What is Pleural Mesothelioma and How Does it Affect the Body?

Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer that affects the tissue that lines the inside of the chest and abdomen, the space around the heart, and most organs. The most common type of mesothelioma is pleural mesothelioma, which affects the tissue surrounding the lungs (pleura). This type of cancer is caused by exposure to asbestos fibers, which become trapped in the pleural lining of the lungs. Symptoms of pleural mesothelioma include shortness of breath, chest pain, dry cough, wheezing, respiratory complications, fever, and night sweats.

Other symptoms may occur as the disease progresses.When large areas of the pleura stiffen due to scarring, it can be difficult and painful to breathe. Pleural thickening around both lungs is usually a sign of significant exposure to asbestos. Repeated episodes of pleural effusion can cause pleural thickening to worsen as scar tissue builds up. Small areas of thickening in the pleura are the most common sign that a person has a history of exposure to asbestos.

Pleural plaques are not cancerous and usually don't cause symptoms, but they may indicate an increased risk of cancer.The combination of tumor mass in the lung and accumulation of pleural fluid increases the pressure in the chest and prevents the lung from expanding, leading to breathing difficulties. The least common cell type is sarcomatoid mesothelioma. It is aggressive and difficult to treat, and most of these cases occur in pleural patients. The biphasic cell type is a mixture of these two types of cells.How you respond to treatment depends on the proportion of cells.

If there are more epithelioid cells, it will respond better than tumors composed of more sarcomatoid cells. Chemotherapy is the most common type of pleural treatment. Doctors usually prescribe a combination of medications, known as multimodal therapy, if they diagnose the patient early in the disease process. These treatments can improve symptoms, such as chest pain and breathing difficulties, and improve survival.The two most common tumor removal surgeries for pleural mesothelioma are extrapleural pneumonectomy and pleurectomy and decortication.

A specialist in pleural mesothelioma cancer can determine if you are eligible for surgery and advise you on which procedure may be the best option for your diagnosis. You may be able to receive experimental therapy through a clinical trial of pleural mesothelioma. Some patients may be eligible for immunotherapy drugs and other emerging treatments through compassionate use programs.Cameron developed lung-sparing surgery for pleural mesothelioma that not only prolongs survival, but offers a higher quality of life by preserving the lung. Cameron surgery has a lower risk of complications and studies report longer survival times.

The average prognosis for pleural mesothelioma, or the expected course and outcome of the disease, is poor for most patients because this cancer progresses rapidly and is resistant to many existing therapies.Accurately predicting a person's prognosis is a challenge because this disease is complex. Everyone responds differently to treatment. There is no definitive cure for pleural mesothelioma. However, a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy has allowed patients to improve their prognosis.

Even patients who are not eligible for surgery have survived for years after their diagnosis thanks to experimental clinical trials and emerging treatments, such as immunotherapy.

Marissa Trafford
Marissa Trafford

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