Pleural mesothelioma is a form of cancer that affects the pleura of the lungs. The pleura is the membrane that covers the lungs and lines the thoracic cavity. Pleural mesothelioma is much more common than other forms of mesothelioma.
Pleural mesothelioma is strongly correlated with asbestos exposure. The prognosis for most patients with this condition is not good. The cancer has usually spread by the time most people notice the symptoms. That is why it is often difficult for doctors to treat this condition.
Furthermore, it is important to note that many people do not develop pleural mesothelioma until several years after they were exposed to mesothelioma. Studies have shown that the latency period is longer for females than it is males. The mean latency period for males is 47.9 years whereas the mean latency period for females is 53.3 years.
The good news is that the prognosis is usually a lot better if the condition is detected early. Below are some of the most common signs of pleural mesothelioma:
- Chronic Cough
In 2011, there was a survey taken that involved 221 patients who had been diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma. The survey showed that 36% of the patients had suffered from chronic cough. This is a symptom that people can very easily overlook because there are a number of conditions that can cause a person to develop a chronic cough.
- Chest Pain
Chest pain is another one of the most common symptoms that people with pleural mesothelioma experience. In fact, the 2011 survey showed that 64%of pleural mesothelioma patients suffered from chest pain. Chest pain can be caused by one of several conditions. However, pleural mesothelioma patients typically develop pain underneath their ribcage.
- Shortness Of Breath
As the cancer begins to affect more of the pleural tissue, a person is very likely to experience shortness of breath. It is estimated that 80% of patients with pleural mesothelioma will experience shortness of breath.
- Unexplained Weight Loss
It is estimated that three out of 10 patients with pleural mesothelioma experienced unexplained weight loss. This is another symptom that people can very easily overlook. There are hundreds of medical conditions that can cause a person to experience unexplained weight loss.
Unexplained weight loss, shortness of breath, chest pain, and chronic cough are just a few of the many symptoms that a person with pleural mesothelioma may experience. People who suspect that they have this condition should see their physician as soon as possible.