How Does Mesothelioma Affect the Lungs?

August 1, 2017  |  Mesothelioma
How Mesothelioma Affects the Lungs

You may know that mesothelioma is a cancer that can develop after contact with asbestos. If a person breathes in asbestos fibers, they can get into the lungs — and then into the lining of certain organs within the body. It’s inside the lining where these fibers damage the cells and cause irritation that leads to mesothelioma. But how does mesothelioma affect the lungs both in the short-term and the long-term?

One diagnosis, many possible symptoms

The most common type of these cancers is pleural mesothelioma, which affects the tissue surrounding the lungs. Symptoms can include chest pains (under the rib cage), painful coughing, shortness of breath, unexplained weight loss and more.

Pleural mesothelioma can spread in the chest and put pressure on the area’s structures — leading to difficulty breathing, chest pains, difficulty swallowing, painful pressure on the nerves and spinal cord, and even accumulation of fluid in the chest (known as pleural effusion), which can compress the nearby lung and make it harder to breathe.

Mesothelioma is different from lung cancer, in that lung cancers usually involve tumors or masses within the lung itself; mesothelioma affects the cells of the mesothelium — the membrane that covers and protects the body’s internal organs.

Treatment options

Another major difference between mesothelioma and lung cancer is the impact on healthy cells. With mesothelioma, it’s usually difficult to find the difference between healthy tissue and cancerous tissue — making it quite difficult to treat.

With lung cancer, chemotherapy, radiation and surgery (removal of tumors) can be highly effective because they are targeting specific, identifiable masses.

For a mesothelioma patient, treatment is usually either surgery, chemotherapy or radiation — depending on the diagnosis, stage, type of mesothelioma, and the person’s overall health.

Ask the professionals

A mesothelioma diagnosis can be scary and confusing. Whether it’s you or a loved one who received the diagnosis, please ask your doctor any questions you have. When it comes to your legal options, you can contact Baron & Budd online or call us at 855-280-7664 to speak with an expert mesothelioma lawyer. We’re here to help!

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