Pleural mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibers. It affects the thin layer of tissue that covers the lungs and the inner chest wall. The exposure to asbestos can be occupational, environmental, or through secondhand exposure. It is estimated that over 3,000 people are diagnosed with this type of cancer each year in the United States alone. There is no cure for this type of cancer, but treatments can be used to help manage the symptoms and improve quality of life.
What Causes Pleural Mesothelioma?
The most common cause of pleural mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos. Asbestos is a naturally occurring silicate mineral, which is often found in construction materials, insulation, and other products. When these materials are disturbed, asbestos fibers become airborne and can be inhaled. It can take anywhere from 20 to 50 years for the asbestos fibers to cause pleural mesothelioma. Asbestos exposure is the only known cause of this type of cancer.
What Are the Symptoms of Pleural Mesothelioma?
The most common symptom of pleural mesothelioma is chest pain. Other symptoms may include shortness of breath, dry coughing, fatigue, weight loss, and fever. These symptoms can often be mistaken for other illnesses, so it is important to see your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms. Your doctor will be able to diagnose the pleural mesothelioma and recommend a course of treatment.
What Are the Treatment Options for Pleural Mesothelioma?
There is no cure for pleural mesothelioma, but there are treatments available that can help manage the symptoms and improve quality of life. Surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy are the most commonly used treatments for pleural mesothelioma. Surgery is used to remove the tumor and affected tissue. Chemotherapy is used to destroy cancer cells, while radiation therapy is used to shrink tumors and slow the growth of cancer cells. Alternative treatments, such as lifestyle changes and supplements, can also be used to help manage the symptoms.
What Is the Prognosis for Pleural Mesothelioma?
The prognosis for pleural mesothelioma is poor. The average life expectancy for those diagnosed with this type of cancer is between 12 and 21 months. However, some patients have lived longer with treatment and with the help of alternative therapies. It is important to talk to your doctor about your prognosis and treatment options so that you can make the best decisions for your health.
What Are the Risk Factors for Pleural Mesothelioma?
The primary risk factor for pleural mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos. People who work in certain industries, such as construction or shipbuilding, are at a higher risk of developing this type of cancer. Additionally, people who live in areas with high levels of asbestos in the air have an increased risk. Smoking also increases the risk of developing pleural mesothelioma.
What Are the Options for Prevention?
The best way to prevent pleural mesothelioma is to avoid exposure to asbestos. If you work in an industry where asbestos is present, use proper safety and protective equipment. Additionally, avoid smoking and limit your exposure to secondhand smoke. If you live in an area with high levels of asbestos in the air, consider moving to a less polluted area.
What Are the Support Resources for Pleural Mesothelioma?
If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma, there are many support resources available. Organizations such as the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation, the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, and the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance can provide information, resources, and support. Additionally, there are many online support groups and forums where you can find information and support from others who have been diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma.
Pleural mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibers. It affects the thin layer of tissue that covers the lungs and the inner chest wall. There is no cure for this type of cancer, but treatments can be used to help manage the symptoms and improve quality of life. The best way to prevent pleural mesothelioma is to avoid exposure to asbestos. Additionally, there are many support resources available for those who have been diagnosed with this type of cancer.