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Pleural Mesothelioma

Pleural mesothelioma is a cancer of the membrane that lines the lungs. It is the most common form of mesothelioma – a cancer related to inhaling asbestos fibers. Pleural mesothelioma can cause symptoms such as persistent dry cough, chest pain, trouble swallowing, fatigue, and fever. It is a serious disease that is typically terminal, although treatments exist to extend a patient’s life expectancy.

Accounting for nearly three-fourths of all mesothelioma cases in the United States, pleural mesothelioma develops in the protective tissue that surrounds the lungs. This common type of mesothelioma occurs when inhaled asbestos fibers accumulate in the pleura, causing genetic changes that lead to the formation of cancerous cells.

If you have been exposed to asbestos and are now experiencing any of the symptoms of mesothelioma, it is important that you contact your physician right away. If you are diagnosed with this rare but deadly form of cancer, a New York mesothelioma lawyer can help. The Williams Law Firm, P.C. has been industry-recognized for the work it has done on behalf of these clients and is ready to start outlining aggressive, actionable legal options for you and your family.

Get a dedicated advocate in your corner during this difficult time and call us at (855) 575-6376 today.

Pleural Mesothelioma Resources

What Is Pleural Mesothelioma?

Pleural mesothelioma is a type of cancer. Its main cause is asbestos. Every year, doctors diagnose more than 2,500 people with pleural mesothelioma. It accounts for about 75% of all mesothelioma diagnoses. A patient with pleural mesothelioma may experience issues with the lungs and breathing. Other conditions connected to asbestos exposure include asbestosis, lung cancer, ovarian cancer, pleural plaques, pleural thickening and laryngeal cancer.

Pleural mesothelioma can affect the outside layer of the lungs, the pleural space between the layers of the lungs and the lining that covers the lungs. No known cure exists for pleural mesothelioma. As the most common type of this disease, however, scientists have more opportunities to research pleural mesothelioma and create new treatments. With current treatments, patients can extend their life expectancies and increase their quality of living.

What Causes Pleural Mesothelioma?

Asbestos is a mineral that has carcinogenic properties for humans. If inhaled, minuscule particles of asbestos can lodge in the linings of the organs. The particles can remain embedded for decades, slowly causing irritation, inflammation and scar tissue. If the asbestos genetically mutates the surrounding cells, the scar tissue can turn into cancerous tumors known as mesothelioma. The pleural part of pleural mesothelioma refers to cancer of the lining of the lungs in particular. The other types of mesothelioma are peritoneal (abdomen), pericardial (heart) and testicular.

Pleural Mesothelioma Prognosis

The prognosis for each patient diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma is unique. Prognoses depend on the individual, the stage of cancer, the patient’s age and gender, and the efficacy of treatments. The average life expectancy for a person diagnosed with malignant (cancerous) pleural mesothelioma is 6 to 12 months. With treatments, however, many patients with pleural mesothelioma live past their life expectancies. Some have survived 5 to 10 years and longer after their date of diagnosis with modern treatment options. The most common type of pleural mesothelioma is the epithelioid cell type. This is the most responsive type of mesothelioma to treatments.

What Are the Symptoms of Pleural Mesothelioma?

One of the most unfortunate aspects of pleural mesothelioma is that symptoms often mirror other, minor illnesses. This can extend the latent period and delay diagnosis and/or proper course of treatment.

Symptoms of pleural mesothelioma may include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Persistent chest pain
  • Lower back pain
  • Difficulties swallowing
  • Hoarseness
  • Chronic cough
  • Fever
  • Facial swelling
  • Swelling of the arms
  • Fatigue
  • Excessive sweating
  • Unexpected weight loss

If you have been exposed to asbestos—either in your line of work or through other means—these may be symptoms of pleural mesothelioma. Because early diagnosis is essential for maintaining quality of life, it is important that you discuss symptoms with your doctor right away. While not curable, there are treatments available that can help ease symptoms and extend life expectancy.

How Is Pleural Mesothelioma Diagnosed?

Diagnosing a case of pleural mesothelioma usually starts with the patient experiencing common symptoms. These include coughing (a dry cough), coughing up blood, chest pain, difficulty eating or swallowing, sudden weight loss, fatigue, lumps under the skin of the chest, shortness of breath or painful breathing, night sweats, and swelling of the face or arms.  When a patient presenting possible symptoms of pleural mesothelioma visits a doctor, the physician will use tests and imaging scans to make a diagnosis.

First, the doctor will use x-rays or CT scans to look for tumors and track metastasis if cancer has already spread to other parts of the body. The doctor may then use blood tests to search for biomarkers that can diagnose mesothelioma as compared to other forms of cancer. Then, the doctor will take a biopsy to finalize a malignant pleural mesothelioma diagnosis.

Pleural Mesothelioma Stages

During diagnosis, a specialist will analyze how far the disease has progressed using a special system. The specialist will then classify the pleural mesothelioma with the corresponding stage. The stage of the disease is important, as it can determine a patient’s prognosis and available treatment options. There are four stages of pleural mesothelioma. Stage one is the least serious (little to no metastasis), while stage four is the most serious (advanced metastasis to the lymph nodes and other organs). A patient’s life expectancy at the time of diagnosis with stage one pleural mesothelioma is a little over 22 months. With stage two, it drops to 20 months. Stage three, about 18 months. Stage four, 15 months.

Pleural Mesothelioma Treatment

A multimodal approach is the most common treatment plan for patients with pleural mesothelioma. Depending on the stage of the disease, the patient may first receive surgery to remove as much cancerous tissue from the lining of the lungs as possible. Then, the patient may follow up with chemotherapy and radiation therapy to try to kill any remaining cancer cells. In general, treatments for pleural mesothelioma are to extend life expectancy and improve quality of living, not to cure the disease.

One surgical option for patients with pleural mesothelioma is pleurectomy, in which a surgeon removes the lining of the lungs and chest wall. A more aggressive procedure is an extrapleural pneumonectomy, where the surgeon removes the affected lung along with part of the diaphragm and the linings of the lungs and heart. Successful surgery may extend the life expectancy of a patient with pleural mesothelioma by three years or more, especially when paired with chemotherapy. The specific type of treatment a patient may receive depends on the individual patient and his or her diagnosis.

How Much Does Pleural Mesothelioma Treatment Cost?

Mesothelioma treatment can be very effective at improving the quality of life and extending the life expectancy of men and women diagnosed with the disease. Unfortunately, pleural mesothelioma treatment may prove cost-prohibitive. As a victim of asbestos exposure, you deserve these treatments, and New York mesothelioma attorney Joseph Williams is here to help you secure the compensation that allows you access to them. During your free case evaluation, attorney Williams can discuss this with you in greater detail and answer any questions you have about your rights and your options.

To schedule your free case evaluation at The Williams Law Firm, P.C., please fill out our online form. We welcome clients from New York and throughout the United States.

Pleural Mesothelioma FAQ

Is there a cure for pleural mesothelioma?

There is no known cure. However, modern-day treatments can vastly improve a patient’s quality of living as well as extend life expectancy by several years.

What are common symptoms of pleural mesothelioma?

The most common symptoms are a cough that will not go away, chest pain, trouble breathing, fever and fatigue.

How long after exposure to asbestos will someone notice symptoms of mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is unique in that its symptoms may not appear until 10 to 70 years after a patient’s initial asbestos exposure.

What is the average life expectancy for someone diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma?

Six months to one year from the date of diagnosis, on average. This can vary considerably, however, based on the patient’s diagnosis and treatment options.

What is a mesothelioma lawsuit?

A pleural mesothelioma diagnosis often results in a lawsuit against the party responsible for exposing the patient to asbestos. A successful lawsuit could pay for a patient’s medical bills, pain and suffering, and other damages. Discuss your case with a mesothelioma attorney today.

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