Not all forms of mesothelioma are dangerous. In fact, you may be facing benign mesothelioma, which presents with a non-cancerous tumor in the pleura, or lining of the lungs and chest. These masses are also known as fibrous tumors or pleural fibromas, and they do not spread. They are more commonly found in men and are rare — less than 10 percent of mesothelioma cases are benign.
Fortunately, the prognosis is very positive. In about half of all benign mesothelioma cases, patients develop no symptoms at all. However, the tumor can grow larger and cause chest pain and chronic cough. It can also put pressure on the lungs and lead to shortness of breath. Another symptom is clubbed fingers on your hand, or rounded fingernail beds. It is caused by a lack of oxygen in the bloodstream that can be a result of the interference from the tumor. However, it cannot be used alone to diagnosis mesothelioma.
Benign Mesothelioma Symptoms
While benign mesothelioma isn't cancerous, it shares similar symptoms with its malignant form. Plus, once mesothelioma is detected, determining whether the tumor is cancerous is not immediately possible. Over time, your doctor will perform several tests, such as an x-ray, a CT scan, or an MRI. Finally, an open-lung biopsy of the tumor will usually be performed. During this process, the doctor removes a small piece of the tumor to test.
Benign Mesothelioma Treatment
Once the tumor has been diagnosed as benign, treatment usually requires surgery to remove the tumor. This will relieve any discomfort and symptoms and prevent further growth. This surgery has been found to be effective in 90 percent of patients. (Complications from surgery are rare, but there is a chance fluid could escape into the lining of the lungs, called a pleural effusion.) If a benign mesothelioma tumor does recur, it can develop up to 10 years from the time of treatment. During that time, continue regular checkups with your doctor, as benign mesothelioma may signify an increased risk factor for malignant mesothelioma.
What Happens If I Have Benign Mesothelioma?
Benign mesothelioma is usually found by accident. It could be discovered during regular health exams or following a standard chest x-ray. In addition, symptoms may be easily ignored. So continue regular health screenings, especially if you have been exposed to asbestos. These checkups can be what catches mesothelioma early, leading you to receive treatment and live a healthier life. If you have been affected by mesothelioma, please get in touch with us. We'd be happy to help.