Mesothelioma Attorneys

Pleural Mesothelioma

Asbestos Cancer

Pleural mesothelioma is cancer of the lining of the lungs. It is not the same as lung cancer, but is sometimes referred to as asbestos lung cancer. Pleural mesothelioma is the most common type of mesothelioma, accounting for about 75% to 90% of mesothelioma cases. Most patients do not notice or recognize symptoms until 20 to 50 years after asbestos exposure, and may at first believe that they have another less serious illness. Pleural mesothelioma kills most victims within a year of diagnosis, but very early detection can greatly increase your life expectancy.

Pleural mesothelioma is a progressively debilitating and very painful form of cancer. It is caused by asbestos exposure. The majority of victims were exposed in the workplace, but exposure can occur in the home, at school, or in other settings.

The Pleura

The pleura is the mesothelium which surrounds the lungs. It protects and lubricates the lungs, helping them to function properly. It is made up of two layers:

  • Parietal pleura. The outer layer of the pleura lining the chest wall and the diaphragm.
  • Visceral pleura. The inner layer of the pleura covering the lungs.

Effects of Pleural Mesothelioma

In pleural mesothelioma asbestos fibers are lodged in the pleura where they cause irritation and inflammation. This can lead to:

  • Thickening of the pleural membrane
  • Build up of fluid in the pleura, called pleural effusion
  • Tumors

All three of these can constrict the lungs making it difficult to breath. Tumors can also put pressure in the ribs causing severe pain. Symptoms of pleural mesothelioma can include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling
  • Fatigue
  • Back pain
  • Chest pain
  • Coughing
  • Hoarseness or rasping
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Coughing up blood
  • Sweating
  • Weight loss
  • Fever

Misdiagnosing Pleural Mesothelioma

The initial symptoms of pleural mesothelioma are often mistaken for symptoms of other illnesses. Unfortunately this leads to a delayed diagnosis and contributes to the very short life expectancy that most mesothelioma victims face. When pleural mesothelioma is detected very early, there is a much better chance that treatment will be effective, extending your life and allowing you to enjoy a much better quality of life.

Mesothelioma is often mistaken for:

  • Cold
  • Flu
  • Pneumonia
  • Bronchitis
  • Emphysema
  • Bruised or broken ribs
  • Laryngitis
  • Whooping cough