Malignant pleural mesothelioma is the most common form of mesothelioma, which is a cancer affecting the mesothelium. Only around 3000 total mesothelioma cases are reported a year in the United States and the pleural form accounts for three-fourths of it. It affects the pleura, which is the lining that protects the lungs. The pleura is constructed with two membranous layers to shores up the lungs and shields the lung cavity. While the outer layer guards the chest cavity and diaphragm, the inner one called the visceral layer encompasses the lungs. Pleural mesothelioma usually attacks one of these layers initially but may spread to the other layer too. The cancer is invariably caused by the asbestos particles trapped in the spaces available between mesothelium cells after being inhaled.

After settling down in convenient places, the particles trigger chemical reactions causing the cells to divide in a lawless manner. The activity thickens the pleural layers and mesothelical cells and a fluid build-up called pleural effusion occurs. The extra fluid presses the lungs thereby preventing easy breathing. The cancer is heralded by persistent dry cough, emission of blood through coughing, problems with swallowing, shortness of breath, weight loss of inexplicable nature, fatigue, lump formation around the chest etc.

The diagnosis of mesothelioma cancer is also very tricky because the very same symptoms herald the arrival of other illnesses like influenza and pneumonia too. Doctors examine the health history of the patient and put him through imaging tests like x-rays, MRI, CT scan and biopsy to determine the type of mesothelioma and its extent of infection.

Traditional treatments like surgery, medicated treatments like chemotherapy and radiation therapy are the most common cure employed against malignant pleural mesothelioma. If the situation is acute, two or all three so these are simultaneously to increase survival prospects. Even with all the aggressive treatments available, mesothelioma prognosis is not at the desired levels so far. The most important reason for this is that the cancer is mostly detected only in the last stages, but if detected early, there are bright chances of successful recovery.

As the cancer is caused by asbestos exposure, those suffering from malignant pleural mesothelioma are entitled to legal support and can claim compensation from those directly responsible for causing the infection. The amount, which may run to millions in some cases, can act as a financial cushion for medical expenses arising from the disease.

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