Mesothelioma is a type of aggressive cancer, which affects the membrane that covers our organs. It can occur in any location. However, pleural membrane and peritoneal membrane are the commonest occurrences of Mesothelioma. Mesotheliomas are diagnosed at a later stage and therefore, the prognosis is very unfavorable. However, the modern medicine helps to provide some period of prolongation of life with modern medicines and with surgeries.
Signs & Symptoms of Pleural Mesothelioma
From the moment of occurrence of the tumor, before the onset of clinical symptoms, there are several months to 4-5 years. Most of the patients at the time of admission to the Department of Pulmonology impose non-specific complaints of fatigue, low-grade fever, sweating, and weight loss. Diffuse form is pleural mesothelioma sometimes manifests with high fever and severe intoxication.
A cough is usually dry, hoarse, but can observe bloody sputum. The other symptoms are hypertrophic osteoarthropathy: disfiguration of fingers, joint pain, and swelling of joints.
The progress of the tumor results in shortness of breath, pain in the corresponding half of the chest. Pain can be quite severe and painful; possible irradiation of pain in the shoulder blade, neck, and abdomen. During the advanced stage, the following symptoms occur as a result invasion and compression of adjacent structures. The symptoms are dysphonia, dysphagia, tachycardia and superior vena cava syndrome.
Diagnosing Pleural Mesothelioma
- Chest X-ray: It can only roughly indicate pleural mesothelioma signs such as the presence of a massive hydrothorax, thickening of the parietal pleura, reducing the volume of the chest cavity, mediastinal shift.
- Ultrasound: The US of a pleural cavity to determine the amount of fluid in the pleural cavity, and after evacuation to assess the condition of the serous membrane lung.
- CT or MRI: Final confirmation of the diagnosis and staging of pleural mesothelioma becomes possible after a CT scan or MRI of the lung.
- Biopsy and histopathological examination: All cases of pleural mesothelioma, identified by x-ray and other diagnostic methods must be verified morphologically. The most affordable method of getting content for pleural cytology is thoracentesis.
Treating Pleural Mesothelioma
At the local form of pleural mesothelioma may use surgical tactics. The most radical are the removal of pleural membrane, which is often supplemented by removal of the lymph nodes of lung and mediastinum, pericardium and diaphragm resection followed by their plasticity. Mortality after such major surgery is high – up to 25-30%. Palliative surgical treatment methods in malignant pleural lesions are pleurectomy and pleuro-peritoneal shunt. Typically, these methods are used in thoracic surgery along with refractory to therapy as a preparation for further treatment.