Top 4 Signs You Have Pleural Mesothelioma
Nicole Winch | August 19, 2021
Mesothelioma is a rare cancer that is often hard to detect because many patients are unaware of what symptoms to look for. Unfortunately, most people have no idea they are suffering from such a serious disease until the tumors have spread to other organs.
While early detection is important, it is also challenging and ultimately one of the toughest parts of fighting mesothelioma. Oftentimes, patients overlook their symptoms and think they have other common health issues. They may also not know the difference between symptoms of pleural mesothelioma and peritoneal mesothelioma.
You may be wondering: what are the most common signs of pleural mesothelioma? This is a recurring question asked by many people who have been exposed to asbestos.
Patients may find they experience some signs of discomfort in their everyday routine. However, to detect main symptoms, your doctor or specialist will run a series of tests and scans.
Receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis in the early stages, may make you eligible for surgery and increase your chances of survival.
Here are four early signs of pleural mesothelioma that you should be aware of.
1. Pleural Effusions
According to the Cleveland Clinic, pleural effusions are sometimes referred to as “water on the lungs.” It is a buildup of fluid between your lungs and chest cavity. The pleura is a thin membrane that lines the lungs and is also the place where mesothelioma forms.
As tumors develop, they take up space in this narrow lining of tissue and push fluid into pockets. A doctor will be able to notice pleural effusions on an X-ray or CT scan. Pleural effusions are the first sign of pleural mesothelioma.
2. Pleural Thickening
Pleural thickening is the thickening of the lung lining, or pleura. Scar tissue forms as the result of asbestos fibers puncturing the mesothelial cell lining.
Accumulating scar tissue can become so thick that it impairs the patient’s lungs from properly expanding. Mesothelioma forms within this scar tissue and can cause inflammation of the tissue.
This is another sign of pleural mesothelioma and can also be seen through X-rays or CT scans.
3. Chest Pain
Unfortunately, many people are unaware they have pleural effusions or pleural thickening until they get scans. Both of these conditions cause discomfort which leads to concerned patients making an appointment with their doctor.
Chest pain is another main symptom as a result of pleural effusions or thickening tissue. After the pleural space is taken up with tumors, people may start to feel pressure against the chest wall.
4. Shortness of Breath
The pleura is a membrane lining which provides a cushion between the lungs and chest wall, allowing expansion and contraction of these organs. Pleural thickening and pleural effusions also have an influence on respiratory functions.
When tumors invade the pleural cavity, the lungs have trouble expanding. This can make it hard for a patient to experience normal respiratory function and causes issues with their breathing.
Shortness of breath cannot be detected on any imaging scans, as it is a result of an increased amount of tumors. Most patients with shortness of breath will visit their physician with a cause for concern.
Visiting your doctor can be the first step in finding more serious symptoms in diagnosing your pleural mesothelioma.
- Causes of MesotheliomaAbramson Cancer Center Retrieved from: https://www.pennmedicine.org/cancer/types-of-cancer/mesothelioma/causes. Accessed: 07/12/21.
- Signs and Symptoms of MesotheliomaAmerican Cancer Society Retrieved from: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/malignant-mesothelioma/detection-diagnosis-staging/signs-symptoms.html. Accessed: 07/12/21.
- Pleural Effusion Causes, Signs & TreatmentCleveland Clinic Retrieved from: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/17373-pleural-effusion-causes-signs--treatment. Accessed: 07/12/21.