Pleural mesothelioma, which doctors sometimes call “mesothelioma of the pleuras,”? is a cancer that affects the lining around the lungs. While there are a total of three mesothelioma types, pleural mesothelioma is the most common. In fact, pleural mesothelioma accounts for about 80% of all mesothelioma cases worldwide.

What Causes Pleural Mesothelioma?

Unlike lung cancer, pleural mesothelioma has no relation to smoking. In fact, pleural mesothelioma only has one known cause: asbestos exposure. Asbestos is a natural mineral with long, thin fibers that can separate and break off. When inhaled, asbestos fibers lodge themselves in the body and may cause various health problems.

With pleural mesothelioma, inhaled asbestos fibers are believed to become imbedded in the lining surrounding the lungs. These fibers remain imbedded in the lung lining for years, creating inflammation, which eventually turns into cancerous tumors. These tumors often grow quickly in size and can cover the entire lung cavity, making it very difficult to breathe and causing excruciating pain. Also, in the advanced pleural mesothelioma stages, the cancer may spread to other nearby organs, including the heart, abdomen, and lymph nodes.

In some cases, people who have inhaled asbestos fibers will first develop the less-severe condition called asbestosis, followed by pleural mesothelioma several years later. Both males and females of all ages can develop pleural mesothelioma. However, pleural mesothelioma is most commonly found in men between 50 and 70 years old. This is probably the case because men around this age are more likely to have worked at a location where asbestos was present.

Pleural Mesothelioma Symptoms

The lung inflammation associated with pleural mesothelioma causes fluid to form and remain in the lungs. This fluid is what causes the most common side effects associated with pleural mesothelioma, which are:

  • Difficulty in breathing (dyspnea) is the most common complaint
  • Chest discomfort
  • Chest pain
  • Cough
  • Easy fatigability
  • Fever

Are you or a family member suffering from pleural mesothelioma? Contact our experienced attorneys today to learn more about your legal rights and options.

Published November 17, 2011 by