Pleural mesothelioma is a mesothelioma of the lungs. The “pleural” part comes from the name of the pleura, a membrane of tissue cells that line the lungs, chest wall, and organs of the chest.
Pleural mesothelioma is the most common form of mesothelioma. Pleural mesothelioma is typically fatal within a very short time, about 1 year from diagnosis. The reason for the seriousness of the diagnosis is pleural mesothelioma can spread rapidly from the pleural cells into:
- The nearby chest wall
- To other parts of the pleura
- Into the lung
- Into the heart
- Into the diaphragm
- Into the surrounding lymph nodes
Pleural mesothelioma is diagnosed by a doctor, typically confirmed by a biopsy. Initially a patient may have come in with symptoms such as shortness of breath, pain in the chest wall or fever. For those with long term known asbestos exposure, their physician could be aggressive in testing these symptoms immediately for signs of mesothelioma or lung cancer. In most cases, the progression of the symptoms leads to eventual testing by x-ray or other scan, and these tests confirm growths which biopsies confirm as mesothelioma.
Pleural mesothelioma is diagnosed in 4 stages. Each stage comes with a different prognosis and likely treatment regimen, depending on how the cancer has progressed through the chest and organs:
Stage 1 Mesothelioma means a small localized tumor (T1) without spread to lymph nodes (N0) or other organs (M0).
Stage 2 Mesothelioma means the tumor is local but has progressed further into tissue/organs (T2).
Stage 3 describes the spread either deeply into local tissue (T3), or adjacent lymph nodes (N1).
Stage 4, the most serious, is reserved for cases where there is massive local invasion (T4), or distant cancer movement (N2, N3 or M1).
There is no cure for pleural mesothelioma, however treatments exist to extend lifespan and to ensure a high quality of life. These treatments include surgery to resect the tumor, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and other advanced treatments. If you are seeking treatment for pleural mesothelioma, read out treatment options here, or see our list of treatment centers.
What causes pleural mesothelioma?
Pleural mesothelioma, like all types of mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos. Asbestos fibers can be ingested or inhaled and are extremely durable, resulting in long term embedment of the fibers into the tissues of the lungs. Over time these incredibly thin, long, and durable fibers can begin to pierce and disturb cells of the pleura. Eventually a pleural plague can form where asbestos fibers are found. These pleural plaques can develop over time into pleural mesothelioma. Once pleural mesothelioma cells have formed they can spread quickly through the surrounding tissue and adjacent pleural cells, as they grow uncontrollably they will begin to form tumors.
If you or a loved one was diagnosed with mesothelioma, you were exposed to asbestos (either in the natural environment or artificially by a product in your work/home environment). The investigators at Levin Simes Abrams can determine from your work history and living history how you were exposed to asbestos and which corporations exposed you. The attorneys at Levin Simes Abrams are experienced mesothelioma trial lawyers who can proceed with a mesothelioma lawsuit on your behalf. Contact Levin Simes Abrams at 415-426-3000 or [email protected]