Pleural Mesothelioma

Posted on Monday, April 25th, 2016 at 2:52 pm    

Pleural Mesothelioma Explained

Pleural Mesothelioma Explained - Normal Lung Anatomy

Pleural Mesothelioma Explained – Normal Lung Anatomy

Pleural mesothelioma is malignant cancer that develops on the lining of the lungs called the pleura. It is the most common form of mesothelioma. It accounts for 75% of all mesothelioma cases. Pleural mesothelioma gets its name from where it is formed, that is in the pleura. The pleura is a soft tissue that surrounds the lungs. In almost all cases pleural mesothelioma is a result of exposure to asbestos.

Pleural mesothelioma is caused by inhaling asbestos fibers that are in the air. The asbestos fibers travel to the pleura in the body. Once there, the body fails to expel them due to their needle-like characteristic. Over time the trapped asbestos fibers irritate the pleural membrane causing chronic inflammation and scarring. The fibers also cause genetic changes in the cells that make up the pleura and cancerous cells grow. Their growth is fast and uncontrollable, thus forming tumors that cover or envelope the lungs.

The fibers also cause excess buildup of fluids between the two layers of the pleura. This is called pleural effusion. For a normal lung a little fluid is necessary as it supports the lungs and helps the lungs move smoothly as one breaths but, excessive fluid buildup causes problems. The fluid buildup makes it difficult to breathe, it puts pressure on the lungs which in turn causes chest pains; these chest pains worsen with coughing and deep breaths.

Pleural Mesothelioma Explained - Pleural Mesothelioma

Pleural Mesothelioma Explained – Pleural Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma affects both layers of the pleura and rapidly moves to the diaphragm, chest wall or lung. Pleural mesothelioma is difficult to diagnose as there are decades (20-50years) between the initial asbestos exposure and symptoms. Also pleural mesothelioma symptoms are similar to other lung or respiratory diseases thus making it even harder to diagnose.

Pleural mesothelioma symptoms


  • Persistent cough
  • Coughing blood
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Chest pain

There is no known cure for pleural mesothelioma but, there are available treatments that relieve pain and discomfort associated with the symptoms.


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