What is malignant pleural effusion?
A malignant pleural effusion (MPE) is the build-up of fluid and cancer cells that collects between the chest wall and the lung.
Pleura is a thin layer of tissue that surrounds your lungs and lines the inside of your chest cavity. A small amount of fluid in this area is normal. It helps the lungs move in your chest as you breathe. Cancer and other conditions can cause fluid to build up. A pleural effusion can be serious and life-threatening, if left untreated.
How bad is my malignant pleural effusion?
Mild: You might not have any symptoms but most of the people experience dry cough.
Moderate: The symptoms are fever, cough, inflammation and hiccups. Your doctor may suggest some dietary changes (fat-restricted diet).
Severe: See your doctor immediately if you have chest pain, difficulty in breathing when lying down and pain in your chest, which may get worse when taking a deep breath.
How to manage mild symptoms?
Treatment for a pleural effusion can be given in a hospital or an outpatient setting. There are several methods (thoracentesis, tube thoracostomy, Catheter, shunt, surgery) available to remove the fluid.
How to manage severe malignant pleural effusion? ?
It can cause uncomfortable side effects. Seek medical help if you experience
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling of chest heaviness or tightness
- Inability to lie flat
- Inability to exercise
What are the causes?
- Certain types of cancer:
2. Cancer treatments: Radiation therapy, chemotherapy, abdominal surgery, and certain medications can cause pleural effusion.
3. Other health conditions:
- Blood clot in the lungs (pulmonary embolism)
- Heart disease or heart failure
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Airway obstruction or lung collapse
- Poor nutrition, causing low protein levels
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