Pleural Mesothelioma – What You Need to Know

pleural mesothelioma

Pleural Mesothelioma, the most common form of mesothelioma, makes up approximately 75% of all cases. This type of cancer develops in the tissue that lines the chest cavity and lungs, known as the pleura. The only accepted pollutant-induced cause of pleural mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos, which can be found in common building materials such as floor tiles, shingles, insulation, plaster/cement and caulk, and pumps/valves/boilers.

Who’s At Risk?
People who worked in certain industrial jobs, such as construction workers, refinery workers, electricians, mechanics and veterans, have a greater risks of developing pleural mesothelioma due to their long-term, high-dose exposure to asbestos. However, second-hand asbestos exposure, such as contaminated consumer products or microscopic fibers found on clothing of as asbestos worker, has also been known to cause pleural mesothelioma.

How Does it Develop?
Once a person is exposed to asbestos, the tiny fibers can be lodged in their body for years, causing irritation and scarring in the pleura. It can take anywhere from 15 to 60 years for pleural mesothelioma to develop, which is why a diagnosis may come as a shock to victims who were exposed decades earlier.

What are the Symptoms?
Although you may not experience any symptoms in the first few stages of the cancer’s progression, the initial symptoms include shortness of breath and chest pain. However, as the cancer progresses, you may experience chronic cough, fatigue, lumps under the skin of the chest, and unexplained weight loss.

What are the Common Diagnostic Methods?
Diagnosing pleural mesothelioma includes numerous tests and requires the close cooperation of a diverse team of medical experts, such as radiologists, oncologists, pathologists, and pulmonologists.

There are 3 types of methods for diagnosing pleural mesothelioma:

  1. Thoracentesis – This 10-15 minute procedure is done by using a needle to drain fluid from around the lung. However, fluid tests are not always accurate in diagnosing pleural mesothelioma.
  2. Diagnostic imaging scans– Image tests, such as X-rays, CT scans and MRIs can help obtain additional information about the cancer, including how far it has progressed, and identifying the location of the cancer.
  3. Biopsy – Performing a needle or surgical biopsy, which involves taking a sample of the tissue, can be the most effective way to make a conclusive pleural mesothelioma diagnosis.

Approximately 3,000 people a year are diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma. If you or a loved one has been exposed to asbestos and is experiencing any of the above mentioned symptoms, consult the attorneys at The Madeksho Law Firm, PLLC, who have over 40 years experience litigating such cases.