Pleural plaques

Find out what pleural plaques, what the symptoms are, and how they are diagnosed and treated.  

What are pleural plaques? 

Pleural plaques are areas of tissue that become thickened in the lining of the lungs. They happen 20-30 years after breathing in asbestos fibres.

Pleural plaques are not the same as asbestosis and are not a form of cancer. Pleural plaques do not develop into more serious conditions. However, asbestos exposure may mean you’re at risk of getting mesothelioma, lung cancer, or asbestosis.

Symptoms of pleural plaques

In most cases, people don’t have symptoms with pleural plaques. You can live with them without knowing that you have them.

Very rarely, people might have:

  • chest pain
  • a cough  
  • breathlessness. 

Diagnosing pleural plaques

Pleural plaques can be diagnosed with a chest X-ray or CT scan. If you don’t have symptoms, you may be diagnosed if you’re having one of these tests for something else.

Treating plural plaques  

Plural plaques do not need treating. They can’t be removed either.

If you smoke and have breathed in asbestos fibres, the best thing you can do to reduce your risk of asbestos-related conditions is to quit smoking. Find out more about how you can quit

Get support

Call or WhatsApp our Helpline for support with your condition. Get advice on your medicines, symptoms or travelling with a lung condition, or just call us to say hello.

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