Cancer of the Pleural Lining Mesothelioma: Understanding the Disease

The Silent Killer: What is Mesothelioma?

Greetings, dear readers! Today, we will discuss a serious disease that has affected many individuals around the world – mesothelioma. It is a rare yet deadly form of cancer that affects the pleural lining of the lungs, peritoneum, and pericardium. This cancer is often caused by the exposure to asbestos fibers present in many industrial products and construction materials.

Unfortunately, the symptoms of mesothelioma are not apparent until the disease has extensively progressed. This makes the diagnosis and treatment of the disease more challenging for physicians and patients alike. In this article, we will provide a comprehensive understanding of mesothelioma, its causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options to assist you in making better and informed decisions.

Cancer of the Pleural Lining Mesothelioma: What You Need to Know

The pleural lining surrounds the lungs and is composed of two thin layers – the visceral and parietal pleura. Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that develops when cancerous cells form in the pleural lining. As previously mentioned, the primary cause of mesothelioma is the exposure to asbestos.

There are different types of mesothelioma based on the location of the disease. The most common type of mesothelioma is pleural mesothelioma, which affects the pleura. Although rare, mesothelioma can also affect the peritoneum or abdominal lining, pericardium, or lining of the heart, and the tunica vaginalis testis, or the lining surrounding the testicles.

When asbestos is inhaled, tiny fibers are deposited in the lungs, which over time can cause inflammation and scarring that can lead to mesothelioma. These tiny fibers can also travel to other parts of the body, such as the abdomen, where they can cause peritoneal mesothelioma.

How Mesothelioma Develops

Mesothelioma usually develops over a long period, sometimes up to 60 years after asbestos exposure. The disease can develop in three stages:

Stage Description
Stage 1 The cancerous cells are only present in the pleural lining and have not spread.
Stage 2 The cancerous cells have spread to nearby lymph nodes and the chest wall.
Stage 3 The cancer has spread to distant parts of the body, such as the liver or bones.

The Common Symptoms of Mesothelioma

The symptoms of mesothelioma vary according to the stage of the disease. In the early stages of mesothelioma, patients may experience mild or no symptoms, which can progress as the disease advances. Some of the most common symptoms of mesothelioma include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Persistent coughing
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Persistent fever
  • Night Sweats
  • Weight loss

Diagnosis of Mesothelioma

Diagnosing mesothelioma can be challenging because of its location and the non-specific nature of symptoms. If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, it is essential to inform your doctor about your possible asbestos exposure.

The diagnosis of mesothelioma usually begins with a physical examination and an inquiry into the patient’s history of asbestos exposure. A chest x-ray is typically the first imaging test that is performed; however, a CT scan, MRI, or PET scan may be required for a more detailed image to examine the extent of the disease.

Treatment Options Available for Mesothelioma

Treatment options for mesothelioma are determined by several factors, such as the stage of the disease and the patient’s overall health. The most common treatment options for mesothelioma include:

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Immunotherapy

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral composed of thin, fibrous crystals that do not decompose over time. It was commonly used in insulation, roofing, flooring, and many other commercial and industrial applications.

Q2: Is mesothelioma curable?

Mesothelioma is not curable, but early detection and treatment can improve a patient’s quality of life and increase their survival rate.

Q3: Can I still develop mesothelioma if I was only exposed to asbestos for a short time?

Even short-term exposure to asbestos can cause mesothelioma.

Q4: Is mesothelioma contagious?

Mesothelioma is not contagious; it does not spread from person to person.

Q5: What are the risk factors for mesothelioma?

The primary risk factor for mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos.

Q6: How long does it take for mesothelioma to develop after asbestos exposure?

It can take up to 60 years for mesothelioma to develop after asbestos exposure.

Q7: Is mesothelioma hereditary?

There is no evidence that mesothelioma is hereditary; however, exposure to asbestos can increase the risk of developing mesothelioma.

Q8: Can I file a lawsuit if I have mesothelioma?

Yes. People who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure can file a lawsuit against the companies responsible for their exposure.

Q9: Is there any financial assistance available for mesothelioma patients?

Yes. Mesothelioma patients may be eligible for financial assistance and compensation from various sources, such as trust funds and legal settlements.

Q10: What is the life expectancy of a mesothelioma patient?

The life expectancy of a mesothelioma patient depends on several factors but can range from a few months to several years with proper treatment.

Q11: Can I still work if I have mesothelioma?

It depends on the patient’s physical condition and the type of job they have. Some mesothelioma patients may be able to continue working after their diagnosis.

Q12: What measures can I take to prevent mesothelioma?

Avoiding exposure to asbestos is the best way to prevent mesothelioma. If you work in an industry that uses asbestos, use proper protective equipment and follow safety protocols.

Q13: Can I get mesothelioma from secondhand exposure to asbestos?

Yes. Secondhand exposure to asbestos can also cause mesothelioma. Family members of workers who were exposed to asbestos may develop mesothelioma due to their loved ones bringing home asbestos fibers on their clothing or hair.

In Conclusion

Mesothelioma is a rare yet severe form of cancer that can develop in the pleural lining, peritoneum, and pericardium. It is often caused by exposure to asbestos, which can take up to 60 years to develop. As a result, early detection and treatment are essential for better outcomes.

We have discussed various aspects of the disease in this article, such as its causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options. It is our hope that this article has provided you with the necessary information to make informed decisions or seek appropriate medical care.

Take Action

If you think you have been exposed to asbestos, we urge you to seek medical attention immediately. Early diagnosis and treatment can significantly improve your prognosis.

Moreover, if you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure, you may be eligible for financial compensation. Several organizations, such as the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation and the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, provide resources and support for patients with mesothelioma.


The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. Mesothelioma is a complex disease that requires specialized care, and patients should always consult with their physicians for proper diagnosis, treatment, and care.