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Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma can be take different forms.  Once specific form is malignant pleural mesothelioma. This is different from benign mesothelioma which is much less dangerous.  Malignant pleural mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that is an uncontrolled growth of a tumor in the sac lining of the chest or abdominal cavity. When pleural mesothelioma becomes malignant and starts spreading it cause the cells to start invading the nearby organs and damaging them leading to dangerous complications.  This type of mesothelioma is the most common and accounts for nearly 70% of all cases.  Generally it is due to exposure to asbestos over 20 years ago.

In order for doctors to diagnosis a person with pleural mesothelioma they will look for early symptoms like shortness of breath, difficulty swallowing and coughing up blood.  Because these are general cancer symptoms, it is rare to receive an early diagnosis of pleural mesothelioma.  More commonly a doctor will need to do a full medical history and look for exposure to asbestos in the last 20-30 years.  The doctor will use medical scans like a CT scan or CAT scan and MRI scans.  Using this prelimary research they will decide whether a biopsy is needed.  If there is enough evidence, they will use a needle to to biopsy the tissue of the sac lining and remove some fluid for testing.

Once the doctor has made a diagnosis of malignant pleural mesothelioma they will treat the patient by suregy (either pallitive, pleurectomy surgery or extrapleural pneumonectomy), radiation therapy which uses x-rays to kill the malignant area or chemotherapy (also known as a systemic treatment).  Click here for more information about mesothelioma treatment.

There are also several clinical trials dealing with malignant mesothelioma.  The British Thoracic Society is currently recruiting patients with epithelial mesothelioma, localized malignant mesothelioma, advanced malignant mesothelioma, and others to test a possible new Phase III trial to compare the effectiveness of active symptom control for patients who have malignant pleural mesothelioma.  Click here for more information about research articles and clinical trials.


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