Thursday, July 10, 2008

Facts about Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma

If you are worker of any industry like brick making, shipbuilding, glass etc where asbestos is something that you are in close contact with then the chances are very high that you might face an attack of mesothelioma. This rare type of cancer has various forms like pleural, peritoneal and pericardial mesothelioma. The pleural mesothelioma is comparatively common and this has two particular categories. One is benign pleural mesothelioma which is a non-cancerous one. The other type is malignant pleural mesothelioma. This might not limit itself inside the lungs and can spread to the other organs of the body. The lining of the pleural sac is generally affected by this atypical disease.

Symptoms of Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma

The general symptoms that can be observed in a patient of pleural malignant mesothelioma are dyspnesa which stands for breathing problems associated with intense pain in chest. In fact if you find yourself coughing persistently and experiencing shortness of breath then this is the time to be careful as they are the common symptoms of Malignant pleural mesothelioma. All these difficulties add up to sleeplessness and weight loss due to trouble in swallowing food and loss of appetite. There are symptoms that cannot be seen externally like pleural effusion and thickening of the pleural membrane. Pleural diffusion is caused by the unnecessary accrual of fluids and the thickening happens as the cancerous tumor spread on the pleura.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma

The initial diagnosis of pleural mesothelioma requires a ct scan or a chest x-ray to be done. This has to be followed with a bronchoscopy which will account for the presence of pleural mesothelioma in a patient. Now the only way to make sure whether this mesothelioma is a malignant one or not, is to perform a biopsy with a part of tissue from the affected area; which is also known as thoracascopy. As there is no way of eradicating malignant pleural mesothelioma completely, the general ways like radiation therapy, surgery and chemotherapy can be of little help. Now-a-days most of the patients with this problem are treated by multimodal therapy which is a combination of all the three conventional methods. But there are palliative treatments which help in reducing the pain of the ailing person and improving the functions of the lungs to some extent.

If malignant pleural mesothelioma is diagnosed at the earliest stage then some curative measures can be taken which can be as effective to keep the patient alive for at least 3 to 5 years. In fact 10% of the patients survive for more than 3 years and 5% for more than five years which will probably increase with the advancement of treatment techniques.