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Mesothelioma and Pleural Effusion

Mesothelioma is a devastating cancer that attacks the tissue that lines the various areas of your body, such as abdominal cavity and heart. When mesothelioma occurs in the lining of the lungs, it is called pleural mesothelioma. Although pleural mesothelioma can cause you to experience a wide variety of painful, uncomfortable symptoms, one particularly prevalent sign of the disease is pleural effusion.

The lining of the lungs is responsible for producing a lubricating fluid that keeps the lungs from painfully rubbing against the walls of the thoracic, or chest, cavity. When your body produces an excess amount of fluid, the lymph system and blood vessels absorb it so that it does not fill up the space in your thoracic cavity. However, mesothelioma can cause these special lubricating cells, called mesothelial cells, to produce more fluid than your body is able to use and absorb, which is called pleural effusion.

Symptoms of Pleural Effusion

The fluid produced by cancerous mesothelial cells is called exudate. This fluid contains many cells and proteins, making it appear cloudy. The cancer will irritate the mesothelial cells, inflaming them and causing the nearby blood vessels to leak this exudate fluid. As the volume of the fluid increases, you may notice symptoms such as:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Dry cough

With pleural effusion caused by mesothelioma, it is important to drain this fluid so that you do not lose your ability to breathe. However, it may continue to build up until the cancer itself is addressed. Sometimes, if the cancer cannot be healed, you may have to have a permanent drainage device or special medication installed inside of your chest cavity.

Contact Us

If you have mesothelioma, you deserve as much information as possible to help you fight your cancer and determine the next steps for you to take. For more information regarding mesothelioma, please fill out the contact form located at the top of this page.

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