of healthy tissue
    The treatment goal is to remove as much as possible and follow up with chemotherapy and targeted radiation.
  • Wedge resections are when a wedge of the lung is removed and then stitched back together.
  • Lobectomy (or Lung Lumpectomy Surgery)
  • Pleurectomy decortication (the removal of the affected part of the pleural lining around the lungs)
  • Pleural Pneumonectomy (A pneumonectomy consists of the surgical removal of a lung)
  • Extra Pleural Pneumonectomy (removal of affected lung and the pleural lining that is next to it)

Pleural Mesothelioma FAQs

What Can Cause Pleural Mesothelioma?

Pleural mesothelioma is a rare cancer of the lining of the lungs (the pleura). The only known cause of pleural mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos. As asbestos fibers are inhaled, they may become lodged in the lining of the lungs and cause irritation, which may lead to the development of mesothelioma. If you have been directly or even indirectly exposed to asbestos, your risk of developing pleural mesothelioma is significantly increased.

How Is Pleural Mesothelioma Diagnosed?

If you have symptoms of pleural mesothelioma, your doctor will perform a physical examination to check for lumps or other possible signs of cancer.

Based on the results of the physical examination, your doctor may order a chest X-ray and a CT scan of your chest.

Depending on the results of these tests, a biopsy may be ordered. A biopsy is the only way to diagnose pleural mesothelioma.

During a biopsy, a small portion of tissue of the affected area is removed and sent to a laboratory for examination under a microscope.

Biopsies are performed by inserting a needle through the skin to remove a piece of tissue or fluid. They may also be done through a surgical procedure during which a surgeon would make a small incision and insert a tube with a video camera to obtain a sample of the abnormal tissue.

A lab will analyze the tissue/fluid sample to determine if mesothelioma is present in the sample, as well as what type of cells are involved - which will impact the treatment plan and prognosis.

Pleural Mesothelioma Life Expectancy

Many factors contribute to life expectancy estimations after a diagnosis of pleural mesothelioma (mesothelioma of the chest). The most critical factor is the stage of the cancer. Median life expectancies based on previous cases of pleural mesothelioma are:

  • Stage 1: Cancer is localized and not spread beyond the lining of the lung. Median life expectancy is 21-51 months.
  • Stage 2: Cancer has begun to spread beyond the lung lining to the lung, lymph nodes, or diaphragm. Median life expectancy is 19-26 months.
  • Stage 3: Mesothelioma has spread to other organs and lymph nodes. Median life expectancy is 15-16 months.
  • Stage 4: Mesothelioma has spread to organs and lymph nodes throughout the body. Median life expectancy is 8 -12 months.

What Are The Symptoms Of Pleural Mesothelioma?

Symptoms of pleural mesothelioma are often ignored or mistaken for other common issues. Symptoms include: shortness of breath, chest pain, lower back pain, cough (dry, painful and possibly bloody), fever or sweating, unexplained weight loss, trouble swallowing, hoarseness, swelling of face and/or arms, lumpy tissue in the chest or fluid build up.

If you have any of these issues (especially if you have been exposed to asbestos) consult with your health care provider right away to determine the cause.
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Adrianne Andrus

Reviewed by:  Adrienne Andrus
Chief Editor of Flint law Firm LLC
Client Advocate & Product Liability Paralegal since 2015.
Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communication, SIU Edwardsville

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