Pleural mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer that affects the lining of the lungs and is almost always linked to asbestos exposure. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was widely used in the manufacturing of industrial products in the past. Although the use of asbestos has been banned in many countries, it still poses a serious health risk to workers in certain industries, such as construction and shipbuilding.
The link between asbestos exposure and pleural mesothelioma is well-established. Asbestos fibers can become lodged in the lining of the lungs, where they cause inflammation and damage to the cells. Over time, this can lead to the development of pleural mesothelioma.
Smoking does not appear to be a risk factor for pleural mesothelioma, but it can worsen the prognosis for those who are diagnosed with the disease. Smoking can also increase the risk of other asbestos-related illnesses, such as asbestosis and lung cancer.
The latency period for pleural mesothelioma is typically between 20 and 50 years, which means that it can take decades for the signs and symptoms to appear. Symptoms of pleural mesothelioma include chest pain, shortness of breath, fever, and weight loss.
Unfortunately, the prognosis for pleural mesothelioma is poor. The average life expectancy is only 12 to 21 months after diagnosis. Treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. However, these treatments are not always successful in providing a cure.
It is important to remember that asbestos exposure is the only known cause of pleural mesothelioma. If you believe that you have been exposed to asbestos, it is important to get tested as soon as possible. Early detection and treatment can improve the prognosis and increase the chances of survival.