Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is a rare but aggressive cancer that develops in the lining of the lungs, known as the pleura. MPM is primarily caused by exposure to asbestos fibers, and the disease can take several decades to develop after the initial exposure. The symptoms of MPM may not appear until the cancer has reached an advanced stage, making early detection and treatment challenging. In this answer, we will discuss the symptoms of MPM in detail.
Chest pain: One of the most common symptoms of MPM is chest pain. The pain is usually located in the lower part of the chest and may worsen with deep breathing or coughing. The pain may be dull or sharp and may persist for several weeks or months.
Shortness of breath: Another common symptom of MPM is shortness of breath. Patients may experience difficulty breathing or feel like they cannot catch their breath. This symptom may worsen over time and may be accompanied by chest tightness or wheezing.
Persistent cough: A persistent cough is another symptom of MPM. The cough may be dry or productive, and may be accompanied by blood-tinged sputum. The cough may persist for several weeks or months and may worsen over time.
Fatigue: MPM can cause fatigue, which may be severe and persistent. Patients may experience a lack of energy, weakness, and difficulty completing everyday tasks.
Weight loss: MPM may cause unintentional weight loss, which may be significant. Patients may experience a loss of appetite or a decreased ability to eat due to the other symptoms of the disease.
Night sweats: Some patients with MPM may experience night sweats, which are episodes of excessive sweating at night. This symptom may be accompanied by fever or chills.
Swelling: MPM can cause swelling in the arms, chest, or abdomen. This swelling may be due to the accumulation of fluid in the pleural cavity, a condition known as pleural effusion.
Hoarseness: MPM may cause hoarseness or a change in the voice. This symptom may be due to the cancer spreading to the nerves that control the voice box.
Difficulty swallowing: MPM may cause difficulty swallowing, known as dysphagia. This symptom may be due to the cancer spreading to the esophagus, which is the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach.
Clubbing of the fingers: Clubbing of the fingers is a rare symptom of MPM. This condition is characterized by the swelling of the fingertips and the rounding of the nails. Clubbing of the fingers may be a sign of advanced disease.
It is important to note that these symptoms may be caused by other conditions, and the presence of these symptoms does not necessarily mean that a person has MPM. However, if a person experiences any of these symptoms, they should seek medical attention immediately. Early detection and treatment of MPM can improve a person’s prognosis and quality of life.Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is a rare and aggressive cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, called the pleura. As MPM progresses, it can cause a range of symptoms that can be difficult to distinguish from other respiratory conditions. In this answer, we will explore the symptoms of MPM in detail, including how they develop and progress over time.
Early symptoms of MPM
In the early stages of MPM, there may be no visible symptoms. However, as the disease progresses, the following symptoms may develop:
Shortness of breath: This is the most common symptom of MPM. It occurs when fluid builds up in the pleural space, which is the space between the lungs and the chest wall. This fluid puts pressure on the lungs, making it harder to breathe.
Chest pain: This is another common symptom of MPM. The pain may feel like a dull ache or a sharp stabbing pain. The pain may also be felt in the shoulder or upper abdomen.
Fatigue: Fatigue is a common symptom of many cancers, including MPM. It may be caused by the body’s response to the cancer or by the cancer itself.
Cough: A persistent cough is a common symptom of MPM. The cough may be dry or produce phlegm.
Weight loss: Unexplained weight loss may be a symptom of MPM. This is because cancer cells use up a lot of the body’s energy, which can lead to weight loss.
Night sweats: Night sweats can be a symptom of MPM. They occur when the body’s internal temperature rises, causing the body to sweat.
Fever: A low-grade fever may be present in some people with MPM. This is because the body is trying to fight the cancer.
Advanced symptoms of MPM
As MPM progresses, the symptoms may become more severe. These symptoms may include:
Difficulty swallowing: Difficulty swallowing, also known as dysphagia, may occur in people with MPM. This can be caused by a tumor pressing on the esophagus.
Hoarseness: Hoarseness is a symptom of MPM that occurs when a tumor presses on the larynx.
Swelling of the face and arms: Swelling of the face and arms may occur in people with MPM. This is because the cancer can block the lymphatic system, which can cause the body to retain fluid.
Blood in the sputum: Blood in the sputum, or hemoptysis, may occur in people with MPM. This is caused by the cancer invading the blood vessels in the lungs.
Clubbing of the fingers: Clubbing of the fingers occurs when the tips of the fingers become enlarged and the nails curve downwards. This can be a sign of advanced MPM.
Respiratory failure: Respiratory failure is a serious complication of MPM. It occurs when the lungs are no longer able to provide enough oxygen to the body.
Diagnosis of MPM
Diagnosing MPM can be difficult, as the symptoms are similar to those of other respiratory conditions. In addition, MPM is a rare cancer, so many doctors may not be familiar with the symptoms. If MPM is suspected, the following tests may be performed:
Chest X-ray: A chest X-ray can show if there is fluid in the pleural space.
CT scan: A CT scan can provide a more detailed image of the lungs and chest.
Biopsy: A biopsy involves taking a sample of tissue from the pleura and examining it under a microscope. This is the only way to confirm a diagnosis of MPM.
Treatment of MPM
Treatment for MPM depends on the stage of the cancer and the overall health of the patient. Treatment options may include:
Surgery: Surgery may be an option for early-stage MPM. The goal of surgery is to remove as much of the cancer as possible.
Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells. It may be used after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells.
Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. It may be used alone or in combination with other treatments.
Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy works by stimulating the body’s immune system to attack cancer cells.
Palliative care: Palliative care focuses on relieving symptoms and improving quality of life for people with advanced MPM.
Malignant pleural mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer that affects the lining of the lungs. The symptoms of MPM can be difficult to distinguish from other respiratory conditions, and may include shortness of breath, chest pain, fatigue, cough, weight loss, night sweats, and fever. As MPM progresses, the symptoms may become more severe and may include difficulty swallowing, hoarseness, swelling of the face and arms, blood in the sputum,clubbing of the fingers, and respiratory failure. Diagnosing MPM can be challenging, and a biopsy is necessary to confirm a diagnosis. Treatment options for MPM depend on the stage of the cancer and the overall health of the patient, and may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and palliative care. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of MPM, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional as soon as possible. Early detection and treatment can improve the prognosis and quality of life for people with MPM.