What is Pleural Mesothelioma?

Pleural mesothelioma is a type of cancerous tumor which affects the pleura of human's lungs. Pleura are thin membranes that cover the chest wall and lungs perimeter. It is considered a low prevalence cancer since the number of cases in a year is relatively small (about 3,000 cases per year). Nonetheless, this is the common form of cancerous mesothelioma.

This cancer is caused by prolonged exposure to asbestos fibers. The material’s fine fibers get into pleura when someone is breathing in a place where asbestos exists. It takes years for the constant inhalation of asbestos to form malignant mesothelioma in the pleura area. Usually, the condition is diagnosed when the person is older.

How to Recognize Pleural Mesothelioma?

The initial symptoms of pleural mesothelioma might get mixed up with other kind of illness. Patient often experience shortness of breath that is accompanied by chest pain when breathing. Some patients start feeling phantom pain in their rib or lower back area. Since this illness is related to lungs, patient can heaves dry coughs constantly.

As the cancer progresses, some more distinctive symptoms will appear. That includes weight loss that goes unexplained. Many patients also experience fatigue after conducting their daily activities. These symptoms are usually accompanied with swelling in several body parts (face and arms). Bloody coughs often occur as well when the condition becomes so severe.

Unfortunately many people tend to dismiss several signs that occur to them. During checkups, patient usually does not report several important signs. That is why the cancer is usually recognized when the severity level is already advanced.

The Stages of Pleural Mesothelioma

Mainly, there are four stages of pleural mesothelioma. Each stage indicates the progression of cancerous cells. As expected, the more cancer has progressed within one’s body; the person’s life expectancy becomes shortened.

The first two stages (Stage 1 and 2) show that the cancerous cells are localized around pleural area. At Stage 1, the tumor is located at one lung. The Stage 2 shows spreading of that tumor toward lymph node that is located nearby the lung. During these stages, life expectancy can last for 20 to 22 months.
Meanwhile, Stage 3 and 4 show the severity of cancer. At Stage 3, the cancer has reached other tissues and even lymph node located in the distant. Organs that are located far from the lungs are affected at the Stage 4. At these stages, the life expectancy dwindles up to 14 months.