What is Pleural Mesothelioma?
Pleural Mesothelioma is the cancer of the pleura that is the cells that make up the lining around and outside the lungs and inside of the ribs. It accounts for 75% of the total cases of mesothelioma and is thus the most common.
The other two common forms are Peritoneal Mesothelioma and Pericardial Mesothelioma.
What are the symptoms of Pleural mesothelioma?
Pleural Mesothelioma Symptoms are varied. The spread of tumor over the pleura causes it's thickening and encases the lungs in a restrictive girdle.
This affects the function of the lungs and makes breathing difficult. At earlier stages, only exercises cause breathlessness, but as the disease gets worse, the person may feel breathless even when he is not engaged in any physical activity.
The tumor spreads through attacking the surrounding tissues. While spreading inward, it compresses the lungs and while spreading outward, it invades the ribs and chest wall, which is often accompanied by a lot of pain.
Is all Pleural Mesothelioma cancerous?
Not really. Pleural Mesothelioma is of two kinds.
1. Non-cancerous or localized and benign Mesothelioma-These are generally not life-threatening and can easily be removed through surgery.
They are usually not caused due to asbestos exposure.
2. Cancerous or diffuse and malignant Mesothelioma- This is discussed in detail in the coming sections.
Any future reference refers to malignant pleural mesothelioma.
How is Pleural Mesothelioma caused?
The only known cause of the disease in the United States is exposure to asbestos fibres (see Mesothelioma Asbestos) like chrysodile, crocidotile and amosite.
The disease takes time to "incubate" and develops twenty to thirty years after the exposure.
How is it diagnosed?
An X-ray or a CT Scan can detect the disease but actual diagnosis (see Mesothelioma Diagnosis) can only be done through a biopsy.
Is it curable?
This depends on many factors. Possible treatments range from chemotherapy, radiation therapy, gene therapy and immunotherapy or a combination of therapies called multimodal therapy.
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