Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma [CRACKED]
Prior asbestos exposure is the most common cause of pleural mesothelioma. Asbestos is a group of minerals once used in many industries, like building and manufacturing. Until the 1960s and 1970s, workers mined asbestos in the United States. Around this time, scientists discovered the link between exposure to airborne asbestos particles and mesothelioma.
malignant pleural mesothelioma
In 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified mesothelioma into three categories based on the types of cells in the mesothelium (mesothelial cells) where the cancer develops. Some cells lead to more aggressive (fast-growing) cancer than others.
Mesothelioma is rare. Still, pleural mesothelioma is the most common type of mesothelioma. Approximately 3,300 people in the United States receive a mesothelioma diagnosis each year. Pleural mesothelioma accounts for about 80% of these diagnoses.
Most people diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma have spent years working jobs that exposed them to large amounts of asbestos. Men and people assigned male at birth (AMAB) often work in these positions. Mesothelioma takes several years (15 to 50 years) to develop. Many people receiving diagnoses are retired (aged 65 and up) but worked around asbestos for years before it was regulated.
Up to 95% of people with pleural mesothelioma also experience pleural effusion. This condition occurs when fluid builds up between your lungs and chest wall. Pleural effusion can make it harder to breathe.
Cancer staging allows your provider to plan treatments and determine how advanced the disease is. They stage pleural mesothelioma from one to four, with one being least advanced and four being most advanced.
Pleural mesothelioma is difficult to treat because the cancer can spread along nerves, blood vessels and tissues. Often, healthcare providers who treat cancer, or oncologists, recommend a combination of treatments for pleural mesothelioma.
The best way to prevent pleural mesothelioma is to avoid airborne asbestos particles. Since the late 1970s, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has regulated the use of asbestos in building materials. Still, many homes, buildings, cars and products made before 1980 are likely to have it. To reduce your risk:
Malignant pleural mesothelioma is a rare cancer of the lining around the lungs, called the pleura. It is caused by asbestos fibers. After inhalation, the fibers can embed in the pleura, causing inflammation and scarring. Over time, these processes can lead to the development of mesothelioma tumors.
As with all types of malignant mesothelioma, prognosis for pleural malignant mesothelioma depends on a number of factors. For patients who do not receive treatment, the median survival time is six months. However, certain types of treatment can improve life expectancy, such as surgery combined with chemotherapy.
According to recent data, within the last decade, malignant pleural mesothelioma patients have been surviving longer overall as available treatments and diagnostic methods improve. Some patients are now becoming long-term survivors. Heather Von St. James was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma in 2005 with an initial prognosis of 15 months. Following her treatment, she is now a survivor of more than a decade and a half.
Malignant pleural mesothelioma is caused by inhalation of asbestos fibers. The mineral slivers can travel through lung tissue and lodge in the pleura. Over time, asbestos fibers cause inflammation. The fibers can also activate biological pathways that lead to DNA damage. As a result, mesothelioma tumors may develop.
Pleural effusion occurs when an abnormal amount of fluid collects in between the two layers of the pleura. This fluid can compress the lungs, making it difficult to breathe. Pleural effusion and associated breathing problems are common symptoms in pleural mesothelioma.
Pleural plaques are areas of thickened tissue on the surface of the pleura. Pleural plaques often do not cause symptoms. This condition is one of the most common side effects of asbestos exposure. Asbestos-exposed individuals with pleural plaques may have an elevated risk of developing mesothelioma.
Pleural thickening is a condition in which scar tissue thickens the pleura. Pleural thickening can be benign or malignant. It is caused by asbestos exposure and other conditions that cause inflammation. According to one study, the majority of pleural mesothelioma patients experience pleural thickening.
Asbestosis is a benign, chronic lung disease caused by inhaling asbestos fibers. It is a form of pulmonary fibrosis. Patients with asbestosis develop scar tissue within their lungs. This makes the lungs less flexible and breathing more difficult. Patients with asbestosis may have an increased risk of developing pleural mesothelioma.
Diagnosing pleural mesothelioma often consists of multiple tests. One or more imaging scans, such as an X-ray or CT scan, may be performed first to identify tumors or metastasis (spreading of disease). If a tumor is detected, blood tests may be performed to look for certain biomarkers (high levels of specific substances in the blood), which can help differentiate mesothelioma from other conditions.
Currently, a biopsy is the only way to verify a malignant pleural mesothelioma diagnosis. Tests like a thoracentesis or thoracoscopy may be performed to take a tissue or fluid sample for analysis. For a thoracentesis, a doctor will insert a fine needle to remove fluid buildup in the chest.
The most common system used to determine pleural mesothelioma stage is the Tumor, Node, Metastasis or TNM staging system. Doctors will use the system to score a specific area of the body based on the size of the tumor, if the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes and if the cancer has spread to distant organs.
Pleural mesothelioma is typically treated with a multimodal approach, combining standard treatments like surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. A pleural mesothelioma treatment plan will largely depend on the cell type and stage of disease. Generally, treatment plans are not intended to cure the disease.
Mesothelioma surgery is common for pleural mesothelioma patients. The surgery may be aggressive with the goal of extending life expectancy, or less aggressive with the goal of palliating symptoms (relieving discomfort).
Surgery may be an option for early-stage malignant pleural mesothelioma patients. Pleurectomy/decortication (P/D) is one common surgical option that involves removal of the lining of the lung and chest wall, as well as other impacted tissues and organs.
Another option is an extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP). The more aggressive procedure includes removing the affected lung, part of the diaphragm and the linings of the heart and lungs. Recent clinical trials have found these surgeries can extend life expectancy to around three years, especially when applied multimodally with chemotherapy and/or radiation.
When determining treatment for pleural mesothelioma, patients should consider the cost. Reports show one course of treatment with Alimta can cost upwards of $50,000, while surgeries like a pneumonectomy can cost at least $17,000.
Because malignant pleural mesothelioma comprises the majority of mesothelioma cases, most experimental treatment options focus on this specific type. Promising treatments like immunotherapy, gene therapy and photodynamic therapy have shown early success in extending life expectancy in various clinical trials.
Jhavar S, Pruszynski J, et al. Intensity modulated radiation therapy after extra-pleural pneumonectomy for malignant pleural mesothelioma is feasible without fatal pulmonary toxicity and provides good survival. Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Oncology. March 2017. doi: 10.1111/ajco.12680
Sugarbaker DJ, Richards WG, et al. Extrapleural pneumonectomy in the treatment of epithelioid malignant pleural mesothelioma: novel prognostic implications of combined N1 and N2 nodal involvement based on experience in 529 patients. Annals of Surgery. October 2014;260(4):577-582. doi: 10.1097/SLA.0000000000000903
Pleural mesothelioma is a cancer of the lung lining, known as the pleura, and is caused by asbestos exposure. Symptoms include chest pain, coughing and shortness of breath. Treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation or a combination of therapies.
Our team of Patient Advocates includes a medical doctor, a registered nurse, health services administrators, veterans, VA-accredited Claims Agents, an oncology patient navigator and hospice care expert. Their combined expertise means we help any mesothelioma patient or loved one through every step of their cancer journey.
More than 30 contributors, including mesothelioma doctors, survivors, health care professionals and other experts, have peer-reviewed our website and written unique research-driven articles to ensure you get the highest-quality medical and health information.
Malignant pleural mesothelioma is a cancer caused by asbestos exposure that develops in the outer lung lining, or pleura. This thin membrane protects and lines the lungs and chest cavity. Inhaling asbestos fibers causes inflammation, scarring and cancer within the pleura.
Pleural mesothelioma is the most common type of mesothelioma cancer, accounting for 70% to 79% of cases. Each year, doctors diagnose more than 3,000 new patients with mesothelioma in the United States.
The sharp and pointed asbestos fibers are like needles that become stuck in the lungs. Over time, asbestos fibers migrate to the pleural lining. The constant irritation causes scar tissue and DNA mutations which lead to cancer.
Airway irritation can cause excess fluid in the chest. This is known as a pleural effusion. The fluid builds up between the two layers of the pleura. A little fluid between the pleural layers is healthy. Too much puts pressure on the lungs, causing chest pain that worsens when you cough or take deep breaths.
Scarring causes large areas of the pleura to become thicker and stiff. Breathing may become difficult and painful. Pleural thickening around both lungs is often a sign of significant asbestos exposure. Repeated pleural effusions can worsen pleural thickening as scar tissue develops. 041b061a72