What Is Pleural Mesothelioma?

What Is Pleural Mesothelioma?

Pleural mesothelioma is cancer that develops in the tissue lining the chest cavity and the lungs. It is the most common type of mesothelioma, making up about 75 percent of the cases. Other cases would include mesothelioma affecting the heart, abdomen, and male testicles.

Although there is no cure for this often fatal disease, patients do have treatment options to help extend their lives and limit their pain and suffering.

What is the leading cause of Pleural Mesothelioma?

The only known cause of pleural mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration warns that asbestos can be found in typical industrial and household building materials such as:

  • Pumps, Valves, Boilers, and Turbines
  • Roofing and siding shingles
  • Floor Tiles
  • Plaster, cement, putty, and caulk
  • Ceiling tiles spray-on coatings
  • Insulation
  • Gaskets and Packing
  • Automotive brakes and clutches
  • Lab Equipment


People who worked in certain occupations — particularly industrial workers, construction workers, electricians, mechanics, and veterans — face higher risks of developing pleural mesothelioma due to their increased exposure to asbestos.

However, pleural mesothelioma has also been diagnosed in those with limited asbestos exposure, such as family members who come into contact with microscopic asbestos fibers transferred from loved ones’ clothes or uniforms.

Although the U.S. government has recognized since 1918 that asbestos posed a health risk to workers, the fight to completely ban asbestos corporations have blocked asbestos.

The toxic material can still be found in buildings throughout New York City, New York State and the Tri-state area.

How does pleural mesothelioma develop?

People who work directly with or around materials containing asbestos are at risk of inhaling microscopic asbestos fibers. These fibers can lodge in the mesothelium tissue lining the chest cavity and the lungs.

This lining, called the pleura, coats the lungs and makes it easy for a person to breathe by allowing the lungs to expand and contract comfortably. A vast majority of malignant mesothelioma cases originate in the pleura.

Once a person is exposed to asbestos, the tiny fibers can be lodged in their body for years, causing irritation and scarring in the tissue.

It can take anywhere from 15 to 60 years for pleural mesothelioma to develop, which is why a diagnosis may come as a shock to victims who were exposed decades earlier.

What are the common symptoms?

Pleural mesothelioma symptoms are similar to symptoms experienced with less severe respiratory and other diseases, making cancer challenging to diagnose. Common pleural mesothelioma symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Fluid build-up around the lungs, also known as pleural effusion
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Chronic, dry or a painful cough
  • Loss of appetite or difficulty swallowing
  • Lumps under the skin of the chest
  • Fatigue

If you or a loved one has been exposed to asbestos and is experiencing any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor immediately and explain your history with asbestos.

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