What are the Symptoms of Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is such a dangerous and deadly form of cancer because it usually isn’t diagnosed until the later stages. At that point, any treatment can really on prolong life and improve the patient’s remaining months or years, not effectively treat it. That is why it is important to know the symptoms of mesothelioma. By knowing the signs of mesothelioma, you may be able to seek medical attention and catch the disease early on.

PleuraMesothelioma is primarily caused by exposure to asbestos fibers in the air. When someone breaths in these fibers, they get trapped in the lining of the lungs, stomach, or heart forming scar tissue and eventually tumors. Unlike other forms of cancer, a patient with mesothelioma usually doesn’t start showing symptoms of mesothelioma until 20 to 50 years after he or she was exposed to asbestos.

Statistics report that the median latency period is 30 to 45 years with the shortest possible period of 10 to 15 years. Early symptoms of mesothelioma do not arise until after the cancer has formed but usually include coughing, fatigue, shortness of breath, and trouble breathing. These symptoms can be deceiving because they resemble symptoms of less serious illnesses, and by the time you seek treatment, it is too late.

That is why it is so important to be aware of your health, especially important if you have history of asbestos exposure. That way you can inform your doctor to the possibility of an asbestos-related disease like lung cancer, asbestosis, and mesothelioma.

Pleural Mesothelioma Symptoms

Pleural mesothelioma affects the pleura, or the protective lining surrounding the lungs. This is the most common type of mesothelioma and is the diagnosis in 75 percent of all mesothelioma cases. Symptoms of pleural mesothelioma include the following:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pains
  • Harsh breathing sounds
  • Sever cough
  • Wheezing
  • Reduced expansion of the chest

Symptoms of Other Types of Mesothelioma

Two other types of mesothelioma are peritoneal and pericardial mesothelioma. Peritoneal mesothelioma is present in 10 to 20 percent of all cases and attacks the abdomen area. Some of the most common symptoms of this kind of mesothelioma are:

  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Enlargement of the abdomen or a “distended” stomach
  • Tender stomach
  • Fluid buildup between the peritoneum and the organs in the abdomen. This is known as ascites.
  • Loss of appetite and sudden weight loss. Studies suggest that 69 percent of patient lost weight.
  • Bowel obstruction
  • In rare cases, seizures

Other Types of Mesothelioma

Pericardial mesothelioma is a very rare form of mesothelioma and affects the lining of the heart. These patients may experience chest pains and difficulty breathing. In extremely rare cases, mesothelioma can form in the testicles. The only symptom of this is a lump in the testes.

If you experience any of the above symptoms of mesothelioma and know you have been exposed to asbestos in the past, you may be suffering from mesothelioma. Make sure you mention this to your medical professional so he or she can test for mesothelioma.

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