Most of us are aware of the various causes of lung cancer, but a few are associated with pleural mesothelioma.
I learn about pleural mesothelioma from a distant relative who work in a coal mine! It is a kind of cancer that affect the mesothelium layer of the lungs.
It exposes coal miners to asbestos dust particles, the main factor that leads to the disease.
Because mesothelioma lung cancer take time to develop, people are unaware of the consequences it caused!
It might affect not only coal miners but people who live in the vicinity of these mines.
Another factor is working for long duration in factories and industries where the concentration of asbestos is high.
For information about what excatly is mesothelioma and it’s types, you can read What is mesothelioma cancer?
FACTS ABOUT PLEURAL MESOTHELIOMA
#1. It is sometimes called as mesothelioma lung cancer, because it affect the inner lining of the lungs called the mesothelium.
#2. It is the advanced version of asbestosis and asbestos lung cancer.
#3. It affects, approximately 2000-3000 people are affected with this cancer every year in the United States.
#4. In India, asbestos deposit was found in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Rajasthan.
#5. The domestic consumption of asbestos is high in India because of it’s used in the cement factories.
#6. The symptoms does not appear after 20-40 years after being exposed to asbestos.
#7. Men are more likely to be diagnosed than women.
#8. The common age for diagnosis is 60-70 years.
#9. According to World Health Organisation, 125 million people are exposed to asbestos in their workplace!
#10. Asbestos is one of the most toxic chemicals found which cause pleural mesothelioma.
How Does Asbestos Cause Lung Cancer?
At the point when a man breathes in asbestos, infinitesimal strands of the harmful mineral can move toward becoming held up in their lung tissue.
Over many years, these strands may cause enough hereditary and cell harm to make the lung cells turn malignant.
Regardless of whether somebody creates lung malignant growth, it relies upon a few components.
These elements incorporate in the body, hereditary qualities, smoking history and the term and power of the asbestos introduction.
All asbestos-related maladies have a long dormancy period from the time of introductory to the beginning of side effects.
Asbestos-related lung disease ordinarily takes somewhere in between of 15 and 35 years to create.
The idleness time frame relies upon the level of presentation to asbestos.
It likewise relies upon whether the lungs are influenced by extra cancer-causing agents, for example, those found in tobacco smoke.
Mesothelioma Versus Asbestos-Related Lung Cancer
Exposure to asbestos leads to mesothelioma and asbestos lung cancer. Both the cancer affect the lungs.
The two maladies take a long time to grow but however, just months to spread and metastasize.
The two types of malignant growth include comparable analytic strategies, yet they vary in hazard factors, physical qualities and treatment methods.
Both mesothelioma and asbestos lung cancer have similar symptoms such as chest pain, fatigue, difficulty in breathing and weight loss.
Even though both have similar symptoms, but the differ in physical characteristic but both the cancer affect the inner lining of the lung.
This type of cancer differ entirely from the lung cancer, that most people suffer. Here’s the differences between the two.
PLEURAL MESOTHELIOMA versus LUNG CANCER
Pleural mesothelioma is not considered a typical lung cancer because it is found only at the inner lining of the lung tissue; whereas lung cancer is found at the entire lung itself.
They both originate from different locations but have similar symptoms such as chest pain, weight loss and difficult in breathing but the mode of spread and treatment might be different.
Mesothelioma starts as a tiny tumour and spread slowly through the mesothelial lining of the lung.
Whereas, lung cancer, grow as a lump of masses inside the lung and spread over the whole area.
The main cause of mesothelioma lung cancer is asbestos and the causes of lung cancer is tobacco, smoking and exposure to harmful gases in the environment.
Smoking doesn’t cause any risk factor to mesothelioma but it is a major risk factor to an individual’s of developing lung cancer.
Lung cancer develops fast and has a short life span whereas, mesothelioma develops slowly and has a longer life span.
Mesothelioma is very rare form of cancer cause by inhalation of asbestos whereas lung cancer is a very common form of cancer cause by environmental pollution.
SYMPTOMS OF PLEURAL MESOTHELIOMA
Due to the vague nature of the early symptoms of this disease, it is often misdiagnose with other type of diseases.
Recognized it’s first signs and symptoms is very important, in order to help the patients recovery fast. The most common symptoms are:
- Persistent cough which occurs from time to time
- Shortness in breath
- Chest pain which may be mild to severe
- Fatigue and weakness
- Sudden weight loss
- Loss of appetite and
- Coughing with blood sometimes.
The cancer has four stages and all four stages has different symptoms. The symptoms are:
STAGE I SYMPTOMS
In stage I, the tumour is very low and diagnoses is quite difficult. It can be detected through a routine X-rays.
The main symptoms are chest pain and shortness of breath. These symptoms develop due to the fact that fluids is build up around the lungs and pushing the tumour against the wall of the lung.
This fluids is known as pleural effusion.
STAGE II SYMPTOMS
At this stage, the tumour started to spread beyond the lung lining and into the diaphragm.
Chest pain is increase and could be fell on the upper shoulder and upper abdomen to. Coughing and breathing may be worsen.
STAGE III SYMPTOMS
During stage III, the tumour has increases its boundary and severe chest pain with sudden weight loss is observed.
There is pressure against the wall of the lung making one to feel shortness of breath and tightness in the chest. Persistent coughing sometimes with blood is observed.
STAGE IV SYMPTOMS
This is the final stage of the cancer. From the lung’s lining, it has spread to the entire lung now.
The symptoms are fever, lump under the skin of the chest, severe chest pain, lower back pain and extreme breath shortness that a patient need oxygen.
RELATED TERM USED in ACCORDANCE WITH STAGES
A pleura is a membrane in the lungs which fold back to form a sac called pleural sac.
The first common sign that someone has been exposed to asbestos is indicate, by the thickness on the pleura. This is pleural plagues.
Pleural plague are not cancerous but they may indicate a risk for the formation of the cancer.
The formation and build up of excess fluid between the two layers of the pleura is called pleural effusion.
Pleural effusion build pressure in the lungs and cause chest pain. The pressure will increase during cough. This condition is present in many pleural mesothelioma cases.
When large area of the pleura become stiff; due to thickening, this is known as pleural thickening.
Pleural thickening occur when the asbestos enter the lung’s lining and caused scarring and inflammation.
It makes breathing difficult and painful to breath. Repeated pleural effusion leads to pleural thickening.
Pleural mesothelioma can be diagnosed by imaging and biopsy. But diagnosis is rather difficult because the symptoms are similar to various conditions.
Diagnosis can be done by review the person’s medical history.
The X-ray may be reveal the pleural thickening of the lung, which is the main symptom of the disease.
A CT scan is also done to detect the large amount of fluids present in the lung, which may be pleural effusion.
Cytopathology is also used at the same time to detect the present of abnormal cells in the lung.
A biopsy is needed to confirm the diagnosis for malignant pleural mesothelioma. It is done by thoracoscopy, where the doctor make, a small cut tissue from the chest and insert a tube called thoracoscope in between the ribs.
This procedure allow the doctor to look into the chest tissue and obtained tissue sample.
A key to effective treatment is a correct diagnosis. Make sure that the patient have been diagnosed properly for better treatment.
WHERE TO TREAT?
Treatment can be done at any cancer hospital with specialist in pleural mesothelioma. Palliative and supportive care should be given to the patients.
The objective of palliative care is to relieve pain, improve quality of life and reduce symptoms.
Studies have shown that patients who had palliative care has a better life span than those who do not.
Provide supportive care to all patients so that they can cope the pain and emotional burden caused by the disease.