Pleural mesothelioma affects the lining of the lungs, which is called the pleura. When cancer is in the pleura it is referred to as pleural mesothelioma, along with the lungs, there is a thin membrane which is called the mesothelium, thus, the name of the cancer. The mesothelium?s function is to provide fluid for the lungs so that they can contract and expand. The mesothelium is vital in order to breath.
Pleural mesothelioma develops when a person is constantly exposed to asbestos. A lot of patients who have pleural mesothelioma were exposed to the asbestos while at work.
When asbestos fibers are inhaled on a continuous basis they become embedded in the pleura. When they embed themselves in the pleura it settles and causes inflammation. With the inflammation comes the danger of cancerous tumors. It can take years before the cancer surfaces.
Symptoms for mesothelioma do not usually occur until the late stages. Some of the symptoms of pleural mesothelioma are shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, and chest pain, fluid around the lungs, and difficulty speaking or hoarseness.
These symptoms can be ,and often are, confused with other common illness, which makes pleural mesothelioma extremely hard to diagnose correctly. In most cases the first symptom of pleural mesothelioma is chest pain. The chest pain is caused by growing tumors in the pleural space. The tumors also cause the pleural space to fill with fluid.
There is no cure for pleural mesothelioma but there are many treatment options and researchers are working on more treatment options daily.