Pleural Mesothelioma Attorneys
The most common form of mesothelioma, affecting around three-fourths of those diagnosed with the cancer, pleural mesothelioma attacks the lungs and respiratory areas of the body. The leading cause of this malignant mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos.
Although there is currently no cure for mesothelioma, patients diagnosed with the pleural variety often have a better chance at extended survival. Depending on the stage at which a patient is diagnosed, they may survive for 3 or more years post-diagnosis. Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, and other treatments can add months or even years to one’s life expectancy.
Approximately 2,000 people are diagnosed with this disease in the United States each year. Unfortunately, almost all of them could have been prevented had companies stopped using dangerous asbestos.
Presentation and Classifications of Pleural Mesothelioma
Pleural mesothelioma appears as a firm, grayish tumor that settles on the pleural surfaces that cover the lung and line the inner surface of the chest wall. It also develops hidden nodules and a buildup of fibrous tissue. It may completely blanket the lung with a rind of tumor that can be as thick as five centimeters even though the tumor has only slightly penetrated the bulk of the lung.
During the early stages, the tumor invades the chest wall and the diaphragm. There can also be involvement of the lymph nodes in the area between the lungs. Or, it may spread to the pericardium, the sac lining the heart.
A pleural tumor can be classified by the type of cells it is made of:
- Epithelioid cells are the most common, making up 50 to 60 percent of all cases. These cell types present as elongated nipple-like structures that are uniform in shape. They are less aggressive, meaning this type of pleural mesothelioma has the best prognosis.
- Sarcomatoid cells are the least common. They present as elongated spindle-shaped cells that are irregularly shaped and overlap one another. These growths are the most aggressive, resulting in a poor prognosis.
- Biphasic or mixed cells have both epithelioid and sarcomatoid features.
Who Does Pleural Mesothelioma Affect?
The disease typically affects men, who are 4-5 times more likely to develop it than women according to the Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) database, part of the National Cancer Institute. This database also shows the majority of patients are between 50 and 80 years of age. Because mesothelioma typically develops between 20 and 60 years after the initial asbestos exposure, it is rare in younger populations.
Pleural Mesothelioma Symptoms and Diagnosis
Pleural mesothelioma is often hard to diagnose because its symptoms may be very general; they are often attributed to the flu or another common sickness.
The symptoms of pleural mesothelioma include:
- Shortness of breath
- Pain under the ribs
- Fluid buildup around the lung (pleural effusion)
- Abdominal pain
- Abdominal bloating
- Persistent coughing
- Coughing up blood
- Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
- Unexplained weight loss
- Abnormalities in blood clotting
Most cases are identified via chest X-rays, which can reveal pleural abnormalities in one lung or show pleural effusions, a common comorbidity. Approximately 60% of patients will have a tumor on their right lung; 35% will have a tumor on the left; and 5% present with damage to both lungs.
Imaging tests may catch a pleural mass or widespread thickening of the pleura. Fibrous scar tissue is likely to build up on the pleura and may accompany calcifications and loss of long volume. If the disease has advanced sufficiently, the lung may be encased by a tumorous rind.
Patients who believe they may have pleural mesothelioma should know pleural effusions may occur on their own without the cancer. Often a biopsy of pleural fluid and/or cells is necessary to determine whether a patient has malignant cancer.
Causes of Pleural Mesothelioma
Almost all pleural mesothelioma patients develop the disease as a result of exposure to asbestos at some point in their life. Most of this exposure happened in the workplace, either in an asbestos mine, a factory that used asbestos to manufacture goods, or a job that required employees to work with materials that used asbestos. Microscopic asbestos fibers can easily become airborne, where workers more inhale them. They could also land on a worker’s clothing and result in the secondhand exposure of their family.
Today, asbestos is heavily regulated in the U.S., and the country has spent millions on remodeling buildings to remove floor and ceiling tiles, insulation, and other items that contained asbestos. However, many buildings—including old schools or apartments—may still have dangerous asbestos sources.
Construction and manufacturing companies used asbestos commercially because the silicate minerals found in the material made it heat-resistant, impervious to many kinds of acid damage, and an ideal electrical insulator. Asbestos has been used in various types of insulation for walls and pipes. It was ideal for making bricks and used in mixing cement. Asbestos was also once a key ingredient in making drywall, flooring, roofing, ceiling, and many other uses. Because of its widespread use, many different types of workers were exposed on the job, and others were exposed simply by being in facilities with many asbestos-made materials.
Other Causes of Pleural Mesothelioma
Pleural mesothelioma may also be linked with:
- Exposure to zeolites, a class of fibrous minerals similar to asbestos that can be found in various locations around the world.
- Previous radiation treatment that targeted the chest area.
- SV-40, or simian virus 40, has been linked with mesothelioma. However, more information is needed on how the virus might cause cancer to develop.
- A germline (inherited) mutation in the BAP1 gene.
Treating Pleural Mesothelioma
Like most cancers, many options are available to help mesothelioma patients. Though there is no cure for the cancer, intervention can help improve a patient’s prognosis. Certain palliative techniques are often employed to help decrease symptoms as well. Treatment may involve:
- Surgery to remove mesothelioma tumors
- Radiation treatment
These options may be combined or used separately depending on factors such as the cancer’s location and stage and the patient’s health. Or, a patient may be able to enroll in a clinical study to help test potential new treatments. The process is individual to each patient.
Because mesothelioma is an exceedingly rare cancer, patients are usually encouraged to seek treatment from specialists. If you are having difficulty finding an appropriate specialist, ask our team how we may be able to help.
We Can Help You After a Pleural Mesothelioma Diagnosis
Our dedicated mesothelioma attorneys at Shrader & Associates, L.L.P. are here for you if you or a loved one has recently been diagnosed with this cancer. We’ve worked with thousands of patients across the U.S., helping them file claims and take care of other legal needs that may arise during this time.
We understand what you’re going through is difficult, and our goal is to do everything we can to take some of the stress off your shoulders. It’s important to file a claim for compensation if you are eligible, but you need a law team who will do everything they can for you so you’re free to spend time with your family and on your health. Our team is dedicated to helping mesothelioma patients find justice against careless companies that exposed them to asbestos in the past. If you are in this situation, please reach out to us. We want to know how we can help.
Our team has recovered nearly a billion for mesothelioma patients. Call us at (877) 958-7920 for a free consultation with our attorneys, from anywhere in the U.S.
Your firm has made this stressful process easy and comfortable for me.- Stephen
I couldn’t have done it without you.- Sam
The professionals at Shrader & Associates did the work, hassle free, and ensured I was able to leave a legacy for my family.- Raymond
Your team stood by me throughout the entire process.- Frank
Thanks to you, the grief of my loss would have been almost unbearable otherwise.- Brian
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To date, we’ve secured countless million-dollar results for clients located throughout the country.
Mesothelioma cases require technical knowledge and an understanding of complex laws. An attorney with experience trying these claims and substantial resources to leverage on your behalf is your best bet to having a strong case. We are nationally recognized for providing quality representation to mesothelioma patients and their families.