Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that develops in the mesothelial layer of body. Most often than not, it originates from pleura, i.e. lung membrane. Such cases are known as malignant pleural mesothelioma, and usually emerge secondary to exposure to asbestos. Unfortunately, this disease is more common among the population living in adobe brick houses in central and east Anatolia, as the soil contains asbestos-like erionite in those regions and exposure is normally far higher. Asbestos exposure may be experienced during commercial activities as well. In that regard, European Union harmonization directives prohibit products with asbestos content. Such exposure cases still occurred prior to adoption of the aforementioned directives though.
Dyspnea, coughing, chest pain, malaise and hemoptysis may be observed in cases of pleural mesothelioma. A final diagnosis can be reached on the basis of findings to be obtained from computerized tomography examination and biopsy of suspicious tissues. When the usual biopsy procedure fails to provide definitive information, thoracoscopic biopsy is carried out for the purpose of harvesting adequate specimens from within the thorax. Tomography is occasionally enough for staging purposes. Otherwise, a PET scan will be helpful to draft a treatment plan.
Due to the fact that malignant pleural mesothelioma is a disease that may potentially follow an aggressive course of progress, it may sometimes be necessary to initiate chemotherapy right away and ensure control with surgical intervention. It may also be more fitting to reverse the order and follow surgery with chemotherapy and even radiotherapy, if deemed necessary, in other cases. On the other hand, obtaining better outcomes is possible in specific cases, if warm chemotherapy is applied in the pleura during an operation under general anesthesia. Depending on type and stage of disease as well as on the patient’s specific condition, a custom treatment program is drafted. It should be noted that malignant pleural mesothelioma is a rare disease. Considering potential difficulties regarding diagnosis and treatment, these cases should be followed at well-equipped and experienced medical institutions.