Navigate Up

Full Library - A-Z Index


Print This Page

Metastatic pleural tumor

Metastatic pleural tumor is a type of cancer that has spread from another organ to the thin membrane (pleura) surrounding the lungs.

Alternative Names

Tumor - metastatic pleural

Causes

The blood and lymph systems can carry cancer cells to other organs in the body, where they can produce new growths or tumors. The spread of cancer cells to other parts of the body often occurs in patients who are dying of cancer.

Almost any type of cancer can spread to the lungs and involve the pleura.

Symptoms

Symptoms may include any of the following:

Exams and Tests

The doctor or nurse will examine you and ask about your medical history and symptoms. Tests that may be done include:

Treatment

Pleural tumors usually cannot be removed with surgery. The original (primary) cancer should be treated. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy may be appropriate, depending on the type of primary cancer.

Your health care provider may recommend thoracentesis if you have a lot of fluid collecting around your lungs and you have shortness of breath or low blood oxygen levels. This procedure removes the fluid and allows the lung to expand more, making it easier to breathe.

To prevent the fluid from collecting again, medication may be placed directly into your chest space through a tube, called a catheter. Or, your surgeon may spray a medication or talc on the lung surface during the procedure. This helps seal the space around your lungs to prevent the fluid from returning.

Support Groups

You can ease the stress of illness by joining a support group where members share common experiences and problems.

Outlook (Prognosis)

The 5-year survival rate (number of people who live for more than 5 years after diagnosis) is less than 25% for people with pleural tumors that have spread from other parts of the body.

Possible Complications


  • Side effects of chemotherapy or radiation therapy
  • Continued spread of the cancer

Prevention

Early detection and treatment of primary cancers may prevent metastatic pleural tumors in some persons.

References

Arenberg D, Pickens A. Metastatic malignant tumors. In: Mason RJ, Murray JF, Broaddus VC, et al., eds. Murray and Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2010:chap 49.

Updated: 5/29/2014

Yi-Bin Chen, MD, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.


©  UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Supplemental content provided by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions. All rights reserved.

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on UPMC.com is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, UPMC.com is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As such, UPMC Mercy neither endorses nor provides medical practices and/or procedures that contradict the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

© UPMC
Pittsburgh, PA, USA UPMC.com