Saturday, November 26, 2011

Types and Stages of Pleural Mesothelioma

Pleural mesothelioma is a cancerous tumor involving the mesothelial cells that make up the pleura or lining around the outside of the lungs and inside of the ribs. It can also involve the heart and abdomen. Pleural mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos fibers, including chrysotile, amosite, or crocidolite that occurred twenty or more years before the disease becomes evident. These fibers are ingested into to the body through breathing or swallowing. Pleural mesothelioma is the most common type of mesothelioma, accounting for about 75% of all cases.
Types of Plural Mesothelioma
"Localized and benign" mesothelioma is non-life threatening and can be removed by surgery.
"Diffuse and malignant" mesothelioma is a cancer that generally results in death within one year of diagnosis.
Symptoms of Pleural Mesothelioma
Chest wall pain, pleural effusion, or fluid surrounding the lung, shortness of breath, weight loss, fatigue or anemia, wheezing, hoarseness, or cough and blood in the sputum (fluid) coughed up. Patients may develop several tumor masses. Patients may experience pneumothorax, or collapse of the lung. The disease may metastasize, or spread, to other parts of the body.
Stages of Pleural Mesothelioma
There are four stages of this disease. Localized pleural mesothelioma cancer ranging from - Stage I; the cancer remains on the membrane surface where it originated to Stage IV; advanced. In this final stage, the cancer has (metastasized) spread beyond the original membrane surface to other parts of the body, such as the lymph nodes, lungs, chest wall, or abdominal organs.
Screening and Diagnosis
Doctors first review the patient's medical history including any exposure to asbestos. The doctor may perform a complete physical examination. Doctors are then likely to order x-rays of the chest or abdomen and lung function tests. These tests include various imaging tests such as CT (or CAT) scan or an MRI.
A biopsy is needed to confirm a diagnosis of mesothelioma cancer. Doctors perform a thoracoscopy on patients showing symptoms of Pleural Mesothelioma. This procedure involves making a small cut through the chest wall then inserting a thin, lighted tube called a thoracoscope into the chest between two ribs. Doctors suction out any access fluid in the lungs through a procedure called thoracentesis. They can then obtain tissue samples for analysis. Other types of tube insertions include bronchoscopy or a mediastinoscopy
Treatment Options
Here are some of the most widely used treatments at this time.
Surgical removal of the entire lung and a part of the chest lining, the diaphragm and part of the sac surrounding the heart.
Radiotherapy is applied to the sites of chest drain insertion, in order to prevent growth of the tumor along the track in the chest wall. Though not particularly successful, radiation is preformed to relieve symptoms arising from tumor growth, such as obstruction of a major blood vessel.
Chemotherapy is used to stop the cancer cells from growing and dividing.
It is important to note that there are no successful treatments for pleural mesothelioma to date. Patients usually have a median survival time of 6 - 12 months after presentation of the symptoms.



Dave Casey is a medical writer for Mesothelioma-Adviser.com, a guide for mesothelioma cancer victims. Visit the site for mesothelioma cancer help, articles on asbestosis symptoms and legal advice.
Copyright 2007 Mesothelioma-Adviser.com

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