Pleural Disease

What is Pleural Disease?

The pleura is a set of thin membranes covering the lungs and lining the chest cavity. It protects and cushions the lungs. Types of pleural disease include pneumothorax (a collection of air or gas in the space surrounding the lungs), pleural effusion and pleurisy to the more serious malignant mesothelioma.

What is Pleurisy?

Onset of true pleurisy almost always warrants medical evaluation to establish the cause so that appropriate treatment may be started. .

Pleurisy results from inflammation of the pleura. It typically causes sharp pain in the affected side of the chest. Pleurisy is aggravated by breathing or coughing. At times, pleurisy is associated with fluid in the chest cavity.

Pleurisy may result from a wide variety of conditions, including:

  • Acute viral infection (epidemic pleurodynia or "devil's grip")
  • Bacterial infection of the lung (pneumonia)
  • Lung damage from blood clots (pulmonary embolism and infarction)
  • Tumors that involve the surface of the lung and even rib fractures that lead to lung damage

Pleural Effusion

A pleural effusion is an abnormal collection of fluid in the pleura. Several types of pleural effusions can develop, including:

  • Transudative pleural effusions: usually caused by a disorder in the normal pressure in the lung. Congestive heart failure is the most common type of transudative effusion.
  • Exudative effusions: form as a result of a disease process in the lung. Cancer, tuberculosis, drug reactions, lung infections, asbestosis and sarcoidosis are some of the diseases that can cause exudative pleural effusions. These sorts of effusions are heavily concentrated proteins.

Advanced Treatment for Pleural Disease

Fox Chase Cancer Center physicians use the most sophisticated treatment technology, including LIFE and Photodynamic Therapy (PDT), for patients with cancerous pleural effusions caused by breast cancer, lymphoma and lung cancer. As a National Cancer Institute center for care and research, Fox Chase helps develop the standards used by other hospitals for treatment.

Providing Comfort

Fox Chase palliative care specialists provide a variety of pain management tools for patients with lung cancer.

For more information about lung cancer treatment and prevention at Fox Chase Cancer Center or to make an appointment, call 1-888-FOX CHASE (1-888-369-2427).


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