Pleural mesothelioma is a rare and slow-growing cancer that develops in the protective lining of the lungs called the pleura. The most common form of mesothelioma, it accounts for about 75 percent of all cases. Pleural mesothelioma typically occurs as a result of inhaled asbestos – a set of naturally occurring, heat-resistant fibrous minerals that were used in the construction of many commercial and residential buildings prior to the 1980s. Government legislation has significantly reduced the likelihood of long-term workplace asbestos exposure, although some degree of risk may still remain for employees in the construction, electrical, mining, firefighting, military and shipbuilding industries.
What are the symptoms of pleural mesothelioma?
The symptoms of pleural mesothelioma are often vague or frequently associated with less serious conditions. Common symptoms include:
- Low back pain
- Shortness of breath
- A dry, sharp cough
- Excessive sweating
- Unexplained weight loss
- Coughing up blood
- Swelling in the face or arms
- Lumps of tissue around the chest
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, mesothelioma likely isn’t to blame. Still, it is important to promptly speak with your physician, especially if you have been exposed to asbestos in the past or work in an at-risk industry.
How is pleural mesothelioma treated?
There is currently no cure for pleural mesothelioma, but there are multiple research initiatives focused on improving treatments and outcomes for patients with this cancer. The goal of pleural mesothelioma treatment is to reduce symptoms and slow the progression of the disease, usually through a combination of chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery to remove diseased portions of a lung and its lining.
Moffitt Cancer Center’s Mesothelioma Research and Treatment Center offers the latest advances in treatment and supportive care to patients with pleural mesothelioma. As a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, we stand at the forefront of mesothelioma research and offer a robust clinical trial program that gives eligible patients access to breakthrough treatments before those options are made widely available. Moffitt is currently the only NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center based in Florida.