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Anyone know difference between Mesothelioma and Malignant Pleural Effusion

scungileen
Posts: 22
Joined: Feb 2006

My dad has a plueral effusion and they suspect it is malignant. In doing some web searching on the subject I came up with mesothelioma and was wondering if this is the same thing. Anyone out there know the answer.

reinstones1's picture
reinstones1
Posts: 92
Joined: Feb 2006

Hi-- mesothelioma is a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, so no, it's not the same thing as malignant pleural effusion. I just answered your 2/28 email, by the way. ;-)

rpatt
Posts: 23
Joined: Apr 2005

I'm not a medical professional, so take everything I say with a grain of salt, but I have done a lot of research on lung cancer and pleural effusion. My understanding is this,
any cancer that has spread to the pleura (outer lining of the lungs) can cause an effusion. It is also common in breast cancer. Mesothelioma is a type of non-small cell lung cancer, although caused by exposure to asbestos as reinstones1 stated. It is similar to the type of non-small cell lung cancer called adenocarcinoma, which starts in the mucous linings of the lung (outer layers) so malignant effusions in the lung and heart are common in the later stages. Basically, malignant effusion is considered a metastasized cancer, thus people with this condition are considered either stage 3b or stage 4 even if there are no identifiable tumors.
Non-malignant effusions can occur too and are sometimes caused by radiation treatment or some other diseases. The cells have to be tested to determine if they are malignant, and if so, what type of cancer has caused it.

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