One of the most common among mesothelioma cancers is pleural mesothelioma. It has been accounted for almost 75% of all the mesothelioma cases.
Known as malignant pleural mesothelioma as it attacks the pleura or the lining of the lungs, it is a deadly cancer which is known to take a patient’s life within 16-18 months after diagnosis. It is either misdiagnosed or diagnosed in its last stage as some of its symptoms resemble those of other diseases and appear decades after asbestos exposure.
In most of the cases, it has been found that people suffering from pleural mesothelioma are those who worked in asbestos related industry such as asbestos mines, mills, insulation, construction, shipyards, dockyards and automobile industry etc.
These people inhaled asbestos dust and particles while working and developed mesothelioma as a result. As mesothelioma symptoms appear after a latency period of 20-50 years, it was found that mostly men from 50-70 years of age suffer from mesothelioma.
Some symptoms of pleural mesothelioma are:
The best way to diagnose if a patient is suffering from malignant pleural mesothelioma is to carry out some tests which will give an exact picture of the disease. It is important to distinguish mesothelioma from other diseases having same symptoms.
Some of the ways to diagnose mesothelioma are:
Depending upon the stage of mesothelioma, there are various treatment options available for patients. Surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, drug therapy and gene therapy are some of the treatment options.
When the pleural effusion or liquid accumulation becomes painful, steps can be taken to drain the liquid and alleviate the pain. Surgery can also be performed to remove the cancerous growth of cells from the affected area of the pleura. This can effectively remove any chance of recurrence of cancer.
One of the chemotherapy drugs, Alimta is given to decrease the pain and improve the quality of patients’ life.
In some cases, a combination of treatments such as surgery along with chemotherapy and radiation are carried out to help the patient. This kind of treatment is known as ‘multimodality therapy’.
Pleural mesothelioma is a rare but extremely serious form of cancer. Once diagnosed, it should be treated very carefully and properly as carelessness might cost a patient’s life. Though serious, it is still a cancer which can be treated.
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