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Mesothelioma Dictionary

Mesothelioma Dictionary of Legal & Medical Terms
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P

P-30 Protein
Antineoplastic agent that may inhibit cancer cell growth.
Packed Red Blood Cells
Red blood cells collected from one individual that are packed into a small volume for transfusion into a patient.
Paclitaxel
Taxane antineoplastic agent that exerts its effects on microtubules.
Pain
An unpleasant sensation that can range from mild, localized discomfort to agony. Pain has both physical and emotional components. The physical part of pain results from nerve stimulation. Pain may be contained to a discrete area, as in an injury, or it can be more diffuse, as in disorders like fibromyalgia . Pain is mediated by specific nerve fibers that carry the pain impulses to the brain where their conscious appreciation may be modified by many factors.
Palliative Care (pal-e-uh-tive care)
Treatment that relieves symptoms, such as pain, but is not expected to cure the disease. The main purpose is to improve the patient's quality of life.
Palliative Radiation
Radiation treatment aimed at relieving pain and symptoms of disease but not intended to cure the disease.
Palliative Treatment
Therapy that relieves symptoms, such as pain or blockage, but is not expected to cure the cancer. Its main purpose is to improve the patient's quality of life.
Palliative
Treatment that is not expected to cure, but rather to slow down the progress of a disease and make the person comfortable and as happy as possible throughout the process.
Palpable
Perceptible to touch.
Palpation (pal-pay-shun)
Using the hands to examine. A palpable mass is one that can be felt.
Pancreatitis
Inflammation of the pancreas. Of the many diverse causes of pancreatitis , the most common are alcohol and gallstones.
Pancytopenia
A deficiency of all types of blood cells.
PAP (Papanicolaou) Smear
A test to detect cancer of the cervix.
Para Occupational Exposure
Exposure to asbestos through the fibers that cling to worker's clothing, shoes, skin and hair.
Paracentesis
Insertion of a thin needle or tube into the abdomen to remove fluid from the peritoneal cavity. Commonly used to make the diagnosis of peritoneal mesothelioma in patients with ascites or to diagnose recurrence of the disease in the belly.
Paralegal
A lawyer's assistant, also referred to as a Legal Assistant. A person who often has legal skills but who is not a licensed attorney and who works under the supervision of a lawyer.
Parenchyma
The essential parts of an organ that are concerned with its function as opposed to its framework.
Parenchymal Asbestosis
Also known as diffuse interstitial pulmonary asbestosis.
Paresthesia
Abnormal physical sensations such as numbness, prickling or tingling.
Parietal Pleura
The lining on the inside of the chest wall that is composed of mesothelial cells and is the target organ for asbestos induced mesothelioma.
Parietal pleura
the lining on the inside of the chest wall which is composed of mesothelial cells and is the target organ for asbestos induced mesothelioma.
Party
A person or company that is participating in a lawsuit either as a Plaintiff or a Defendant.
Pathogen
Any disease-causing agent, especially a microorganism.
Pathogenicity
Pertaining to the ability to cause disease.
Pathological Fracture
A break in a bone usually caused by cancer or some disease condition.
Pathological Staging
Refers to staging done at surgery.
Pathologist
A specialist physician expert in the origin and development of disease and the microscopic analysis of body tissues.
Pathology
The study of the essential nature of diseases and especially of the structural and functional changes produced by them. To diagnose a particular form of cancer, a pathologist examines a piece of the cancerous tissue under a microscope to determine the size and type of cancer cell.
Pathy
Disease.
PCR
A highly sensitive test that uses an amplification technique to detect small amounts of DNA or RNA in blood or tissue samples. (see Polymerase Chain Reaction)
Pemetrexed (brand name Alimta®)
A chemotherapy drug manufactured and marketed by Eli Lilly and Company. Its indications are the treatment of pleural mesothelioma as well as non-small cell lung cancer.
Penia
Deficiency, e.g., neutropenia means a deficiency of a type of white blood cell called a neutrophil.
Peptide
Any compound consisting of two or more amino acids, the building blocks of proteins.
Performance Status
A measure of how well a patient is able to perform ordinary tasks and carry out daily activities.
Peribronchial
Situated around a bronchus.
Peribronchitis
A form of bronchitis consisting of inflammation and thickening of the peribronchial tissue.
Pericardial Mesothelioma
Rare form of cancer of the mesothelial membrane covering the heart.
Pericardiocentesis
The process of removing fluid from the sac around the heart.
Pericardium
The conical sac of fibrous tissue that surrounds the heart and the roots of the great blood vessels. The pericardium's outer coat (the parietal pericardium ) is tough and thickened, loosely cloaks the heart, and is attached to the central part of the diaphragm and the back of the breastbone. Its inner coat (the visceral pericardium or epicardium ) is double, with one layer closely adherent to the heart and the other lining the inner surface of the outer coat. The intervening space between these layers is filled with pericardial fluid. This small amount of fluid acts as a lubricant to allow normal heart movement within the chest.
Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cell (PBMC)
A single-nucleus white blood cell (e.g., monocyte) that circulates in the blood.
Peripheral Neuropathy
a disorder of the peripheral nerves, usually involving the feet, hands and sometimes the legs, arms and face. Symptoms may include numbness, tingling or burning sensations, pain, abnormal reflexes, weakness and partial paralysis.
Peritoneal Cavity
Part of body containing all the abdominal organs exclusive of the kidneys.
Peritoneal Mesothelioma
Cancer of the lining that surrounds the abdominal cavity.
Peritoneoscope
A peritoneoscope is a lighted tube that is inserted into the abdomen to examine the abdominal wall. The procedure is called a peritoneoscopy. (See also laparoscope/laparoscopy).
Peritoneoscopy
Procedure to examine and treat abdominal and pelvic organs, using a small surgical viewing instrument (laparoscope) inserted into the abdomen.
Peritoneum- a membrane that surrounds the abdominal cavity which secretes a fluid that lubricates the stomach and intestines to ensure proper cushioning and movement.
Peritoneum
The tissue that lines the abdominal wall which is composed of mesothelial cells and is the target organ for abdominal or peritoneal mesothelioma.
Permanent Section
Preparation of tissue for microscopic examination. The tissue is soaked in formaldehyde, processed in various chemicals, surrounded by a block of wax, sliced very thin, attached to a microscope slide and stained. This usually takes 1-2 days. It provides a clear view of the sample so that the presence or absence of cancer can be determined.
Personal Injury
In a narrow sense, a personal injury is a hurt or harm done to the body of a person, such as a cut or a broken limb, as distinguished from an injury to a person's property or reputation. Generally though, the term Personal Injury is used in a broader sense to describe a variety of legal actions based on Tort theories for any injury considered an invasion of a personal right, whether it is to one's physical body, psychological state, or reputation and the like.
Personal Representative
The person who by law has the right to bring a lawsuit on behalf of the estate of someone who is deceased. A personal representative may include, depending on the law of the state, executors, administrators, heirs, or next of kin.
PET (Positonic Emission Topography)
A procedure in which a small amount of radioactive glucose (sugar) is injected into a vein, and a scanner is used to make detailed, computerized pictures of areas inside the body where the glucose is used. Because cancer cells often use more glucose than normal cells, the pictures can be used to find cancer cells in the body.
PET Scan (Positron Emission Tomography Scan)
A procedure in which a small amount of radioactive glucose (sugar) is injected into a vein, and a scanner is used to make detailed, computerized pictures of areas inside the body where the glucose is used. Because cancer cells often use more glucose than normal cells, the pictures can be used to find cancer cells in the body.
Petechiae
Tiny areas of bleeding under the skin, usually caused by a low platelet count.
Petition
Formal document filed with a trial court to start a lawsuit that explains the facts of a particular case and lists the legal theories that justify an award of recovery from the defendant. (See also Complaint)
pH
A logarithmic scale used to describe the acidity or alkalinity of a solution. Water has a neutral pH of 7. A pH below 7 is acidic; a pH above 7 is alkaline (or basic).
Phagocyte
any cell that characteristically engulfs foreign matter.
Pharmacokinetics
The action of drugs in the body, including the processes of absorption, transformation, distribution to tissues, duration of action and elimination.
Phase I Trial
The first step in human testing of a new drug; these trials evaluate drug safety and toxicity at different dose levels in a small number of volunteers.
Phase II Trial
The second step in the evaluation of a new drug in humans; these trials evaluate drug effectiveness and involve more participants than Phase I studies.
Phase III Trial
The third step in human drug testing; these trials are designed to support and verify information gathered in Phase I and II trials, and involve many more volunteers (up to several thousand). Phase III trials may compare the drug being tested to other therapies or to placebo.
Phase IV Trial
Post-marketing studies done after regulatory approval has been granted and a drug has been offered for sale.
Phenotype (Adjective Phenotypic)
Visible characteristics and/or behavior that result from the interaction of an organism's genetic "blueprint" (genotype) and the environment.
Phlebitis
A painful inflammation of the veins.
Photodynamic Therapy
Systemic administration of light-sensitive molecules that concentrate in malignant cells and produce compounds toxic to the cells upon exposure to light. These drugs kill cancer cells when exposed to light.
Photosensitivity
Extreme sensitivity to the sun, leaving the patient prone to sunburns. This can be a side effect of some cancer drugs and radiation.
Photosensitizer
Compound that causes a tissue or cell to be affected by light.
Pill
In pharmacy, a medicinal substance in a small round or oval mass meant to be swallowed. Pills often contain a filler and a plastic substance such as lactose that permits the pill to be rolled by hand or machine into the desired form. The pill may then be coated with a varnishlike substance.
Pirarubicin
Anthracycline Antineoplastic Agent; also known as THF-adriamycin
Placebo (pluh-see-bow)
an inert, inactive substance that may be used in studies (clinical trials) to compare the effects of a given treatment with no treatment. In common speech, a "sugar pill."
Placebo-Controlled Trial
A trial of an experimental therapy in which an inactive substance or mock therapy (placebo) is given to one group while the treatment being tested is given to another, and the results obtained in the different groups are compared.
Placenta
The vascular organ that connects the fetus and the mother's uterus, through which metabolic exchange between the fetus and mother takes place.
Plaintiff
The party who initiates a lawsuit by filing a complaint.
Plasma
The fluid, non-cellular portion of circulating blood that carries blood cells and nutrients throughout the body.
Platelet (Plt)
Cells in the blood that are responsible for clotting.
Platelet Count
The number of platelets in a blood sample.
Platelet
a part of the blood that helps it "stick together" (clot) to promote healing after an injury. Chemotherapy can cause a drop in the platelet count--a condition called thrombocytopenia.
Pleading
Pleadings include such documents as a plaintiff's Petition (or Complaint) and a defendant's Answer, as well as all subsequently amended Petitions and Answers filed by the parties during the course of the lawsuit.
Pleura
The lining that surrounds the lungs and prevents the lungs from rubbing against the ribs.
Pleural Cavity
The space enclosed by the pleura, which is a thin layer of tissue that covers the lungs and lines the interior wall of the chest cavity.
Pleural effusion-The collection of fluid in the space between the pleura (the lining of the lungs) and the general space inside the chest, also known as the chest cavity.
Pleural fluid
Pleural Mesothelioma
Cancer of the pleura (membrane lining the lungs and chest cavity). Pleural mesothelioma is different from lung cancer. Lung cancer refers to any type of malignant tumor that originates in the lungs. Pleural mesothelioma effects the pleura. The pleura is the tissue lining that surrounds the lungs. There are two pleural membranes that protect the lungs by producing a lubricating fluid that fills the space between the pleura and the lungs.
Pleural Plaques
A patch or differentiated area on the surface of the pleura.
Pleural
Pertaining to the pleura, the thin covering that protects the lungs. The term "pleural" is pronounced like "plural" (but does not have plural meanings).
Pleurectomy (Decortation)
A surgical procedure to remove the pleura, where the cancerous mesothelioma tumor has lodged, along the inner chest wall. It is used to control effusions and ease pain.
Pleurisy
Inflammation of the pleura, the linings surrounding the lungs. There are two layers of pleura; one covering the lung and the other covering the inner wall of the chest. These two layers are lubricated by pleural fluid. Pleurisy is frequently associated with a pleural effusion (the accumulation of extra fluid in the space between the two layers of pleura). Pleurisy causes a stabbing pain in the chest aggravated by breathing, chest tenderness, cough, and shortness of breath. Pleurisy can be caused by many conditions including infections, collagen vascular diseases (such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis ), cancers (such as metastatic lung cancer or breast cancer ), tumors of the pleura, heart failure , lung embolism (blood clot in a vessel to the lungs), obstruction of lymph channels, trauma (rib fractures or injury from instruments in the chest from an operation or car accident), certain drugs (such as Hydralazine, Procan, and Dilantin), abdominal processes (such as pancreatitis , cirrhosis of the liver ) and lung infarction (lung tissue death due to lack of oxygen from poor blood supply). Also referred to as pleuritis.
Pleurodesis
A medical procedure that uses chemicals or drugs to cause inflammation and adhesion between the layers of the pleura (the tissue that covers the lungs and lines the interior wall of the chest cavity). This prevents the buildup of fluid in the pleural cavity. It is used as a treatment for severe pleural effusion. It can be performed with a variety of agents, including talc.
Pleuroscopy
Examination of the pleural space with an endoscope inserted into a small incision in the chest wall
Ploidy (ploy-dee)
A measure of the amount of DNA contained in a cell. Ploidy is a marker that helps predict how quickly a cancer is likely to spread. Cancers with the same amount of DNA as normal cells are called diploid and those with either more or less than that amount are aneuploid. About two-thirds of breast cancers are aneuploid.
Plueral Effusion
Accumulation of fluid between the lining of the lung and the chest cavity.
Pneumococcus
The organism that causes pneumonia, among other infectious diseases.
Pneumoconiosis
Fibrosis and scarring of the lungs as a result of repeated inhalation of occupationally associated dust, such as silica, asbestos, and coal dust.
Pneumocystis Carinii Pneumonia (PCP)
a life-threatening type of pneumonia caused by a protozoan. PCP is a common opportunistic infection and a leading cause of death in people with AIDS.
Pneumonectomy
An operation to remove an entire lung or part of a lung.
Pneumonia
Inflammation of one or both lungs. In bronchopneumonia, the inflammation is concentrated around the bronchi. In lobar pneumonia, it involves one or more lobes of the lung, and viral pneumonia is that caused by a virus.
Pneumonitis (noo-mon-EYE-tis)
An inflammatory infection that occurs in the lung.
PNEUMOTHORAX
air within the chest cavity.
Pnuemonectomy (new-mo-NEK-to-me)
Surgery to remove a lung.
Polycythemia
An increase in the total number of red blood cells in the bloodstream.
Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)
A highly sensitive test that uses an amplification technique to detect small amounts of DNA or RNA in blood or tissue samples.
Polyneuropathy
A type of peripheral neuropathy that involves damage to multiple nerves.
Polyp
A growth of tissue protruding into a body cavity, such as a nasal or rectal polyp. Polyps may be benign or malignant.
Polypectomy (poly-peck-tow-me)
Surgery to remove a polyp.
Polyradiculopathy
A type of peripheral neuropathy characterized by the inflammation of nerve roots.
Port (Implanted)
A catheter connected to a quarter-sized disc that is surgically placed just below the skin in the chest or abdomen. The tube is inserted into a large vein or artery directly into the bloodstream. Fluids, drugs, or blood products can be infused, and blood can be drawn through a needle that is stuck into the disc. Examples: Port-o-cath, Infusaport, Lifeport.
Positron Emission Tomography (PET)
A procedure in which a small amount of radioactive glucose (sugar) is injected into a vein, and a scanner is used to make detailed, computerized pictures of areas inside the body where the glucose is used. Because cancer cells often use more glucose than normal cells, the pictures can be used to find cancer cells in the body.
Post-Exposure Prophylaxis
Drug therapy given immediately following exposure to an infectious organism, done in an attempt to prevent the infection from gaining hold in the body.
Potentiation
The process of adding to the effect e.g . the if the effect of 2 drugs is greater than their individual effects when added together then the drugs potentiate each other.
Power of Attorney
A "Power of Attorney" is a document authorizing another to act as one's agent or attorney. A Power of Attorney is revoked as a matter of law upon the principal's death, and even upon incapacity in most instances. A Durable Power of Attorney is a document that is valid even upon the death or incapacity of the principal.
Pre-Cancerous
A disease, syndrome, or finding that, if left untreated, may lead to cancer. Examples of pre-malignant conditions include actinic keratosis, Barrett's esophagus and cervical dysplasia.
Pre-Certification
Also known as pre-admission certification, is the process of obtaining authorization from the health care plan for routine inpatient and outpatient admissions. Failure to obtain pre-certification may result in penalty to the provider or the subscriber.
Predisposition
Susceptibility to a disease that can be triggered under certain conditions. For example, some women have a family history of breast cancer and are therefore more likely (but not necessarily destined) to develop breast cancer.
pre-malignant
changes in cells that may, but do not always, become cancer. Also called precancerous.
Prevalence
A measure of the proportion of persons in the population with a certain disease at a given time.
Primary Infection
The initial introduction of an infectious organism into the body.
Primary Site
The place where cancer begins. Primary cancer is usually named after the organ in which it starts. For example, cancer that starts in the breast is always breast cancer even if it spreads (metastasizes) to other organs such as bones or lungs.
Primary tumor
A tumor that is at the original site where it first arose. For example, a primary brain tumor is one that arose in the brain as opposed to one that arose elsewhere and metastasized (spread) to the brain. The original tumor is sometimes called "the primary."
Primary
First or foremost in time or development. The primary teeth (the baby teeth) are those that come first. Primary may also refer to symptoms or a disease to which others are secondary.
Prodrug
An inactive form of a drug that exerts its effects after metabolic changes within the body convert it to a usable or active form.
Product Liability
Refers to the legal liability of manufacturers and sellers to compensate buyers, users, and bystanders for injuries suffered because of defects in goods purchased or used.
Progesterone
One of the female hormones produced by the ovaries.
Progesterone-Receptor Assay
A test that determines if breast cancer is stimulated by the hormone progesterone.
Prognosis
A doctor's opinion on the progression of a patient's condition and chances for improvement/recovery.
Progressive Disease
Cancer that is increasing in scope or severity.
Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML)
A rapidly progressing, often fatal brain disease believed to be caused by the JC papovavirus.
Progressive Multifocal Neuropathy
A type of nerve disease associated with cytomegalovirus infection.
Proinflammatory Cytokine
A chemical messenger (e.g., IL-6, tumor necrosis factor) produced by the body that promotes an inflammatory immune response.
Prophylactic
Preventive measure or medication.
Prophylaxis (Adjective Prophylactic)
Chemotherapy that helps to prevent a disease or condition before it occurs (primary prophylaxis) or recurs (secondary prophylaxis).
Prospective Study
A study that looks forward in time. Patients are selected and their progression is followed.
Prostate (pros-tate)
A gland found only in men. It is just below the bladder and in front of the rectum. The prostate makes a fluid that is part of semen. The tube that carries urine, the urethra, runs through the prostate.
Prostate Specific Antigen
Inflammation of the prostate. Prostatitis is not cancer.
prosthesis (pros-thee-sis)
an artificial form to replace a part of the body, such as a breast prosthesis.
Protease Inhibitor
A drug (e.g., saquinavir, indinavir, ritonavir, nelfinavir) that blocks the action of the protease enzyme that breaks up large proteins produced from viral RNA, thereby preventing HIV replication.
Protein (PRO-teen)
A molecule made up of amino acids that are needed for the body to function properly. Proteins are the basis of body structures such as skin and hair and of substances such as enzymes, cytokines, and antibodies.
Proto Oncogenes
Genes that code for cell growth regulation and differentiation. They can lead to malignant tumors if they are mutated or over expressed.
Protocol
An action plan for a clinical trial. The plan states what the study will do, how, and why. It explains how many people will be in it, who is eligible to participate, what study agents or other interventions they will be given, what tests they will receive and how often, and what information will be gathered.
Proton Therapy
A type of particle therapy that utilizes a beam of protons to irradiate a tumor site.
Provider
A physician, hospital, laboratory, pharmacy or other organization that provides health care, goods or services.
Provirus
A viral state in which viral DNA has been inserted into the chromosome of the host cell.
PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen)
A protein made by the prostate. Levels of PSA often go up in men with prostate cancer. The PSA test measures levels in the blood and is used to help find prostate cancer as well as to monitor the results of treatment.
Psychosis
A major mental disorder (e.g., schizophrenia, bipolar disorder) that affects the ability to function normally on a daily basis.
Psychotropic
An agent (e.g., thorazine) that affects psychic or mental functioning or behavior.
Pulmonary Embolism
Migration of a clot, usually from the legs, to the heart resulting in the blockage of arteries to the lung and resulting in acute shortness of breath. A possible cause of morbidity and morality from operations for mesothelioma.
Pulmonary Emphysema
A chronic disease of the lungs in which enough functional units (alveoli) have been destroyed by disease to prevent proper exchange of gases within the units. As a result, new air in the lung spaces cannot be efficiently utilized for oxygenation purposes.
Pulmonary Fibrosis
Interstitial disease; the presence of fibrous tissue in the lungs.
pulmonary fibrosis
loss of elasticity of a lung due to proliferation of the connective tissue in the lung.
Pulmonary Function Tests
Measure how well the lungs are working and include: Spirometry, which measures the amount of air the lungs can hold; lung volume tests to measure the amount of air remaining in the lungs after exhaling; lung diffusion tests and pulse oximetry which measure the amount of oxygen passed from the lungs to the blood.
Pulmonary
Having to do with the lungs.
Pulmonologist
A specialist physician expert in the treatment of lung disease.

Disclaimer: Mesothelioma Help Center’s Dictionary of Legal & Medical Terms is not designed to provide medical advice or professional services and is intended to be for educational use only. The information provided through Mesothelioma Help Center is not a substitute for professional care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or a disease. If you have, or suspect you may have, a health problem you should consult your doctor. If you need legal help you should consult an experienced mesothelioma lawyer.

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Mesothelioma Symptoms

The most common Mesothelioma symptoms are the following:

Recent onset of shortness of breath (31%)
Recent increase in shortness of breath (30%)
Chest pain (43%)
 
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