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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Pleural mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer that develops in a protective covering for your lungs called the pleura. The pleura is piece of tissue with 2 layers. One layer lines your chest cavity and the other covers your lungs.
Seek care immediately if:
- You have severe pain and it is not time to take your pain medicine yet.
- You have chest pain when you take a deep breath or cough.
- You cough up blood.
- You cannot think clearly.
- Your lips or nails look blue or pale.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- You have moderate pain and it is not time to take your pain medicine yet.
- You have pain even after you take your pain medicine.
- You have a new pain or the pain seems different than before.
- You have a fever.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
You may need any of the following:
- Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not take other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to your healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your healthcare provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
- Steroids may be used to help relieve swelling and pain. They can also help reduce night sweats and increase your appetite.
- Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Manage or prevent pleural mesothelioma:
- Do not smoke. Nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes and cigars can irritate your lungs and make breathing more difficult. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help to quit. E-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco still contain nicotine. Talk to your healthcare provider before you use these products.
- Ask about vaccines you may need. Pleural mesothelioma increases your risk for pneumonia and influenza (the flu). Vaccines are available to help protect you. The flu vaccine is offered every year starting in early fall. Get the vaccine as soon as it is available. The pneumonia vaccine is usually given every 5 years. Ask your provider about any other vaccines you may need.
- Test your home for asbestos. You can decrease your exposure to asbestos by having your home tested and treated, if needed. Ask your healthcare provider how to get your home tested. If asbestos is found in your home, do not try to remove it yourself. Have a professional remove it.
- Limit your exposure to harmful chemicals in the workplace. Asbestos and other harmful chemicals can be found in mines, mills, textile plants, and shipyards. Follow procedures and policies to protect yourself at work. Use protective equipment such as masks to decrease your risk of inhaling harmful chemicals.
Manage your symptoms:
- Sit near a running fan when you have shortness of breath. This can help relieve the feeling that you are not getting enough air.
- Keep your head elevated. You may be able to breathe better if you lie down with the head of your bed up.
- Use exercises to clear your airway clearance as directed. The exercises help remove mucus so you can breathe more easily. Your healthcare provider will show you how to do the exercises.
- Drink liquids as directed. Ask how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you. Liquids help thin your mucus, which may make it easier for you to cough it up.
- Use a cool mist humidifier. A humidifier will help increase air moisture in your home. This may make it easier for you to breathe and help decrease your cough.
- Ask about ways to help relieve pain. Your provider may recommend medicines to prevent or relieve pain. He or she may also recommend ways to control pain without medicine. Examples include a heat or ice pack, or listening to music. Ask for more information on ways to control your pain.
Follow up with your doctor as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.