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Pleural Mesothelioma And Its Symptoms

Pleural mesothelioma is the most common among three categories of mesothelioma cancer affecting people inhaling asbestos filled air for long periods. The loose asbestos fibers enter in the protective membrane of our internal organs known as mesothelium and affect the cells and their functioning. In the case of pleural mesothelioma, the protective lining around lungs and internal chest wall called pleura gets affected.

The pleura consists of one which covers the chest wall called parietal pleura and another which covers the lungs known as visceral pleura. The easy expansion and contraction of lungs is possible because of a fluid present between these two linings. Asbestos which is inhaled enters into the minute passages of the lungs and then the pleura. The consequence is the formation of cancerous cells, due to a chemical reaction which the medical world still cannot explain. The pleura lining becomes thicker and thicker as the cells start dividing unnaturally. Excess fluid also gets accumulated. Breathing process is reduced by the thickening of the pleura resulting in breathlessness.

The first symptom of is of course shortness of breath. Chest pain, weight loss and night sweats follow. The seriousness of the disease is directly related to the number of years a person was exposed to asbestos. The first visible symptoms may come forth only many years after he was exposed to asbestos particles. An added disadvantage here is that physicians may wrongly diagnose the problem, thereby compounding its seriousness. It is advisable that if a person with a history of working with asbestos feels any of these symptoms, he may contact a mesothelioma doctor immediately and get diagnosed properly.

Traditional treatments for pleural mesothelioma are wide and varied, though having limited success. Surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy are popular among traditional treatments. Pleorodesis, pleurectomy, decortication, pneumonectomy and extra pneumonectomy are the five different surgical treatments.

Chemotherapy is the widely accepted medicated treatment. Usage of high energy gamma rays, X-rays or neutrons is involved in radiation therapy. Other options like intra-operative photodynamic therapy, immunotherapy and gene therapy are also resorted. In any case the final success will depend on the determination of the patient and the level of pleural mesothelioma infection.

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