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Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma

Malignant pleural mesothelioma is a rare disease in which cancer cells develop in the protective sac covering the lungs. The main risk factor for this condition is exposure to asbestos. Possible signs include shortness of breath and pain under the rib cage. It can be difficult to distinguish between malignant pleural mesothelioma and lung cancer, so it may be necessary to examine the inside of the chest to confirm the diagnosis.

What Is Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous) tumor affecting the mesothelium, which is a type of protective sac that covers internal organs. Most cases begin in the pleura (lining around the lungs) or peritoneum (the lining around the abdomen).
Malignant pleural mesothelioma is a type of mesothelioma in which cancer cells begin to grow in the pleura. Most people who develop this condition have worked on jobs where they inhaled asbestos particles.

Risk Factors for the Condition

Being exposed to asbestos can affect the risk of developing malignant pleural mesothelioma. Many people with the disease have worked or lived in places where they inhaled or swallowed asbestos. After asbestos exposure, it usually takes a long time for symptoms of the condition to occur.
Other risk factors for malignant pleural mesothelioma include:
  • Living with a person who works near asbestos
  • Being exposed to a certain virus.

Symptoms of Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma

Malignant pleural mesothelioma symptoms usually result from an accumulation of fluid in the pleura. These symptoms often consist of:
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain in the chest or under the ribcage.
Keep in mind that other more common, less serious conditions can cause similar symptoms. Therefore, if you are experiencing any possible symptoms, visit your healthcare provider so that the problem can be properly diagnosed and treated.
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