Pleural Mesothelioma is generally an intense form of cancer that affects the membrane lining in the chest cavity. A few cases are good-natured as well. Today it is known that this form of cancer is caused by the inhaling of asbestos particles either during manufacturing or coming in contact whit the material or from living next to surroundings where asbestos is used. About three thousand new occurrences are brought to light in the USA every year.
The time mesothelioma needs to break out can be very long and vary highly. Sometimes it takes 15 years but there were also cases in the past where it took up to 40 years and longer. So most patients diagnosed with this disease are in the age group of sixties or also seventies. Because of this long latency period the disease can be in an advanced stage before it is diagnosed correctly. So the following treatment may be less effective.
It is very hard to diagnose pleural mesothelioma because this disease has no striking symptoms at the first view. The alarming indicators are disphagia (difficulty in swallowing), dyspnea (shortness of breath), persistent coughing and tightness in chest accompanied by chest pain. Warnings that the cancer has spread can be: a swollen neck, face and sometimes engorged arms. Other indications could also be fever, sweating, hoarseness or overfatigue. A further and more sophisticated stage of the symptoms can be the coughing up of blood. In this case those symptoms are mainly caused by a fluid collection in the thoracic area (effusion). It is also possible that the weak pellicle which is covering the lungs may fatten and decrease expansion and contraction. So it’s harder to breathe. The cancer can spread without noticing. In certain circumstances no noticeable signs may show till it is out of hand.
84% of the patients have pleural effusions (fluid collection). The major symptoms of the pleural mesothelioma are shortness of breath (88%) and weight loss (28%).