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Mesothelioma: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment

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Mesothelioma shows a wide spectrum of symptoms. The first symptoms of this illness are generally non-specific. This behavior often lead to a delay in diagnosis of mesothelioma. From time to time symtoms like resembling viral pneumonia or also pleural mesothelioma patients may show additional with chest pain. One symptom can be shortness of breath and or not ending persistent cough of patients. Not fiew of the patients show in the beginning no illness symptoms at all. Often it is useful for possible mesothelioma patients to have a chest x-ray. The x-ray of the chest may result in the picture of a build-up of fluid or pleural effusion (please see below). One lung is affected about 60% of the time. The involvement of patients of both lungs can be seen in around 5% of the patients when the diagnosis occurs. Much more less common symptoms of the type pleural mesothelioma show as effects night sweats, often fever and a weight loss can be seen. The symptoms of the type peritoneal mesothelioma possibly sometimes show pain or swelling in the abdomen of the body caused by a build-up of fluid, nausea, anemia or swelling of legs and / or feet, show a weight loss and also bowel obstruction. You must keep in mind that these symptoms of the illness can be caused by mesothelioma and it occurs also by other less serious illness. The diagnosis and a good medical is important.

The symptom pleural effusion

Pleural effusion of patients is one of the most common symptoms of mesothelioma. Another often seen symptom is an accumulation of fluid around the parietal pleura (that is the pleura covering diaphragm and wall of the chest) and the patients visceral pleura. All these membranes of the body are covered inside with mesothelial cells, which result in some amounts of fluids that act as a lubricant between the wall of the chest and the lung. This is seen under normal conditions. Any excess fluid in the body will be absorbed by blood and lymph vessels of the patient. This process gets a balance. We will see as a result an effusion when too much fluid exist.

Types of pleural effusion

Pleural effusion can be divided in two categories: Transudates pleural effusion and exudates pleural effusion. A transudate effusion is normally colorless clear fluid that do not form because the pleural surfaces of the cells are diseased. It occurs because it exist a imbalance between the normal fluid production and normal fluid removal. The background of transudative fluid symptoms is normally a congestive heart failure at the patient. There is found often an cloudy exudate. This exudate contains many proteins and cells and is caused by the patients disease of the pleura itself. This picture is common to mesothelioma patients. If it should be determined whether it is a exudate fluid or  a transudate fluid, a diagnostic thoracentesis, in which a catheter or needle catheter can be taken to obtain a small fluid sample. When the amount of the fluid enhances more and more, it follows a shortness of breath, named as "dyspnea", and sometimes possibly occur pain, ranging from mild to stabbing. Some of the patients possibly have a dry cough. If the medical listens to the chest of the patient, then normal breath sounds a bit muted, and the breath when tapping on the chest will be heard more dull than hollow.

The diagnosis of pleural effusion

X-ray of the chest of the patient is the normal method for a diagnosis of the pleural effusion. But other methods are also possible: CT scans is a method for diagnosis, also possible is ultrasound in some case. Better is to use more than one method for a final diagnosis. There exist a special x-ray diagnosis technique which is named a lateral decubitus film. This decubitus film technique method can used to detect for example smaller effusions in the body of the patient.  The decubitus film technique enable the physician to estimate the amount of fluids which are recently present. If method should be used if the underlying cause of the pleural effusion is apparent. The same argumentation can be done in the case of severe congestive heart failure. However pleural effusion can be the symptom of a number of different diseases. One of the illness where it is possible is malignant to the begin. Then a fluid sample is normally taken. Cells are in the most cases are extracted from the pleural cavity (when the diagnostic is thoracentesis) and for the case that the possibility of mesothelioma illness exists. The result will be in 85% of the examined cases that the fluid tests give negative or inconclusive results even though the cancer is present in the body of the client. The mesothelioma diagnosis can be confirmed ultimately by a biopsy of the pleura of the patient with a needle (lining of the lung) or also with an open surgical biopsy. 

Two reasons for pleural effusion are heart failure of the patient or also an infection. However, when testing methods have shown no true diagnosis, and the fluid still is build up or recur, medicals may use the chemical pleurodesis method and chest tube drainage is also a method which can be chosen. Another technique to help the patients is chemical pleurodesis of the body.  It is a sclerosing agent and can be taken to reduce the pleural surfaces producing adhesion, which occurs between parietal and the visceral pleurae. This method can reduce or even prevent further effusion in the body by eliminating the pleural space where it occurs. The most effective agent to help the patients which have got pleurodesis appears to be talc. Talc has used with pleurodesis a success rate of about up to  95%. It has been shown that talc is highly effective for pleurodesis patients when used by either slurry or in the form of pouder. Powder for pleurodesis patients is the most often used drug of instilling talc into the body´s pleural space room. Before the doctor is spraying of the talc, the medical team removes all the existing fluid in the pleural and should completely collapse the lung of the patient. Only then that the talc can be administered successfully. After that the medical team should inspect the cavity of the pleural to be completely sure that the talc is evenly distributed all over the surface of the pleural. Some of the medicals normally use saline solution combined with talc. This mixture forms a wet slurry and also has positive effects.

13.08.2012



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Information: More information about symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of mesothelioma. Save money and time by being informed. 

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