Effusion is the escape of fluid from a vessel into a body cavity. In some cases, mesothelioma sufferers may have certain types of effusion due to their exposure to asbestos fibers, pleural effusion being one of the more common types of effusion.
Pleural effusion happens when an increase of fluid is present between the two membranes that surround the lungs, known as the pleura. When the fluid exceeds the fluid absorption level, pleural effusions occur. The pleura provide protection for the lungs and chest cavity.
Symptoms of pleural effusion sometimes include the following:
The presence of fluid is usually not detected by a routine checkup because the amount of fluids is usually very small. However, when certain disorders happen, the pleural fluid increases and may buildup causing pulmonary symptoms and signs. Once the buildup of fluid occurs, a diagnosis is required.
If pleural effusion is suspected, then confirmation needs to be established with a chest x-ray. Ultrasound is also helpful in locating small amounts or collections of isolated pockets of fluid. Chest CT is also used and is very helpful in distinguishing between parenchymal and pleural disease. Chest CT will help to show pleural thickening, pleural based mass, loculecollections of fluid, or pleural calcification.
Effusion is a serious symptom of mesothelioma that may lead to other symptoms of mesothelioma cancers. Individuals that suspect an effusion must seek immediate medical attention.