Pleural Mesothelioma is the most common type of malignant mesothelioma (accounting for an approximate 75% of all documented cases of the disease) and affects the section of the mesothelium called the pleura. Although the most common type of malignant mesothelioma, the disease is still somewhat of a rarity.
As a result, pleural mesothelioma is often confused with other types of diseases, such as lung cancer and viral pneumonia.
Lung cancer can be caused by asbestos (asbestos lung cancer), though it differs from pleural mesothelioma in that it is a malignancy of the lung tissue itself, as opposed to pleural mesothelioma which is a malignancy of the tissue casing of the lungs. Viral pneumonia shares certain symptomatic similarities with pleural mesothelioma and is often misdiagnosed as such.
The most common presenting symptom of pleural malignant mesothelioma is chronic chest pain. A buildup of fluid inside the pleural space can cause severe and chronic chest pains; this is called pleural effusion. Steps can be taken to drain the fluid and relieve the pain (with the possibility of recurrence) or surgery can be performed to close the pleural space (with virtually no possibility of recurrence). Some of the other notable symptoms associated with pleural mesothelioma include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chronic coughing
- Weight loss
Prognosis in this disease is difficult to assess consistently because there is great variability in the time before diagnosis and the rate of disease progression. In large studies of pleural mesothelioma patients, important prognostic factors were found to be stage, age, performance status, and histology. Histology means the specific type of mesothelioma cancer cells that are found. Various surgical procedures may be possible in selected patients. They typically provide long-term survival without cure.
For patients treated with aggressive surgical approaches, factors associated with improved long-term survival include epithelial histology, no cancer found in the lymph nodes, and negative surgical margins. That means that the surgeons were able to remove all of the cancer, as far as they can tell, and there is a margin of healthy tissue around the tumor that they removed. For those patients treated with aggressive surgical approaches, nodal status is an important prognostic factor. In other words, if you had cancer in your lymph nodes your prognosis is worse than if no cancer was found in the nodes.
Median survival has been reported as 16 months from date of diagnosis for patients with malignant pleural disease confined to the pleura, and 5 months from date of diagnosis for patients with extensive disease. In some instances the tumor grows through the diaphragm making the site of origin difficult to assess. The diaphragm is the thin muscle that separates the lungs from the abdomen. The diaphragm helps you breathe. Cautious interpretation of treatment results with this disease is important because of the selection differences among series. Patient selection can influence the outcomes of clinic trials. Effusions, both pleural and peritoneal, represent major symptomatic problems for at least two-thirds of patients (the National Cancer Institute has a statement on Cardiopulmonary Syndromes for more information on this subject).
Staging of Pleural Mesothelioma
Patients with stage I disease have a significantly better prognosis than those with more advanced stages. Because of the relative rarity of this disease, exact survival information based upon stage is limited. A proposed staging system based upon thoracic surgery principles and clinical data is shown below. It is a modification of an older system. Other staging systems that have been employed include the current international TNM staging system.
- Stage I: Disease confined within the capsule of the parietal pleura (i.e., ipsilateral (on the same side) pleura, lung, pericardium, and diaphragm).
- Stage II: All of stage I with positive intrathoracic (N1 or N2) lymph nodes.
- Stage III: Local extension of disease into the following areas, e.g., chest wall or mediastinum, heart or through the diaphragm or peritoneum, with or without extrathoracic (outside of the thorax) or contralateral (on the opposite side of) (N3) lymph node involvement.
- Stage IV: Distant metastatic disease, meaning spread of the cancer to distant sites.
These stages are then put into two groups: Localized malignant mesothelioma, which is defined as stage I described above; and advanced malignant mesothelioma which includes stages II, III, and IV above. In practice, mesothelioma is generally categorized as either localized or advanced and the stage numbers like stage II or III are not used.
Treatment Option for Pleural Mesothelioma
Standard treatment for all but localized mesothelioma is generally not curative. Although some patients will experience long-term survival with aggressive treatment approaches, it remains unclear if overall survival has been significantly altered by the different treatment modalities or by combinations of modalities. Surgery and chemotherapy are examples of different treatment modalities. Extrapleural pneumonectomy in selected patients with early stage disease may improve recurrence-free survival, but its impact on overall survival is unknown. Extrapleural pneumonectomy is surgery to remove a diseased lung, part of the pericardium (membrane covering the heart), part of the diaphragm (muscle between the lungs and the abdomen), and part of the parietal pleura (membrane lining the chest). Pleurectomy (removing the pleura) and decortication (removal of part or all of the external surface of an organ) can provide relief from symptomatic effusions, discomfort caused by tumor burden, and pain caused by invasive tumor. Operative mortality from pleurectomy/decortication is less than 2%, while mortality from extrapleural pneumonectomy has ranged from 6% to 30%. Given the high mortality rate from a pneumonectomy, it is important to find a surgeon who has significant experience in doing such an operation. See our list of mesothelioma specialists to find experienced surgeons .
The addition of radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy following surgical intervention has not demonstrated improved survival. The use of radiation therapy in pleural mesothelioma has been shown to alleviate pain in the majority of patients treated; however, the duration of symptom control is short-lived. Single-agent and combination chemotherapy have been evaluated in single and combined modality studies. The most studied agent is doxorubicin, which has produced partial responses in approximately 15% to 20% of patients studied. Some combination chemotherapy regimens have been reported to have higher response rates in small phase II trials; however, the toxic effects reported are also higher, and there is no evidence that combination regimens result in longer survival or longer control of symptoms. Recurrent pleural effusions may be treated with pleural sclerosing procedures. However, the efficacy of these procedures depends on the bulk of the tumor. If the tumor is too large they may not be helpful.
Mesothelioma Lawyers Experience
Mesothelioma Lawyers and Attorneys that we work with concentrate only on mesothelioma cases. We have experience placing people with experienced mesothelioma lawyers for eleven years.
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We help mesothelioma patients and their families get in touch with legal and medical professionals. We help keep the public aware of new discoveries in treatments for Mesothelioma and Asbestos cancers.
Mesothelioma Lawyers Choices
Deciding which law firm and lawyer to represent you and your case is very important. Choosing the right lawyer will also be important to your settlement. You are entitled to an experienced mesothelioma lawyer who has a track record of success in asbestos lawsuits.
Loss of A Loved One
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or a family member has died as a result, you may be entitled to recover compensation from the companies that made these asbestos products.
Filing a Mesothelioma Asbestos Lawsuit
It is not uncommon for there to be 10-20 parties that are named in an asbestos lawsuit that are located across the United States. For example, a worker in California may have been exposed to asbestos from asbestos products shipped from Libby, Montana or from an iron ore plant in St. Paul Minnesota. This is why it is very important to obtain an experienced mesothelioma lawyer that knows all of the companies in each state who have responsibility for your asbestos exposure.
Our Personal Injury Claims Center can refer you to an experienced mesothelioma lawyer in who has successfully settled mesothelioma cases.
We help mesothelioma patients and families make educated decisions about how to proceed with filing mesothelioma claims. Those dealing with mesothelioma cancers face a number of challenges, including the tremendous costs of treatment.
If you were unknowingly exposed to harmful levels of asbestos, you have legal rights and there is compensation help available for you.
Every year, thousands of people die or become ill due to the negligence of asbestos manufacturers. If this has happened to you or a loved one, you should contact a mesothelioma attorney as soon as possible. You may have been powerless to prevent current medical problems, but you do have legal options. Hiring a lawyer with extensive experience and knowledge of mesothelioma claims can help you receive compensation from those responsible.
Mesothelioma, which is almost exclusively caused by asbestos exposure, and other asbestos-related illnesses are attributed to negligence because asbestos companies knew about the associated health risks and decided not to tell employees or leak this information to the general public. As early as the 1920s asbestos companies were completely aware that their product not only caused harm to human health, but that it held the potential to claim the lives of those exposed to the substance.
We have helped many families get experienced legal and medical help for their mesothelioma cancer and asbestos cancer cases. We will actually walk you though the process of contacting an experienced mesothelioma lawyer that we have worked with to get you the best possible settlement for your mesothelioma claim.
We connect you with experienced Mesothelioma lawyers who have successfully tried cases in your state.
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You May Be Entitled To Monetary Compensation
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As a result, those with mesothelioma have legal options and are allowed to seek compensation through the court system because of these criminal actions. Filing a claim against the entity responsible for your asbestos exposure will not only bring justice to the corrupt asbestos industry, it will also afford the opportunity to be compensated for the costs, as well as pain and suffering, associated with asbestos-induced illness. The following include some of the expenses for which you can pursue compensation:
- Lost wages
- Medical bills
- Group support for you and your loved ones
- Funeral expenses
- Travel expenses relating to medical treatments
- Expenses not covered by health insurance
New Mesothelioma Cases
It has been well documented for many years that asbestos exposure can result in the development of deadly cancers, particularly Mesothelioma.
There are currently about 3000 new cases of Mesothelioma diagnosed per year, mostly in men over the age of 40. Mesothelioma has a latency period of 20 to 50 years after the first exposure to asbestos. It is estimated that there will be about 250,000 cases of Mesothelioma before 2020.
During the 20th century, some 30 million tons of asbestos were used in industrial sites, homes, schools, shipyards and commercial buildings in the U. S.
More than 700,000 people have filed claims against more than 6,000 Asbestos companies.
These same companies knew of the dangers for many years before ever warning the public of those risks. It is thought that around eight million people in the United States have been exposed to asbestos over the past half a century, and many more cases – are expected to be reported in the next 25 years.
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