Pleural Mesothelioma is the most common form of mesothelioma. Pleural mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that develops as a result of the inhalation of asbestos particles. Exposure to asbestos particles can occur in many places. However, those most at risk of developing pleural mesothelioma are those individuals who worked in industries that heavily utilized asbestos. This heavy utilization occurred during the period from the 1940s through to the early seventies. Asbestos was heavily utilized by the military, construction, shipbuilding and paper milling industries. Since then, many legislations have been passed to curtail the use of asbestos and its by product due its ability to cause mesothelioma.
To be able to understand the prognosis of pleural mesothelioma made by doctors, we must first understand how the disease develops. The development of pleural mesothelioma is a slow process usually taking thirty to fifty years before it is actually diagnosed. However, the process starts from the first exposure to airborne asbestos particles. These asbestos particles enter the lungs and become wedged into its tissues. They then break down into smaller pieces and travel through to the pleura, which is a protective layer surrounding the lungs. Here they remain and interact with the cells of the pleura. Upon seeing foreign bodies in its vicinity, the cell defense system activates and sets of a chemical reaction between the asbestos particles and itself. This results in uncontrolled growth of these cells causing them to become cancerous.
Unfortunately for many mesothelioma victims, the symptoms of pleural mesothelioma during its development stages are similar to other general respiratory illnesses. As a result, pleural mesothelioma victims will experience chest pains during breathing, persistent dry coughing, development of lumps under the skin in the area of the chest, shortness of breath, fatigue and unexplained weight loss. This often sends doctors off on the wrong route and treating pleural mesothelioma victims for other illnesses rather than tackling the growing tumor in the mesothelium. This makes the prognosis of victims of pleural mesothelioma very bad, as more than often, the disease is usually discovered when the disease is in an advanced and irreversible stage.
There is a constant struggle to improve the prognosis of pleural mesothelioma. The success of this thrust is based at the foot of new technology where we see doctors turning to the use of CT scans, X-rays and ultrasound for early detection. By detecting the disease earlier, they can significantly improve the life expectancy of patients through medication, chemotherapy, surgery, dieting and exercise.
The prognosis of pleural mesothelioma victims depend on various factors. Doctors will based their assessment on how soon pleural mesothelioma was discovered, the growth of the tumor, the age of the individual, their physical condition and the types of treatment that can be administered. Other peripheral factors include if the patient is a heavy smoker and the type of support system they have around them.