Pleural mesothelioma is the most common form of mesothelioma cancer, and it develops in the lining of the lungs, which is called the pleural membrane (or pleura). Like all types of mesothelioma, pleural mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos and develops when asbestos fibers become lodged between cells.
The pleural membrane is divided into two layers, which provide support and protection for the lungs and chest cavity. There is an outer layer, or parietal layer, that lines the diaphragm and chest cavity. There is also an inner layer, or visceral layer, that covers the lungs. Pleural mesothelioma usually develops in one of the two layers but can spread to the other layer, which can make the prognosis poorer for the patient.
Common symptoms of pleural mesothelioma may include:
These symptoms are generally caused by the buildup of fluid, a result of the thickening of the pleural membrane, which puts pressure on the lungs and respiratory system in general.
Pleural mesothelioma can be difficult to diagnose, since symptoms are typically latent and may not arise until many years after the initial exposure to asbestos occurs. These symptoms may often be confused with other conditions, such as pneumonia, which can also delay the diagnosis.
Treatment options for pleural mesothelioma typically include: surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. In most cases, patients will receive a combination of two or more of these types of treatment. With early detection, surgery can be performed to remove localized tumors, and when followed by chemotherapy or radiation therapy, it can be an effective treatment if the cancer has not spread beyond localized sections of the lungs.
Typically, there are three main options for patients who have pleural mesothelioma: surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Sometimes, a combination of two or more of these treatment options may be the most effective course of action. Since pleural mesothelioma is the most common form of the disease, there are new drugs, detection techniques and alternative treatment options being researched.
It is important to speak with your primary care physician about all of your options if you have been diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma.
With years of experience handling mesothelioma cases for patients and families in California, we can explain your legal options regarding mesothelioma and asbestos exposure. The law firm of Kaiser Gornick LLP provides personalized and knowledgeable representation to its clients.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma and you would like to speak with an attorney, schedule a free consultation by calling our San Francisco Bay Area offices toll free.