Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma (MPM)
What is malignant pleural mesothelioma?
Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is the most common form of mesothelioma, forming in the pleura in the lungs. It accounts for about 75% of all cases.
What are the symptoms of malignant pleural mesothelioma?
Many people do not notice any symptoms until later in disease development. When they do appear they include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Painful breathing
- Difficulty swallowing
- Coughing up blood
- Night sweats
- Pain in the lower back and/or ribs
- Lumps under the skin on the chest
- Weight loss
- Swelling in the arms and/or face
What causes malignant pleural mesothelioma?
Exposure to asbestos results in MPM. The fibers lodge in the soft tissue of the lungs before moving to the pleura. The inflammation and irritation caused by these fibers eventually leads to genetic changes that cause the cancer.
How is malignant pleural mesothelioma diagnosed?
Doctors will perform a physical examination and look for the characteristic symptoms of the cancer. Tests to confirm a diagnosis include lung biopsies and imaging tests, such as MRIs.
What are the treatments for malignant pleural mesothelioma?
The most common MPM treatment is chemotherapy; however, if doctors catch the cancer early then surgery to remove the tumor becomes an option. Other treatments include radiation therapy and clinical trials. There are currently many therapies in the trial phases, such as immunotherapy, photodynamic therapy, and gene therapy.