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Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma Overview

HomeMesotheliomaMalignant Pleural Mesothelioma Overview

Mesothelioma is rare cancer caused by the development of cancer cells in the mesothelium, a protective sac covering the body’s internal organs. Cases commonly develop in the pleura, the thin membrane covering the lungs, or peritoneum, the thin membrane covering the organs in the abdomen. Asbestos exposure is the leading risk factor for mesothelioma.

Tumors can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). For example, malignant pleural mesothelioma is caused by the development of cancer cells in the pleura. People who work in jobs that lead to inhalation or swallowing of asbestos are more prone to developing this cancer. Its symptoms, however, may take a long time to appear after asbestos exposure.

Malignant pleural mesothelioma may be caused by other risk factors like contact with people with asbestos exposure or a specific type of virus.

Pain in the chest or shortness of breath are symptoms of malignant pleural mesothelioma. Since it is similar to lung cancer, specific tests need to be performed for its accurate diagnosis. Therefore, tests like complete physical exam and medical history, chest X-ray and Complete blood count (CBC), sedimentation rate, biopsy, fine-needle aspiration biopsy, and cytologic exam are performed.

For diagnosis, tests are performed by making an incision in the wall of the respective organ and inserting the required device through it for diagnosis, like thoracoscopy (using thoracoscope) and Peritoneoscopy (using peritonesoscope). Laparotomy and Thoracotomy involve making incisions in the organ’s wall for finding any disease signs. Bronchoscopy is performed using a bronchoscope inserted into the trachea and lungs through the nose or mouth.

Malignant pleural mesothelioma treatment may be done by surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy. However, prognosis or chance of recovery is affected by factors like a stage, tumor size, etc.

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