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Pleural mesothelioma is a rare malignant tumour affecting the pleura, the lining which surrounds each lung and the chest’s internal walls. The main cause of pleural mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos, a mineral which was often used for insulation or roofing. When it is extracted or removed, asbestos releases a fine dust that, if breathed in, can cause serious health damage, such as in case of pleural mesothelioma. This condition may appear many years after exposure to asbestos.
Unfortunately the outlook for mesothelioma tends to be poor, because it doesn't usually cause any obvious symptoms until late on, when tumour cells have already spread over to other organs and tissues.
Symptoms of mesothelioma in the lining of the lungs include:
The doctor will start by looking at your medical history. In order to get an accurate diagnosis, you may require the following tests:
Exposure to asbestos is the main cause of pleural mesothelioma. Other risk factors include:
Treatment depends on what stage the tumour has reached and, more generally, your general state of health. In the modern day, pleural mesothelioma can be treated with surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
Pleural mesothelioma is treated by a team general surgeons, thoracic surgeons, oncologists and pulmonologists.