Pleural mesothelioma is the form of mesothelioma that affects your lungs. It is the most common form of asbestos related cancer, making up about 75% of mesothelioma cases.
What is pleural mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is cancer of the mesothelium. The mesothelium is the protective lining around your chest cavity, the cavity around your heart, abdominal cavity, and internal reproductive organs. It produces a lubricating fluid that enables your organs to move and function properly.
The mesothelium around your lungs is called lung pleura. The lung pleura consists of:
- Parietal pleura – lines the chest wall and diaphragm
- Visceral pleura – lines the lungs
The symptoms of pleural mesothelioma include:
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty breathing
- Persistent coughing
- Coughing up blood
- Difficulty swallowing
- Weight loss
Pleural mesothelioma does not always manifest symptoms. The symptoms can take 10 to 50 years after exposure to appear and are often mistaken for:
- Whooping cough
- Broken or bruised ribs
How it develops
Asbestos fibers are tiny and sharp. Your body’s immune system can’t get rid of them. When you breathe in the fibers, they accumulate in your lungs and eventually work their way into the lining (mesothelium). There they shred and inflame the mesothelium, eventually causing cancerous tumors to form. Some doctors believe that inhaling just one asbestos fiber can cause mesothelioma.
Effects of pleural mesothelioma
Some of the effects of pleural mesothelioma include:
- Thickening of pleural fluid reducing lungs movement
- Tumors constricting lungs making breathing difficult
- Tumors putting pressure on ribs causing severe pain
Mesothelioma can spread
If cancer cells move from the mesothelium into your lungs they can then be transferred into your bloodstream and spread throughout your body.
Like all forms of mesothelioma, pleural mesothelioma is excrutiatingly painful and, because it affects breathing, it is very debilitating. There are treatments, and the treatments have become much more effective than in the past, but life expectancy for people with pleural mesothelioma is still very short.
If you or a loved one has developed mesothelioma or asbestosis, contact an experienced asbestos exposure attorney today.