By medical standards, yes, pleural mesothelioma is rare. A common statistic of this cancer is that approximately 3,000 Americans are diagnosed with mesothelioma every year. However, this does not really tell us the whole story as there are different kinds of mesothelioma.
Yes, Pleural Mesothelioma is Rare
The NIH reports that between 2003 and 2008, 19,011 mesothelioma cases were diagnosed in the United States, bringing the annual average to 3,200 new diagnoses. Of those, approximately 3 out of every 4 diagnoses were pleural mesothelioma.
A disease is defined as rare in the medical books when the incidence rate is 1 diagnosis per 100,000. Pleural mesothelioma fits this definition.
The Cause of Pleural Mesothelioma is Rare
This kind of mesothelioma is usually caused by asbestos, but asbestos isn’t the only culprit. It is just the most common culprit. Approximately 8 in 10 cases of mesothelioma are caused by asbestos exposure. That does not mean that everybody that is exposed to this will get it.
Materials or substances that simply contain asbestos are not harmful. It is when this substance is manipulated or damaged to expose the asbestos that the risk of disease increases. When asbestos is released into the air, the particles settle into the lungs and cause scarring. This will lead to changes in the tissue that cause cancer, and it can take from 20 to 50 years for this cancer to develop into a deadly problem.
The Symptoms of Pleural Mesothelioma
The signs of this disease mimic a lot of other lung problems, which is why you need to get them checked out as early as you can. If you know you’ve been exposed to asbestos in your lifetime, tell your doctor.
The first things you will notice are shortness of breath and chest pain. You may also have some weight loss, a cough, problems swallowing, pain in your lower back, and swelling in the arms and face.
Improving Your Prognosis
Although this kind of mesothelioma is considered rare, it isn’t rare in the mesothelioma family. Doctors have seen more of this kind of mesothelioma than any other, and so there may be more treatment options available to you. Your prognosis depends on a few factors:
- The stage of your disease
- The kind of cell type indicating in your test results
- Your overall health
Even so, this disease can be deadly, and you want to leave your treatment plan in the hands of the best experts available to you. Whether you are dealing with financial issues, legal claims, medical treatment, or social supports, turn to experts when you are dealing with this rare diagnosis.